190. We are committed to protecting the environment, making Hong Kong a green and more pleasant place to live. The current-term Government has allocated over $30 billion for building environment-friendly facilities, funding green projects, improving air quality, combating climate change, and improving waste management. To improve roadside air quality and promote green transport, we provide grants and tax concessions to encourage early replacement of old diesel commercial vehicles with new ones, and purchase of more environment-friendly vehicles. In addition, we have allocated $300 million for setting up a Pilot Green Transport Fund to facilitate trial use of green and innovative transport technologies in the transport industry. Trials approved include the testing of electric vehicles for various uses, such as electric non-franchised buses for resident shuttle services and employee and on-campus transportation, and electric goods vehicles for courier services and goods transportation. These trial runs will commence within this year. The Government has also taken an important step to start the use of zero-emission buses, and we shall seek this Council’s approval for a provision of $180 million to subsidise trials of hybrid buses and fully electric buses by the franchised bus companies. The ultimate policy objective is the full-scale use of zero-emission buses across the territory.
191. On the promotion of electric vehicles, currently there are over 240 electric vehicles on local roads, more than double that of last year. We are installing charging facilities for electric vehicles in government car parks as planned. Along with the related facilities provided by the business and non-government sectors, it is estimated that there will be about 1 000 charging points in Hong Kong by mid-2012.
192. To combat climate change, save energy and reduce emissions, we have implemented new measures and introduced new legislation. The Mandatory Energy Efficiency Labelling Scheme, launched in 2009, now covers products whose electricity consumption accounts for 70 per cent of that in the residential sector. The current-term Government has injected a total of $1.5 billion into the Environment and Conservation Fund. It subsidises projects which promote energy saving, waste reduction and recycling, greening, conservation and scientific research on environmental protection. These projects aim at encouraging people’s participation in the promotion of a greener lifestyle at different levels. Between 2008 and the end of 2011, the Fund approved more than 2 000 projects involving subsidies of over $1 billion.
193. On improving waste management, the overall recovery rate of municipal solid waste in Hong Kong rose from 45 per cent in 2006 to 52 per cent in 2010. Under the legal framework provided by the Product Eco-responsibility Ordinance enacted by the Legislative Council in 2008, we have been progressively implementing a mandatory Producer Responsibility Scheme. With the Environmental Levy Scheme on Plastic Shopping Bags put in place since 2009, the number of such bags distributed by 3 000 registered retail outlets covered by the Scheme has dropped by as much as 90 per cent. Preparatory work is underway for the extension of the Environmental Levy Scheme on Plastic Shopping Bags and the introduction of a Producer Responsibility Scheme for waste electrical and electronic equipment. We are also consulting the public on the proposal for charging municipal solid waste.