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LCQ18: Emissions by non-franchised buses

busesFirst published: February 24, 2010
Source: Hong Kong Government via 7th Space

Hong Kong (HKSAR) – Following is a question by Hon Audrey Eu and a written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau, in the Legislative Council today (February 24): Question: It has been learnt that at present, quite a number of non-franchised buses carry foreign travellers via the Cross Harbour Tunnel (CHT) every day to areas with high air pollution index such as Central, Wai Chai and Causeway Bay for sightseeing.In this connection, will the Government inform this Council: (a) whether it knows the average daily number of trips run by non-franchised buses carrying overseas visitors via CHT last year, and the average number of such trips run during peak hours; (b) of percentage of respirable suspended particulate and nitrogen oxide emissions from non-franchised buses in the total amount of the emissions concerned from all vehicles in Hong Kong last year; and (c) what new measures will be put in place by the authorities to reduce the air pollutants emitted by non-franchised buses? Reply: Mr. President, (a) A survey conducted by the Transport Department in October 2009 found that on average non-franchised buses providing tour service operated about 1,960 trips via the Hung Hom Cross Harbour Tunnel from 6 am to 10 pm daily.About 860 of these trips were made during the peak periods from 7 am to 10 am and from 5 pm to 8 pm.The survey did not differentiate whether or not the passengers on board were overseas visitors. (b) The compilation of the vehicle emission inventory for 2009 (including non-franchised buses) will be completed around end of this year.However, in 2008, the respirable suspended particulates and nitrogen oxides emitted from non-franchised buses accounted for about 6% of the respective total vehicular emissions in Hong Kong.

(c) Since 2000, the Government has been introducing new measures to reduce vehicular emissions with a view to improving roadside air quality.Key measures involving non-franchised buses include: (1) the statutory emission standards for newly registered vehicles will be tightened wheneverpracticable.Our prevailing statutory vehicle emission standards are Euro IV, which are among the most stringent standards in Asia; (2) starting from April 2006, we have mandated all pre-Euro heavy duty vehicles, including non-franchised buses, to install particulate removal devices approved by the Environmental Protection Department to reduce particulate emissions; (3) a concessionary duty rate has been offered for Euro V motor diesel to encourage its usage by owners of commercial vehicles.Since December 1, 2007, all local commercial vehicles have been operating on Euro V diesel.We are preparing legislation to tighten the statutory specifications of motor diesel fuels to Euro V standards for implementation from July 1, 2010; (4) in April 2007, we launched a 36-month incentive scheme to encourage vehicle owners to replace their Pre-Euro and Euro I diesel commercial vehicles by Euro IV vehicles or newer models.As at end-2009, about 50% of the eligible Pre-Euro and Euro I non-franchised buses (i.e. 933 buses) joined the scheme; (5) since April 2008, we have offered a reduction in first registration tax to encourage the use of environment-friendly commercial vehicles.Currently 13 environment-friendly bus models are available for purchase by the non-franchised bus trade; and (6) we are preparing legislation against idling vehicles with an aim to introduce it into the Legislative Council for scrutiny within this legislative year for early implementation to minimise the nuisance caused to the environment. Moreover, from July to November 2009, the Government consulted the public on the proposed new Air Quality Objectives (AQOs) and the measures to achieve the new AQOs.Many of the measures seek to improve roadside air quality and are also applicable to non-franchised buses such as early retirement of old polluting vehicles, promoting the use of hybrid/electric or other environment-friendly vehicles with similar performance, establishing low emission zones, etc.We are carefully examining the views collected to decide on how best to implement the proposals.

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