Black smoke rules standardised

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 May, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 May, 2000, 12:00am

An agreement on black smoke emission levels has been reached between two departments to correct a blunder that recently came to light.

Under the revised standard, a level of 50 'smoke units' or below is deemed acceptable by the Environmental Protection (EPD) and Transport departments, Deputy Secretary for Environment and Food Thomas Chow Tat-ming told a Legco panel meeting.

The two authorities were revealed last week to have adopted conflicting standards, with the EPD setting a limit of 50 units and the Transport Department 60 units. The higher the reading, the more serious the black smoke problem.

The disparity meant vehicles passing the Transport test could be considered too smoky by the EPD. Legislators accused the Government of confusing drivers.

Director of Environmental Protection Rob Law said: 'We believe it makes sense to have a more stringent test for maintenance purposes.' Miriam Lau Kin-yee of the Liberal Party raised concerns that so-called pre-Euro vehicles - those manufactured in Europe before 1995 and having passed a lower emission standard - would not pass the test and drivers' licences could be suspended.

But Mr Law said most vehicles had passed the EPD test, with only a few drivers' licences affected.