A written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing, from the Legislative Council today stated that only about 87% of the buses in Low Emission Zones (LEZs) will be low emission buses by the end of 2015 according to the latest estimate by CTB and NWFB and they will be able to meet the target by the third quarter of 2016.
In the 2010-11 Policy Address, the Government announced the setting up of pilot LEZs on the busy roads in Causeway Bay, Central and Mong Kok and encouraged franchised bus companies to deploy low emission buses to the pilot LEZs. According to the plan, by the end of 2015, only low emission buses will be travelling on LEZs.
CAN is disappointed about the delay and doubts the effectiveness of the current LEZs. The government said that the amount of respirable suspended particulates and nitrogen oxides emitted from vehicles within the zones could be reduced by about 20 per cent and 35 per cent respectively if LEZs are fully enforced. However, looking at 2012 and 2013 data from the roadside monitoring stations, CAN found a worsening trend in terms of roadside emission of PM and NOx.
CAN’s CEO Kwong Sum Yin says, “The general public would like to see more significant effect from the LEZs. Currently franchised buses make up 40% of the traffic volume in those areas. We suggest the government extend its current plan to include other vehicles besides buses and it can start with limiting the number of high-polluting vehicles entering the zones during peak hours.”
She further suggested implementing pedestrainisation in busy areas such as Central as a way to reduce citizens’ exposure to polluted emission.
CAN believes it is unacceptable to have pre-Euro IV buses running on the street until 2026. The government must formulate plans to reduce their emissions in order to meet the reduction target set out in the Clean Air Plan till 2020.
In addition, it is said that EPD is examining the findings of the technical feasibility study of installing onshore power supply (OPS) facilities at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal. It is expected that the findings and recommendations will be presented to the Legislative Council in the first half of 2015. CAN calls for a concrete timetable for the installation of OPS without delay, so as to protect the health of residents in East Kowloon.