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Hong Kong’s derisory enforcement of engine idling law

Tuesday, 06 August, 2013, 12:00am



Howard Winn

We can report that those whose job it is to chase down breaches of the engine idling law have shown a marked increase in their activity. Readers will recall the law came into effect on December 15, 2011. Between then and the end of May 2012, a total of zero fixed-penalty tickets were issued.

This is not because engine idling suddenly came to a grinding halt, something that even the most casual observer could easily discern. However, the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) used to say then that it was in educative mode and drivers had proved co-operative when asked to comply with the law.

Nevertheless, since then, there has been a marked tightening-up, and between May 2012 and the end of last month, no fewer than 47 fixed-penalty tickets were issued to those that broke this law. That works out at an average of 3.4 fixed-penalty tickets a month.

So we can safely say that traffic wardens and the EPD haven’t exactly been cracking the whip on this one. You could quite easily issue 47 tickets in a morning just by wandering around Central and visiting Bank Street, Ice House Street and Wellington Street to start with.

This has surely been one of the most useless laws ever enacted in Hong Kong and has been a complete waste of the Legislative Council’s time. A fitting testimony to the reign of the former secretary for the environment, Edward Yau Tang-wah.

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