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Advisory Council on the Environment

Proposed Air Pollution Control (Vehicle Design Standards) (Emission) (Amendment) Regulation 1999 (Cap. 311, sub. leg. J)

(ACE Paper 16/99)
for information

Introduction

This paper introduces the proposed Air Pollution Control (Vehicle Design Standards) (Emission) (Amendment) Regulation 1999 (Annex), which will give effect to the following:

 

(a) 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;
(b) to add an emission standard for newly registered petrol vehicles to control the emissions from their fuel tanks due to evaporative loss;
(c) to introduce a set of emission standards for newly registered motor cycles and motor tricycles.

Advice Sought

2.Members are requested to comment on the proposed Air Pollution Control (Vehicle Design Standards) (Emission) (Amendment) Regulation 1999.

Background and Justifications

3.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.

4.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 of weighting more than 3.5 tonnes.

5.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.

6.Motor cycles and motor tricycles constitute about 5% of the motor vehicle fleet. They are not subject to any emission standards and are a major source of hydrocarbon emissions, contributing to about 25% of those from vehicle sources. Hydrocarbons can help form photochemical smog, which has become more visible in recent years. 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, prevent Hong Kong from becoming the dumping ground of those of inferior design, and help control air pollution.

Proposed Amendments

7.The Air Pollution Control (Vehicle Design Standards) (Emission) Regulations (Cap. 311, sub. leg. J) lays 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.

8.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.

Consultation

9.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.

10.The Hong Kong Motorcycle Association supports the introduction of the emission standards for newly registered motorcycles.

11.However, the Hong Kong Motorcycle of Commerce, most of whose members are parallel importers of motorcycles and importers of second-hand motorcycles, objects to the proposed implementation timetable and worry about a potential increase in their operating cost.

12.Their first concern is connected with the import of second-hand motorcycles. The proposed implementation schedule matches that of Japan. This will make it difficult for them to source suitable second-hand motorcycles in the first few years of the introduction. They have requested the introduction of the emission requirements for motorcycles to be deferred to 2003. Postponing the implementation of the proposal to 2003 will allow more motorcycles of inferior design to be imported. This is hardly justified.

13.The increase in their operating cost is due to parallel-imported motorcycles lacking documents showing their emission performance. Their motorcycles thus need to undergo an emission test to show their compliance with the proposed emission requirements. The test costs $4,000 and has to be done currently in the place of export. Alternatively, an importer can seek emission certificates from the manufacturers of the motorcycles.

14.Motor tricycles are not common in Hong Kong. In 1998, no motor tricycle was licensed with the Transport Department.

15.The Legislative Council Panel on Environmental Affairs was briefed on the proposed amendment at its meeting of 29 March 1999.

Implementation

16.Subject to the endorsement by the Advisory Council on the Environment and approval by the Legislative Council, the proposal for tightening the emission standards for diesel taxis and certain motor vehicles below 3.5 tonnes, and introducing evaporative emission standard will commence on 1 July 1999, and the introduction of emission standards for motor cycles and motor tricycles will commence on 1 October 1999.

Public Reaction

17.The public in general will welcome the proposal as it will help control air pollution due to vehicular emissions.


Planning, Environment and Lands Bureau
April 1999

 

 

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