China is attempting to tackle its growing air pollution problem, by announcing a crack-down on vehicles that do not meet emissions standards.
The Chinese Government announced this week that around six million vehicles will be “eliminated” from the country’s road network before the end of this year.
Of the vehicles to be scrapped, 20 percent will come from the municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin along with the Hebei Province; all located in China’s north.
A further five million vehicles will be scrapped in 2015 with Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei to be hit again, while the Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta regions will also be targeted.
China’s State Council has established an ‘action plan’, which used data from environmental authorities claiming that 31.1 percent of the air pollution in Beijing is caused by exhaust fumes.
According to the action plan, "strengthening control on vehicle emissions will be a major agenda item for the country's energy savings, emissions reductions, and low-carbon development during the next two years”.
The plan also calls for higher quality fuels to be sold in China, as a way to further reduce air pollution.
The Council’s statement did not indicate what the satisfactory level for exhaust emissions would be set at or whether vehicles of a particular age would be considered, only identifying that ‘yellow label’ cars would be targeted.
Chinese motorists were previously offered between AU$430-2470 to voluntarily surrender high-polluting vehicles, but whether this scheme will continue or not is unclear.
Beijing’s vehicle registration limit will be set at 5.6 million for 2014 with plans to raise the limit to six million by 2017. New registration plates were cut to a maximum of 150,000 last year; 37 percent fewer than in 2012.
Despite the restrictions, China’s new car market is going from strength-to-strength with sales up six percent in January, 18 percent in February and 6.6 percent in March.
The market is expected to grow by between 8-10 percent this year, down from last year’s 13.9 percent growth.
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