Author: Antonio Da Roza

Date: 13/10/10

Donald Tsang Yam-Kuen, Chief Executive of the HKSAR, Policy Address 2010-2011[1]

Para 113 – 118

“Air quality in Hong Kong is improving gradually. Last year, the ambient concentrations of such major pollutants as sulphur dioxide, suspended particulates and nitrogen dioxide dropped by 36%, 15% and 4% respectively compared with 2005. However, for roadside pollution, the concentration of nitrogen dioxide is still on the high side. We will implement the following improvement measures.

Franchised Buses

Franchised buses are the major cause of roadside air pollution on busy corridors. The ultimate policy objective of the Government is to have zero emission buses running across the territory. When the current bus franchises expire in the coming few years, we will impose additional requirements in the franchises for the bus companies to switch to zero emissions buses or the most environmental-friendly buses when replacing existing ones, taking into account the feasibility and affordability for bus operators and passengers.

In terms of fuel consumption and other environmental performance, hybrid buses are superior to ordinary diesel buses. In view of market availability and technical developments, hybrid buses have the potential to replace diesel buses on a large scale within a short period. Therefore, we propose to fund the full cost of procuring six hybrid buses for use by the franchised bus companies along bus companies along busy corridors to test the operational efficiency and performance of these buses under Hong Kong conditions and to collect operational data. If the bus companies wish to test other greener buses such as electric buses, the Government will be ready to provide them with the same financial support.

At present, over 60% of franchised buses are Euro II and Euro III vehicles. There are too many to phase them all out in the coming few years. In view of this, the Government and franchised bus companies are conducting a trial to retrofit Euro II and Euro III buses with catalytic reduction devices to meet Euro IV nitrogen oxide emission standards. Subject to satisfactory trial results, we will fully fund the retrofit of the devices on all Euro II and Euro III buses. Bus companies will bear the subsequent operational and maintenance costs.

Furthermore, the Government plans to designate pilot low-emission zones in busy districts such as Causeway Bay, Central and Mong Kok. We will increase as far as possible the ratio of low-emission franchised buses running in these zones from next year, with the target of having only low-emission buses in these zones by 2015.

Pilot Green Transport Fund

Land and sea transport are the second largest sources of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. To encourage the transport sector to test out green and low-carbon transport means and technology, the Government plans to set up a $300 million Pilot Green Transport Fund this year for application by the transport trade.” (Windows Media, time index 1:10:32 – 1:14:13)



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