Motion Speeches

環境局常任秘書長及環保署署長的職責 Duties of Permanent Secretary for Environment and Director of Environmental Protection

以下為四月二十日在立法會會議上盧偉國議員的提問和環境局局長黃錦星的書面答覆:

問題:

  環境局常任秘書長負責擬訂環保政策,而環境保護署(環保署)署長(署長)則負責執行該等政策(包括執行若干法定職能)。二○○七年七月一日至今,該兩個職位由同一人出任。有社會人士關注,一人身兼政策制訂和執行兩職存在角色衝突,因此建議當局考慮恢復過往做法,即該兩個職位由不同人出任,並且由環保署專業職系人員出任署長一職,以確保署長可不偏不倚地履行相關職責。環境局局長(局長)於二○一二年十月二十二日在本會環境事務委員會會議上回應委員提問時表示,這方面可以有改善和檢討的空間。鑑於局長作出上述回應至今三年多,政府可否告知本會,當局有否因應社會人士的關注和建議,檢討環境局及環保署之間的分工及它們的運作,以及上述兩個職位的人事安排等事宜;若有,詳情為何;若否,原因為何?

答覆:

主席:

  為使政策的制訂和實施產生協同作用和提高運作效率及工作成效,政府由二○○五年四月一日起,將環境保護署(環保署)與前環境運輸及工務局環境科(環境科)合併。

  合併後環境科及環保署負責執行環保法例、監測環境、發展和管理廢物處理設施、監管環境影響評估程序和參與城市規劃工作、籌辦提高環保意識的活動,以及落實環保政策,亦負責制訂政策的整個過程,當中包括現行政策的檢討、修訂以及發展的構思,以及相關的技術/科研背景研究及資料搜集等工作。此舉既可集中政府在推動環保政策和管理的資源,又能加強執行政策的人員對政策的承擔。在合併的架構下,環境科常任秘書長同時擔任環境保護署署長一職,並執行有關法例之下的法定職責。

  其後,政府在二○○七年七月一日進行的政府總部決策局改組中,成立環境局,除負責環境科的政策外,並加入能源和可持續發展政策等。為反映擴大的政策範疇,政府將環境局編制作出適當調整,並同時保留與環保署合併的架構。環境局常任秘書長繼續擔任環境保護署署長一職,以及執行相關法例的職責,維持不變。

  環境局和環保署的現行合併架構是政府考慮了推動環境保護以及相關工作的需要所作出的安排,並已按既定程序,包括立法會詳細審批及同意才成立。政府的政策制訂與執法工作均是按公平、公正、具高透明度和遵守法律原則進行,現行的架構不存在導致利益衝突的情況。

  政府一向會按情況不時檢討部門架構及人手,以達至更高的運作效率及工作成效,確保政策的制訂與實施與時俱進。

 

Following is a question by Ir Dr Hon Lo Wai-kwok and a written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing, in the Legislative Council:


Question:

     The Permanent Secretary for the Environment is responsible for formulating environmental policies, while the Director of Environmental Protection (DEP) is responsible for executing such policies (including carrying out certain statutory functions).  Since July 1, 2007, these two offices have been taken up by the same person.  Some members of the community are concerned about the role conflicts arising from one person performing the dual roles of policy formulation and execution, and therefore suggest that the authorities should consider reverting to the previous practice of appointing different persons to take up the two offices and filling the DEP post with a professional grade staff member of the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), so as to ensure the impartiality of DEP in performing the relevant duties.  In response to a question raised by a member at the meeting of the Panel on Environmental Affairs of this Council on October 22, 2012, the Secretary for the Environment (Secretary) indicated that there would be room for improvement and review in this regard.  As it has been more than three years since the Secretary made the aforesaid response, will the Government inform this Council, whether the authorities have, in the light of the concerns and recommendations of members of the community, reviewed the division of work between and operation of the Environment Bureau and EPD, as well as the personnel arrangements for the aforesaid two posts, etc.; if they have, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?

Reply:

President,

     The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) and the Environment Branch (EB) of the former Environmental, Transport and Works Bureau were merged on April 1, 2005 to achieve synergy between policy formulation and implementation, as well as to enhance operational efficiency and effectiveness. 

     Upon the merger, the EB and the EPD were responsible for the enforcement of environmental legislation, environmental monitoring, development and management of waste disposal facilities, management of the environmental impact assessment process and participation in the town planning process, conduct of activities designed to raise environmental awareness, and the day-to-day implementation of environmental policies.  They were also responsible for the whole process of policy formulation, including the review and revision of existing policies and the conception of new ones, as well as the required technical/scientific background research and data collection.  The merger could pool government resources for implementing environmental policies and management on the one hand, and could enhance accountability for policies amongst officers responsible for their execution on the other.  Under the merged structure, the Permanent Secretary for the EB also held office as the Director of Environmental Protection (DEP), and had to perform statutory duties under the relevant legislation.

     Subsequent to the re-organisation of Government Secretariat bureaux on July 1, 2007, a new Environment Bureau (ENB) was formed overseeing not only EB policies but also polices on energy and sustainable development.  To reflect the expanded policy portfolio, the Government has made necessary adjustment to the ENB establishment while maintaining the same merged structure (with the EPD).  The Permanent Secretary for the Environment continues to hold office as the DEP and, as before, has to perform statutory duties under the relevant legislation.

     The existing merged structure of the ENB and EPD was worked out by the Government having regard to the need for enhancing environmental protection and the efforts required, and it was established according to standing procedures, including the vetting and approval of the Legislative Council.  The Government has all along formulated policies and enforced laws in a fair, just, transparent and law-abiding manner.  The existing structure does not lead to any conflicts of interest.

     It is the Government's policy to review departmental structures and manpower as required from time to time, with a view to achieving higher operational efficiency and effectiveness, and ensuring that policy formulation and implementation keep pace with the times.

 

 

立法會盧偉國議員 博士 工程師 (工程界)
Legislative Council Ir Dr Hon Lo Wai Kwok (Functional Constituency - Engineering)