(ACE Paper 19/2001)
This paper is to report on the progress to amend the Air Pollution Control (Vehicle Design Standards) (Emission) Regulations (hereafter referred to as "the Regulations") to stop importation of diesel taxis with effect from 1 August 2001 and to add to the Regulations the emission standards for LPG taxis.
2. To encourage early replacement of the existing diesel taxis, the Chief Executive announced in his 1999 Policy Address a programme to provide owners of diesel taxis with a one-off grant to encourage them to replace their vehicles with LPG ones. Since the disbursement of grant in August 2000, over 7,500 diesel taxis (over 40% of the total fleet) have been replaced by LPG ones. No diesel taxis have actually been imported to Hong Kong since March 2000.
3. The current Regulations do not allow the registration of LPG taxis. Exemption from the Regulations is being granted to LPG taxis by the Environmental Protection Department as a temporary administrative arrangement so that they could be registered by the Transport Department.
4. We consulted Members at the meeting of the Council on 30 October 2000 on the proposal to formalise the current situation so that LPG taxis could be registered by the Transport Department without the need for exemption granted by the Environmental Protection Department and such that no diesel taxis could be imported to Hong Kong from 2001. Members were supportive of the proposal. The relevant notes of meeting are at Annex A.
5. Following Members' advice, we have now prepared the necessary draft Regulation to implement the proposal. We have also included in the draft Regulation emission standards for LPG taxis. The draft Regulation is at Annex B for Members' reference.
6. The proposed changes to the Regulations will not disrupt the operation of the taxi trade because effectively no diesel taxis have been imported to Hong Kong since March 2000. Moreover, the existing LPG taxi models already conform to the proposed emission standards. The proposed amendments only serve to formalize the current situation.
7. We have consulted the taxi trade on the proposal and the timing of implementation. They have expressed no comment.
8. We intend to introduce the draft Regulation to the Legislative Council in early June 2001. Subject to the Legislative Council's approval, the proposed amendments to the Regulations will take effect on 1 August 2001.
9. Although the proposed amendments only serve to formalise the current situation, the general public are expected to welcome them because the changes will further confirm the Government's determination to replace diesel taxis with environmentally cleaner LPG taxis for the purpose of improving the air quality.
Environment and Food Bureau