Progress Report on Motion on Government-led Promotion of a Territory-wide Energy Conservation Campaign(2012.05.08)

Progress report on actions taken in respect of the motion on

“Government-led promotion of a territory-wide energy conservation campaign” moved by Hon CHAN Kin-por as amended by Hon CHAN Hak-kan at the Legislative Council meeting of 15 February 2012

At the Legislative Council (LegCo) Meeting of 15 February 2012, the motion on “Government-led promotion of a territory-wide energy conservation campaign” was passed. The follow-up actions taken in respect of the recommendations put forward by Members in the motion are summarized below :

Content of the MotionFeedback and Follow-up Actions
1. To immediately formulate afresh territory-wide energy conservation policies and objectives, take the lead in organizing a territory-wide energy conservation campaign●     The Government has been attaching much importance to promoting energy efficiency in the community. Apart from implementing various policy initiatives, we have also been conducting various publicity and public education activities to enhance public awareness of the need to conserve energy.

●     The Council for Sustainable Development has recently submitted a report to the Government on how to further promote energy efficiency.   We are studying the various recommendations with a view to further stepping up our efforts to promote territory-wide energy saving.
2. To further expand the types of products covered by the Mandatory Energy Efficiency Labelling Scheme●     The Government has fully implemented two phases of the mandatory Energy Efficiency Labelling Scheme (MEELS). The scheme covers five types of common household appliances, which accounts for 67% of electricity use in residential units.
●     We will continue to review the coverage of MEELs with a view to including more appliances under the scheme. In so doing, we will take into account various factors, including the electrical appliance’s energy saving potential, its sales volume, overseas experience, international testing standard and views of the relevant trade.
3. To study the introduction of incentive schemes to encourage people to purchase energy-saving products or reduce electricity consumption●     While we have implemented the MEELS to encourage consumers to go for energy-saving electrical appliances, we do not consider it appropriate to provide direct cash subsidies out of Government funds for purchase of such consumer products. Reducing electricity consumption will result in saving in electricity bills, which is in itself a financial incentive.
4. To actively develop means of green transportation which include electric vehicles●     The Government has been promoting green transport. In particular, we have been taking a multi-proned strategy to promote the wider adoption of Electric Vehicles (EVs). To encourage the procurement of EVs, we have already extended the waiver of First Registration Tax for EVs for a period of five years till end March 2014. We have also accelerated the tax deduction for capital expenditure on EVs such that enterprises can enjoy a 100% profits tax deduction in the first year of procurement. In addition, we have been liaising closely with the EV dealers to encourage them to introduce their EVs into the Hong Kong market.
●     In terms of infrastructural development, there are more than 370 standard EV chargers for public use in Hong Kong, covering all 18 districts, and the number will be increasing.   Apart from encouraging private car park operators to install more EV charging facilities, the Government will also install some 500 standard chargers at various Government car parks.   We expect that there would be some 1 000 standard EV chargers for public use by mid 2012.

●     The Government set up the Pilot Green Transport Fund in March 2011 to promote the adoption of green transport among transport operators.   As at March 2012, we have received 51 applications, of which 24 were approved for trial of 16 electric coaches, 10 electric goods vehicles and 24 hybrid goods vehicles. Total approved subsidy stands at about $61 million. The trials are expected to start in this year or next year.

●     To achieve our ultimate policy objective to have zero emission buses running across the territory, the Government proposed to fund the full cost of procuring six hybrid buses for trial by the franchised bus companies along busy corridors. The Finance Committee has approved $33 million for the trial of hybrid buses.   We are working with the franchised bus companies to start the trial around the end of 2013. The Government has also earmarked $180 million for franchised bus companies to purchase 36 electric buses for trial runs on different routes. We are working with the franchised bus companies on the trial arrangement.
5. To study the positioning of bicycles as a means of transport, and formulating relevant policies as well as expanding cycle track networks for reducing fossil fuel consumption●     It is Government policy to use the public transport system as the main transport mode and encourage the public to make use of the highly efficient mass transit transport systems and other public transport services. Any measure to encourage cycling as a means for commuting must take into account the fact that Hong Kong is a small city with a dense population and concentrated development, and cycling safety should be the most important consideration. While our road traffic is heavy and the roads and footpaths are highly congested, it is difficult to provide spaces to develop tracks designated for cycling. Allowing a large number of bicycles to use busy roads together with other vehicles in urban areas without providing designated cycle tracks will increase the risk of accidents.
●     In view of the above safety consideration, the Government does not encourage the public to use bicycle as a transport mode in urban areas. Compared with urban areas, new towns in the New Territories or new development areas, where density is relatively low, have better conditions for using bicycle for short-distance travel. If situation permits, we will provide cycle tracks and ancillary facilities in new towns and new development areas to enable the public to cycle safely for recreational purposes and short distance travel.

●     The Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) is currently studying the development of a cycle track network in the New Territories by phased interconnection of the cycle track networks in various new towns between Ma On Shan and Tsuen Wan. It is expected that an 82-kilometre cycle track network will be provided upon completion of the network expansion.   In new development areas like Kai Tak, CEDD is actively exploring the extension of the cycling track network within the new Kai Tak Development area to cover major open spaces and tourism spots. There is also a plan to build a cycle track at the new Central harbourfront. 

●     Furthermore, TD has commissioned a consultant to carry out a study to examine measures to improve the existing cycle tracks and bicycle parking facilities in the new towns in the New Territories. The consultant has reviewed the adequacy of the existing cycle tracks and parking facilities in the new towns and proposed a number of improvement measures.   A pilot scheme will be implemented in Tai Po to test the effectiveness of the proposed measures before application across the new towns. The improvement works under the pilot scheme will be implemented by the Highways Department (HyD) in stages starting from mid 2012, and are expected to be completed by end 2013. TD is now working closely with HyD to establish the priority of implementing the improvement measures and sort out related works details.

Environment Bureau

May 2012

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