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"Green" Tax

87.      In the course of the Budget consultations, quite a number of people suggested to me that we should impose a "green" tax on some polluting industries or products to promote environmental protection and raise revenue. I agree that we should, through education, enhance public awareness of environmental protection. But I believe that the adoption of fiscal measures may also effectively change people's polluting behaviour, thereby achieving our objective of improving the environment.

88.      As a matter of fact, for environmental reasons, the Government imposes differential rates on some fuels, with a view to encouraging vehicle owners to switch to environmentally cleaner fuels so as to improve air quality. For example, in order to encourage diesel taxis and light buses to switch from diesel to LPG, we did not levy a duty on the latter. Recently, the Environment, Transport and Works Bureau (ETWB) has proposed to levy a charge for construction waste disposal. The purpose of this is to charge fees on the basis of the "Polluter Pays" principle to encourage the reduction of construction waste and waste sorting. The ETWB is actively exploring ways to reduce the number of used tyres dumped in landfills and to encourage tyre recycling. The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has engaged the industry in examining various options. One of the options is to levy a tyre tax. EPD will put forward specific proposals within this year for formal consultation.

89.      I have also asked the Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works to review those tax and fee concessions which run counter to the "Polluter Pays" principle, and consider if they should be adjusted.

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2003 | Important notices
Last revision date : 10 March, 2004