Road pricing is not an effective way to curb local emissions, according to one member of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC) submitting views at an “Invitation and Response” roundtable organized in partnership with Hong Kong’s Council for Sustainable Development (CSD) today in Hong Kong (panel pictured left).
The member, who Blue Skies China could not identify, made his statements in response to CSD’s call for opinions on three specific topics: high air pollution day alerts; road pricing; and demand side management.
“Road pricing is more suitable for managing traffic,” said the member, who suggested higher tax on gasoline would have a better effect on local pollution. If cars were charged to use roads in Central, the member suggested, “they would find another route around the back of [Hong Kong] Island – and they would probably pollute more.”
He gave the example of the two cross-harbour tunnels in Hong Kong. Many cars still use the eastern tunnel, which is cheaper, rather than the western tunnel, which is quicker. “If [because of road pricing in Central] there was a cheaper way to go from Causeway Bay to Pok Fu Lam, people would take it,” he said. The result of road pricing, he said, would be cleaner air in Central but unlikely anywhere else.
Road pricing vote by car owners
CSD chairman Dr Edgar Cheng asked for a show of hands from all those who had cars and would support road pricing scheme – 10-15 hands were raised from the room of 40, suggesting relatively high car ownership concentration in this group supposedly concerned with improving Hong Kong’s air.
Meanwhile in Beijing, the Beijing Environmental Protection Agency says it may consider banning up to one million cars for a two-week test of its smog control measures in advance of the 2008 Olympic Games.