Regarding the 2022-23 Budget delivered by the Financial Secretary today, Clean Air Network (CAN) is disappointed by the lack of measures to promote zero-emission transport.
In the section of “Building a Green City”, it is stated that the government will promote new energy transport to improve air quality. However, in the budget there are only two points related to this goal: injecting an additional $1.5 billion to the EV‑charging at Home Subsidy Scheme, and converting some existing petrol or liquefied petroleum gas filling stations into quick charging stations.
Only promoting electric private vehicles is not enough in improving air quality and reducing carbon emission. As CAN has pointed out in our previous materials, roadside air pollution in Hong Kong in 2021 largely exceeded WHO guidelines. Commercial vehicles account for over 90% of roadside air pollutant emissions. To protect public health and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, it is necessary to implement zero emission commercial vehicles as soon as possible. Yet the government suggests that relevant plans will only be made in 2025, and the Financial Secretary has not allocated resources to that either.
Currently, the government mainly encourages commercial vehicles to conduct EV trials through the New Energy Transport Fund, but the impact has been insignificant. Since the fund was set up in 2011, only 177 applications for EV trials had been approved. In addition, without sufficient infrastructure and technological support, which requires government resources, the trials are doomed to fail.
The success of zero-emission transport demands infrastructure, financial, and technological support, as well as cross-bureau coordination. The government has to shoulder the responsibility and provide the needed resources. As the Secretary vows to “Integrate into the National Development”, it should be noted that the 14th Five-Year Plan promotes the development of new energy vehicles – the Hong Kong government therefore should follow suit and implement a swift transition to zero-emission transport.