The green group Clean Air Network says it is disappointed that Financial Secretary Paul Chan offered nothing in his budget to encourage the phasing out of heavily polluting commercial vehicles.
Chan did propose raising taxes and license fees, but only for private vehicles.
Clean Air Network’s CEO, Patrick Fung, said on Thursday that while the new initiatives may help Hong Kong achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 – a goal pledged by Chief Executive Carrie Lam last year – they won’t help much when it comes to improving air quality.
“The majority of roadside air pollution is accounted for by commercial vehicles. They are the buses, the trucks, minibuses and taxis,” Fung explained.
“However there are no new measures to regulate these commercial vehicles. There are deep-lying issues for transitioning commercial vehicles to new energy mode,” he said.
“These issues include infrastructure, funding and investment, operation and business model, etc. I think the industry and the government need to talk about what are the gaps and how best they can be filled in,” Fung added.
He said the UK and Singapore have both recently set a target to ban all types of internal combustion vehicles, which demonstrates that the objective is achievable.
Fung also called on the government to put in more resources to monitor roadside pollution to help devise more targeted policies.