Saturday, September 7, 2013

A New Road Usually Marks the Beginning of Human Development

Building a new road or highway through a pristine ecosystem is only the beginning of human-related impacts on the ecosystem. In a short period of time, the new road or highway induces secondary development, in the form of additional branch roads, commercial development and human settlement that can have an even larger impact on ecosystems than the new road or highway alone.

This is a major concern.

In page ES-12 of the Executive Summary of the DEIA (Detailed Environment Impact Assement) for the EKVE (East Klang Valley Expressway), it is stated:
“The proposed route ………..Based on the potential impact on current landuse and future, the areas involved will lose the status of the current landuse such as forest to highway development.”

There is a possibility that the current land use status of the area in and around the Park traversed by the expressway could change from ‘State Park’ to ‘development’ use with the construction of EKVE.  New townships could appear in and around the proposed route.  This will be a key selling point by developers…accessibility to highways, etc. That being the case, the gazetted TWNS area will eventually shrink with rapid urbanization. The prestigious housing development projects along Guthrie Corridor Expressway are testament to this. The potential long term negative spinoffs from this project are not addressed at all in the DEIA.

Page 2-16 of Chapter 2 of the DEIA increases concerns:
“It conforms to the intended KLORR concept (Outer Ring Road) of which the alignment is away from MRR2 and caters for future extension of KLORR (Northern Link)

According to the Public Works Department Malaysia:
“In setting out and discussing the potentially significant environmental impacts of the proposed project, consideration should be given to possible indirect, cumulative, synergistic or antagonistic environmental effects.”

Contrary to these guidelines, the DEIA for the EKVE contained no consideration whatsoever of the
cumulative, indirect or induced impacts of the new highway.  It is unreasonable to assume that a new highway through Selangor State Park and other critical wildlife areas would not be followed by further branch roads, commercial development and human settlement along and away from the new highway, if not soon but eventually.

You can read more on our concerns relating to the EKVE at TrEES website 

While the DEIA was approved, TrEES and many other groups remain very concerned that the EKVE would be only the beginning of human-induced impacts on what are now pristine ecological areas.