FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Civic Exchange’s response to the Ombudsman’s Report on “Government’s Implementation of Strengthened Control of Exhaust Emissions from Petrol and LPG Vehicles”
HONG KONG: Thursday, 28 January 2016 — The Office of the Ombudsman today published a direct investigation report on “Government’s Implementation of Strengthened Control of Exhaust Emissions from Petrol and LPG Vehicles”. Civic Exchange in principle agrees with the Ombudsman’s observations and recommendations, including the essentiality of unifying Environmental Protection Department’s (EPD) and Transport Department’s (TD) emission test standards, better coordination between EPD and TD, and further promotion of the new emission control measure (the New Measure). In particular, Civic Exchange welcomes the Ombudsman’s emphasis on enhancing training and support for the maintenance trade, which we want to elaborate below.
In Civic Exchange’s written submission to the Ombudsman in regard to this direct investigation, [i] we suggested that industry training on emission-related repairs is the missing piece of the New Measure. We are delighted that the Ombudsman looked into our suggestions and pointed out in the Report the existing failure in providing relevant training for vehicle maintenance trade. Civic Exchange would like to reiterate that, most of the existing trainings received by in-service personnel are not emission-related at all. In other words, mechanics do not possess the capability of repairing emission control systems in vehicles in general. We foresee that the trade will face similar technical challenge once again whenever new emission-related initiatives are being rolled out by the Government in the future. Therefore, while Civic Exchange supports the Ombudsman’s recommendation to enhance training and support for the maintenance trade, we believe that these trainings should not be ad-hoc or piecemeal (e.g. in response to the New Measure), but long-term and comprehensive in nature. We argue that it is necessary for the Government to strengthen the current curriculum on vehicle maintenance and automotive engineering, and to review and update the courses and trainings provided to the trade from time to time, so as to satisfy the market needs and the latest emission requirements.
With respect to the training and development of vehicle mechanics in Hong Kong, Civic Exchange will soon publish a report, which includes our recommendations in details to ensure the quantity and quality of mechanics available in Hong Kong.[ii]
[i] Civic Exchange, Government’s implementation of strengthened control of exhaust emissions from petrol and LPG vehicles – Written Comment to the Office of the Ombudsman from Civic Exchange, 15 May 2015, http://www.civic-exchange.org/en/publications/166723606 (accessed 28 January 2016).
[ii] Seymour-Hart, I. and Lam, S., (2016) Training and Development of Inspection and Maintenance Personnel in Hong Kong for Road Vehicles, Civic Exchange. (forthcoming)