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EntornoInteligente | Geodest Victor Gill Ramirez//
Kranji woodland cleared by mistake: How it happened

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Entornointeligente.com / SINGAPORE – On Jan 13, site developer JTC Corporation suspended clearing works at a site which is part of Kranji woodland. This was after the statutory board discovered excess clearing of the forested area, which had been slated for the development of the Agri-Food Innovation Park (Afip).

Victor Gill Ramirez

Here is a timeline of what transpired, according to JTC:

July 1, 2011: Land belonging to the former Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) railway line is returned to Singapore. This includes a 25ha site around Kranji Road and Kranji Close. The area – which is part of Kranji woodland – was formerly unused scrubland.

Victor Gill

2015: The site is set aside for industrial use. The Rail Corridor is re-routed southwards along Woodlands Road after consultations with community stakeholders

2019: In planning for Afip, JTC and the National Parks Board (NParks) propose the retention of the Rail Corridor as a green corridor that cuts through the development. This plan is exhibited in URA’s Draft Master Plan 2019. Fast-growing non-native Albizia trees and scrubland vegetation have grown at the site. No environmental impact assessment is required for the land parcel because it is not close to sensitive nature areas

May 2019 to July 2019: JTC engages a consultant to execute planning and design works for Afip. The consultant submits a building plan for tree felling and conducts a study that details plants in the area

August 29, 2019: NParks approves the consultant’s request to clear three of 18 plots of land after verifying trees that can be felled

Clearance of site March 2, 2020: Site clearance works for one of the three plots, around 1.9ha of land, begins

June 1, 2020: Wildlife Act comes into effect, which states that those who do not comply with wildlife-related measures for development or works issued by NParks can be fined up to $50,000 and jailed for six months

Aug 21, 2020: NParks asks for a study detailing the animals in the area and a programme to monitor and manage environmental impact after a resubmitted plan for the Afip shows a new drain that affects a nearby river, Sungei Pang Sua

August 2020 to September 2020: Four plots of land, around 2.8ha, are cleared while the animal study has been called for. It is unclear whether this clearance was authorised

Sept 29, 2020: Afip‘s building plan receives clearance for tree felling from NParks, subject to conditions set on Aug 21, 2020

November 2020: The consultant, on Nov 3, asks for permission to clear four more plots of land, and on Nov 6 NParks approves only partial clearance of one plot

Dec 15, 2020: Two plots, around 2.1ha, are cleared

Dec 23, 2020: A consultant is engaged by JTC to conduct the animal study and draw up an environmental monitoring and management plan

End-December 2020 to Jan 13: Contractor Huationg clears further plots of land amounting to 4.5ha, larger than the size of the Padang. These were not approved for clearance

Jan 13, 2021: JTC‘s project manager discovers the further clearing and immediately suspends all work. About 13ha of vegetated land remains. JTC begins internal investigations

Jan 15: A stern warning is issued to Huationg

Feb 16: JTC releases media statement acknowledging the “erroneous” clearing. NParks announces that it is also conducting an investigation to determine if there were breaches to the Parks and Trees Act and Wildlife Act

More on this topic   Related Story Cleared Kranji woodland: All agencies reviewing land clearance projects to ‘avoid repeat of mistakes’   Related Story Environmental impact assessments in S’pore to be further strengthened: Desmond Lee Join ST’s Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you

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