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Budget Speech

Sustainable Development

115.    A liveable environment is vital to improving people's livelihood, pooling talent and sustaining economic development.  Improving the environment is high on our agenda.

116.    Government will phase out 82 000 Euro III or earlier diesel commercial vehicles by the end of 2019, involving an ex-gratia payment of $11.4 billion.  So far, 22 000 of these vehicles have been phased out, and we shall continue to assist the transport industry in resolving relevant issues.  The $80 million programme to support replacement of catalytic converters and oxygen sensors of liquefied petroleum gas taxis and light buses was also completed last year.  A total of 18 000 taxis and light buses took part in the programme, accounting for 80 per cent of the eligible vehicles.

117.    The port facilities and light dues charged on ocean-going vessels (OGVs) are now reduced by half if these vessels use low sulphur fuel while at berth in Hong Kong.  I propose extending this incentive scheme until the end of March 2018, which will involve revenue foregone of $240 million.  We shall introduce legislation this year to require all OGVs at berth in Hong Kong to use low sulphur diesel.

118.    Since its launch in 2008, the Cleaner Production Partnership Programme has funded a total of 2 400 cleaner production projects and promotion activities, helping Hong Kong-owned factories in both Hong Kong and Guangdong reduce emissions, conserve energy, etc.  We shall allocate an additional $150 million to extend the programme for five years.

119.    To promote the use of electric vehicles, I announced last year that the First Registration Tax exemption for electric vehicles would be extended up to the end of March 2017.  We installed 100 faster chargers for electric vehicles at 16 government car parks last year, which can shorten the charging time.  The total number of chargers in the territory has increased to 1 100.

120.    The Harbour Area Treatment Scheme collects sewage from both sides of Victoria Harbour for treatment at Stonecutters Island to improve the water quality of Victoria Harbour proper.  Stage 2A of the scheme will come into operation this year.  Stage 1 and Stage 2A of the scheme together cost $25.8 billion.  We plan to commission a new consultancy study on enhancing the leisure and recreational value of the coastal areas of Victoria Harbour in the long run.

121.    We shall start working on the design of a desalination plant at Tseung Kwan O and the associated infrastructure in phases this year.  It is expected that the desalination plant will commence operation in 2020 and the annual output will account for five to ten per cent of Hong Kong's fresh water consumption.  We shall apply the relevant state-of-the-art technology, including efficient energy recovery system, for greater energy efficiency, increased output and lower cost.

122.    To minimise water loss, we shall progressively establish Water Intelligent Network by installing sensors in the water supply networks to monitor their conditions.  We shall also examine other techniques, such as data mining, to predict water main bursts for early identification and handling of defective water mains.



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