Regarding the policy measures related to air quality in the 2022 Policy Address announced today, Clean Air Network (CAN) has the following comments:
1. Promote green transport: CAN acknowledges the government’s plan to formulate long-term strategies for the application of hydrogen energy in road transport by 2025, which would help to accelerate the adaptation of new energy vehicles and reduce roadside emissions. However, we are disappointed that the timeline for announcing a roadmap for the promotion of electric public transport and commercial vehicles has not been brought forward. The introduction of about 700 electric buses and 3000 electric taxis by end-2027 is hardly ambitious, as they only account for 12% and 16% of the local bus fleet and taxi fleet respectively. In contrast, Shenzhen has electrified all the buses and taxis in the city by 2019.
In July, CAN collaborated with franchised bus operators and power companies to launch the “Recommendations of the Zero Emissions Mobility Consortium”, stressing the need for the government to address challenges in terms of finances, infrastructure, regulations and technology when promoting zero-emission franchised buses. CAN urges the government to consider the Consortium’s recommendations when developing the roadmap.
2. Set up a supersite for GBA air quality laboratory and meteorology monitoring: With the regional air pollution data produced by the new site, the government should set concentration-based regional emission reduction targets and establish an agency to ensure those targets could be met.
3. Mobility with convenience: The Policy Address has not put forward new measures to alleviate traffic congestion. Constructing new major roads without controlling the growing number of private cars would not solve the problem, not to mention the absence of Electronic Road Pricing after over 30 years of discussion. As such, vehicles continue to fill up the roads and roadside air quality remains poor. In addition, walkability is key to the wellbeing of the citizens. The Consultancy Study on Enhancing Walkability in Hong Kong, which commenced in 2017, has been finished but until now there are no concrete measures to improve pedestrian environments.