C. Quality Life
Environmental Protection and Conservation
123. I have advocated the concept of “Progressive Development” which attaches importance to environmental protection and heritage conservation while pursuing economic development. This would provide our people with a quality city life.
Improving Air Quality
124. We have done a great deal over the past few years to tackle major sources of local air pollution, ranging from electricity generation and fuel combustion to emissions from vehicles and vessels. To further improve air quality, we will next focus on reducing roadside air pollution.
125. To improve roadside air quality, we must reduce emissions from large buses. We are conducting trials of retrofitting Euro II and Euro III franchised buses with catalytic reduction devices to reduce their nitrogen oxide emissions. Subject to the test results, we will retrofit all these buses with such devices.
126. Last year, I proposed to impose additional requirements in the new franchises for bus companies to switch to zero-emission buses or the most environment-friendly buses when replacing diesel buses due for retirement. To prepare for the change, apart from encouraging the testing of hybrid buses, we will ask all franchised bus companies to test zero-emission electric buses as soon as possible. I propose to earmark $180 million for franchised bus companies to purchase 36 electric buses for trial runs on a number of routes to assess their performance in different conditions. If the test results are satisfactory, the Government will encourage franchised bus companies in a suitable way to use electric buses on a much larger scale, taking into account the affordability of the bus companies and passengers.