Air quality improvements in the works.
According to a report, the Environmental Protection Department has raised by $3 billion its proposed subsidy to phase out pre-Euro IV diesel commercial vehicles, to a total cost of $11.71 billion.
Speaking to the media, Secretary for the Environment KS Wong said the proposal strikes a balance between transport trade concerns and public health.
He appealed to the industry to phase out the vehicles as soon as possible to improve roadside air quality, although retirement deadlines for the vehicles will be deferred by one year to address its concerns.
In a paper tabled to the Legislative Council Panel on Environmental Affairs, the department proposed an incentive-cum-regulatory approach, while also limiting the service life of newly registered diesel commercial vehicles to 15 years, including goods vehicles, minibuses and non-franchised buses.
The department said the proposal will reduce vehicle emissions of respirable suspended particulates and nitrogen oxides by 80% and 30%.
As at the end of March, there were 131,200 registered diesel commercial vehicles in Hong Kong, of which 84,600 were pre-Euro IV.
If approved by the council, a new regulation will be proposed under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance, imposing requirements for granting vehicle licenses under the Road Traffic Ordinance.
The proposed regulation will then be tabled to the council in late October or early November for negative vetting, to be implemented in the first quarter of 2014.
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