STUDYING ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT, PROTECTING BIODIVERSITY
Singapore has always emphasised sustainable environmental management in its development policies. Land use is highly regulated by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), an agency which strives to harmonise quality living, growth and development, and the sustainability of our existing green landscape. All CDL development projects are within land allocated by URA for home and commercial use and so none are located within protected areas. URA’s planning and policies maintain that the forests in Singapore are not commercially exploited for timber or other resources.
CDL is deeply rooted in our commitment to minimise and mitigate the impacts of our developments on natural habitats and to protect wildlife biodiversity. We are committed to preserving biodiversity particularly when we develop on greenfield sites.
Since 2010, CDL has practised Biodiversity Impact Assessment (BIA) for new construction sites on a voluntary basis. BIA helps to determine if any plant or animal life of national conservation importance exists at the intended development site and then makes recommendations for any environmental mitigation if necessary.
CDL raised the bar when we developed the new Forest Woods condominium in 2016. We voluntarily conducted an environmental study similar in scope to an Environmental Impact Assessment, which offers a more extensive scope than BIA. The three-month study was tailored to determine the environmental baseline of the site, and to understand the environmental impacts that may arise from demolition and construction activities. Environmental indicators such as wind, lighting and the shading effect of the new development, water quality, air quality, noise production/pollution, waste management from the construction activities, and the biodiversity of existing flora and fauna were studied.
36 species of animals and 31 species of plants were identified, with the Black Morinda trees observed to be the rarest in Singapore. In consideration of the ecological importance of this rare flora species, CDL moved the two Black Morinda trees from the site to a nursery. Further action will be taken to transplant them back to the original site upon completion of the development.
The soft-scaping of our waterways has an important role to play in benefiting our biodiversity. CDL taps on Singapore’s Active, Beautiful and Clean Waters Programme, aimed at integrating waterways and waterbodies seamlessly into urban landscapes, to enhance the natural aesthetics and the biodiversity of areas under our responsibility.
Located near the Punggol Reservoir, H20 Residences is the first private development in Singapore to be integrated with its surrounding water body. To bring people closer to water, a promenade and jetty platform was built next to the banks of Punggol Reservoir. One of H20 Residences’ features is a Discovery Biopond filled with fishes, flora and fauna found in the region, offering residents a chance to learn about biodiversity. Together with the Biopond, these features retain and treat rainwater runoff from roughly 29% of the site area. Features such as a Rain Garden and a terrace with wetland plants have the natural ability to filter rainwater for re-circulation, creating a thriving habitat for richer biodiversity.
CDL’s Tree House Condominium held the Guinness World Records for the Largest Vertical Garden from April 2014 to June 2015. At Tree House, bio-retention swales retain and treat rainwater runoff from about 10% of the paved areas, while facilities including the Misty Creek Cascade, Secret Spring Pavilion, Discovery Pond and Tree house walk bring people closer to the water. A green wall and sky gardens enhance the lushness of the area, and rainwater is harvested to irrigate the green wall. Extensive plantings also create a verdant habitat for birds and insects while research has shown that bio-retention swales encourage habitat creation and promote biodiversity.
“We see birds, butterflies and snails on our evening strolls around the estate and these strolls serve as science lessons for our two young kids, aged seven and four.”
Tree House resident Bernard Lee (The Straits Times)
Most recently, Coco Palms, which was completed in 2018, is the eighth CDL development to be certified under the Active, Beautiful and Clean Waters Programme. It features vegetated swales and bio-retention basins that are integrated with the landscape. Runoff from parts of the site area are retained and treated by these features.
CDL remains committed to enhancing and conserving green spaces wherever possible on its sites as natural habitats and their biodiversity are crucial components of liveable cities.