Today the Panel on Environmental Affairs of the Legislative Council discussed the progress of setting up of Low Emissions Zones (LEZs). Christine Loh, Undersecretary of Environment Bureau, admitted that the scheme only covered franchised buses and the pilot areas consisted by three streets in Causeway Bay, Mong Kok and Central. They are technically “low emission streets” instead of zones.
Patrick Fung, Campaign Manager of Clean Air Network, said, “Putting too much focus on the progress of these “low emission streets” is missing the big picture. We should concentrate on the idea behind LEZs and how the government can implement extensive low emission planning.”
According to the latest estimation by the government, the three areas will meet the target by first quarter of 2016. However, CAN believes that Hong Kong needs genuine low emission zones, and as pointed out in the meeting, it can only be achieved by interdepartmental collaboration between Environment and Transport Bureaux.
Regarding the future step, CAN calls for implementation of the Des Voeux Road Central Pedestrian Project as a pilot for real low emission zones. Transport Bureau should be working with Environmental Bureau to finalise the plan before the completion of the Central-Wan Chai bypass in order to meet the reduction target set out in the Clean Air Plan till 2020.
End of pipe solutions are inadequate to alleviate the air pollution problem. We should target the pollution at source and demand-side transport management is critical. Clean Air Network thus released a video today to advocate sustainable transport planning by drawing foreign examples such as low emission zone, pedestrian zone, electronic road pricing and intelligent transport solutions. In order to execute these plans, Transport Bureau must be involved.
Photo credit: autoexpress.co.uk