“Environment chief Edward Yau Tang-wah achieved a symbolic victory yesterday with the passage of a much-watered-down law banning idling engines, but lawmakers urged him to set tougher targets for curbing air pollution.”
Yau has said that he believes that this law will change Hong Konger’s driving habits.
Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, lawmaker and Civic Party leader, said that she supported this measure, but feels that the Government needs to focus its efforts on areas that will make a greater impact on improving Hong Kong’s air quality.
“Eu said officials should focus on the biggest sources of pollution on the roads – buses and dirty diesel trucks. The city’s huge budget surplus would have provided enough resources to address those issues.”
“The law, which has 20 exemptions, was passed by a majority of lawmakers yesterday, concluding 10 years of debate over the desirability of such a law.
It applies to all roads in Hong Kong and will be introduced in early September. Drivers caught parked with their engines running will face a fixed penalty of HK$320.
Among the exemptions, drivers will be allowed to idle their engines for three minutes an hour, and the ban will be suspended on any day when the Observatory issues warnings for storms or very hot weather. Exemptions also apply to taxi stands, the first two minibuses at stands, coaches or buses with at least one passenger and private school buses.”
Critics have said that the exemptions have rendered the law ineffective and meaningless.
“Idling dos and don’ts
- The ban will apply to all roads, including private roads, and car parks.
- All cabs at a taxi stand will be exempted from the idling ban.
- In hot or rainy weather, the ban will be lifted.
- Buses and school vans that contain passengers will be exempted.
- Drivers will have a three-minute exemption every hour.
- Offenders pay fixed fine of HK$320.”
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