Guangdong's power stations have made faster than expected progress in meeting their emissions targets, allowing the Hong Kong government to consider targets beyond 2010, the environment minister said yesterday. However, Sarah Liao Sau-tung said this progress did not mean the problem of regional air pollution would be resolved quickly, and that it would continue to plague the Pearl River Delta. She said a solution was unlikely within one or two years. Speaking on a Commercial Radio programme, Dr Liao said she had learned on a recent visit to Guangzhou that Guangdong had cleaned up its power plants faster than Hong Kong had due to a central government policy that held big power suppliers accountable for meeting their targets. She said this progress would be reflected in a forthcoming study into emissions targets beyond 2010. 'As to what we should do after 2010, we have to take this progress into account and we might have to adjust the targets accordingly,' she said, without giving details on the scope of the study or whether the mainland authority was involved. In 2002, Guangdong and Hong Kong agreed that by 2010 they would cut emissions of four key air pollutants from 1997 levels by 20 per cent to 55 per cent. The targets were based on findings from a three-year study on air quality in the Pearl River Delta region. But Dr Liao Said regional smog would remain a problem and there would not be dramatic results within one or two years.