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June 27, 2017

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Court revokes Central Science Park permit

The Taipei High Administrative Court (台北高等法院) yesterday revoked the development permit of the Central Taiwan Science Park (中部科學工業園區) in Changhua County's Erlin Township (二林鎮), saying there is no decisive need for the project, which could threaten food security.

The administrative court stated that there is still a large amount of land in other science parks that is not fully utilized.

The administration bureau of the Central Taiwan Science Park submitted plans for the park to the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) in 2009. The ministry issued a development permit for the park after an environmental assessment report found it could be implemented under certain conditions. Citizens, however, were not convinced and filed a lawsuit against the MOI.

Citing the court's ruling, environment protection groups urged the government to halt the construction of the science park immediately.

Lawyers representing local farmers stated that the administration bureau did not provide all necessary documents for the development project to take place, and did not gain the consent of local citizens, which is against the law.

Attorney Tsai Ya-ying (蔡雅瀅) said that the government should utilize the land in neighboring science parks instead of building a new one in an inappropriate location.

Tsai also pointed to land subsidence problems in areas planned for the park, which make them unsuitable for the project. Moreover, the area was designated as an important agricultural area by the Executive Yuan. If the government changes the usage of the land for industrial purposes, Taiwan's food security could be jeopardized.

The National Science Council (NSC, 國家科學委員會), the higher authority of the administration bureau, stated that they were surprised by the court's decision, which according to the NSC is contradictory to two previous rulings. The NSC was studying the ruling and will coordinate with the MOI for future legal action.

The NSC stated that the planned transformation project of the science park, which aims to decrease pollution and required amounts of water, will continue. According to the council, because the MOI can still appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court, the legal effect of the development permit issued by the MOI was unaffected.

The Changhua County Government (彰化縣政府) stated that they respect the court ruling, but will cooperate with the NSC in the development project since an appeal can still be filed.

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