on 29 March 1999
Panel on Environmental Affairs
Proposed Amendments toINTRODUCTION
Air Pollution Control (Vehicle Design Standards) (Emission) Regulations
(Cap. 311, sub. leg. J)
We propose to amend the Air Pollution Control (Vehicle Design Standards) (Emission) Regulations, Chapter 311 to give effect to the following:
BACKGROUND AND JUSTIFICATIONS
- to tighten the emission standards for certain newly registered motor vehicles below 3.5 tonnes, to match the latest requirements of the European Union and Japan, and a minor updating to an emission standard for newly registered petrol vehicles more than 3.5 tonnes;
- to add an emission standard for newly registered petrol vehicles to control the emissions from their fuel tanks due to evaporative loss;
- to introduce a set of emission standards for newly registered motor cycles and motor tricycles.
2. Motor vehicles are a major source of air pollution in Hong Kong. As part of the vehicle emission control strategy, it is the policy to adopt the most stringent requirements for emission of newly registered motor vehicles and for the quality of motor fuels as soon as compliant vehicles or fuels can be made available in Hong Kong. We have tightened the emission standards for newly registered large diesel vehicles to match the latest Euro II standards on 1 April 1997. In line with the practice of the European Union, we are tightening the emission standards of all newly registered light duty diesel vehicles in two stages. The first stage took effect on 1 October 1998. The second stage is proposed to be implemented from 1 July 1999.
3. The proposed amendment will affect at least 67 models of newly registered diesel light goods vehicles and diesel light buses, as well as a small number of light duty petrol vehicles. Light duty vehicles meeting the latest European Union and Japanese standards emit 55% less particulates and 38% less hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides than models complying with the preceding standards. While measures are now being prepared for all diesel taxis to run on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) in future, it is not anticipated that it can be made mandatory for new taxis to use LPG until the end of 2000. To ensure that any new taxis purchased before that comply with the best available emission standards, it is proposed that this amendment should also apply to taxis. We are also taking the opportunity to conduct a minor updating of an emission standard for newly registered petrol vehicles more than 3.5 tonnes.
4. Many countries have specified standards to control emissions due to evaporative loss from the fuel tank of a petrol vehicle. The control can help reduce the formation of photochemical smog. These new standards are practical and vehicles meeting these new standards are commercially available. It is proposed to introduce this as one of the standards for newly registered petrol vehicles in Hong Kong.
5. Motor cycles and motor tricycles constitute about 5% of our motor vehicle fleet. They are not subject to any emission standards. Many countries are establishing emission standards for newly registered motor cycle and tricycles. Japan started introducing emission standards for motor cycles last October. The European Union will tighten up their emission standards for motor cycles and motor tricycles later this year. Motor cycles and motor tricycles meeting these standards emit 50% less hydrocarbons than old models. Introducing emission standards of equivalent stringency for newly registered motor cycles and motor tricycles will bring Hong Kong in line with international practice as well as preventing Hong Kong from becoming the dumping ground of motor cycles and motor tricycles of inferior design.
6. The Air Pollution Control (Vehicle Design Standards) (Emission) Regulations (Cap. 311, sub. leg. J) has laid down the requirement that every motor vehicle seeking first registration has to comply with a set of emission standards. It is proposed from 1 July 1999 to further tighten the emission standards for those light duty vehicles below 3.5 tonnes, with reference weight exceeding 1.25 tonnes, including diesel taxis, to the latest European Union and Japanese levels. A minor updating to an emission standard for vehicles more than 3.5 tonnes equipped with a positive-ignition engine is also proposed. In addition, a set of emission standards governing the evaporative loss from a fuel tank is proposed to be added to the requirements for petrol vehicles.
7. Under the same Regulations, it is also proposed to require every motor cycle and motor tricycle first-registered on or after 1 October 1999 to comply with a set of emission standards of the stringency equivalent to the standards of Japan, European Union or USA.
8. Consultation has been carried out with a number of relevant organisations and trade associations. The Motor Traders Association has supported the proposals related to motor vehicles. The taxi trade has been consulted on the proposed tightening of the emission standards for newly registered diesel taxis. Sixteen taxi associations responded. Eight indicated support of the proposal while three indicated objection. The remaining five indicated no comments. To dispel the concerns of some members of the taxi trade, we have further explained to the trade that the proposal would only affect newly registered diesel taxis and that vehicles meeting these standards are now available in the local taxi market and are in fact being used by the trade. We also pointed out that the proposal to tighten the emission standards of new diesel taxis is only part of our overall exercise to update the standards of all new light duty diesel vehicles.
9. The Hong Kong Motorcycle Association and Hong Kong Motorcycle of Commerce also support the introduction of the emission standards for newly registered motor cycles. Only the parallel importers of motor cycles and the importers of second-hand motor cycles have voiced out their worry over a potential increase in their operating cost because of the emission test which costs about $4,000 in Japan. However, exempting these motor cycles from the proposed requirements will defeat the whole purpose of introducing the emission standards for motor cycles. We have urged them to explore the feasibility of seeking emission certificates from the manufacturers of their motor cycles or to ask local emission testing laboratories to provide the service. These can help alleviate the cost implications of the proposal to them.
10. Motor tricycles are not common in Hong Kong. In 1998, no motor tricycle was licensed with the Transport Department.
11. Subject to the views of Members and further consultation with the Advisory Council on the Environment, we intend to table the proposed amendment Regulations at the Legislative Council in May 1999 for negative approval.
Planning, Environment and Lands Bureau