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Cross-delta bridge to have separate Customs points
Latest Updated by 2006-08-03 08:54:00
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Hong Kong and Guangdong reached significant agreements on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and a host of other cooperative projects at the Ninth Plenary of the Hong Kong-Guangdong Cooperation Joint Conference in Guangzhou yesterday.

The two sides agreed that with the 11th National Five-year Plan coming into effect this year, they would intensify cooperation on several fronts to tie in with the future development of the South China province and seize the opportunities thus created.

It was agreed that the bridge would have separate points for boundary crossing facilities, a decision Chief Executive Donald Tsang called "a major breakthrough" at a post-conference press conference.

"It is to protect the security of the bridge that would extend over a very strategic position on the Pearl River... we believe that any goods vehicle using the bridge must go through Customs before entry," Tsang said.

The China Highway Planning and Design Institute will be commissioned to study options for the boundary facilities.

After co-chairing the conference with Guangdong Governor Huang Huahua, Tsang said the study on financing the bridge would continue. Construction of the bridge will start immediately after plans are confirmed and the central government gives the go ahead. 
Corridors to Shenzhen

Tsang said that both sides were working on commissioning the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Corridor by next July. They will strive to complete the evaluation of and planning study on the Eastern Corridor as soon as possible.

Both sides reiterated their goal to achieve the agreed emission reduction targets by 2010 to improve air quality in the region.

The Special Panel on Pearl River Delta Air Quality Management Monitoring, under the joint conference, has completed an implementation framework for the Emission Trading Pilot Scheme for Thermal Power Plants. The implementation framework will be presented to participating power plants this year to enable them to identify trading partners and draw up emissions trading agreements.

The first half-yearly report on the monitoring results of the PRD Regional Air Quality Monitoring Network will be announced by both sides in October. They will start a mid-term review of the PRD Regional Air Quality Management Plan by end of the year too.

The review will assess the effectiveness of various emission reduction measures and emission trends in the region, formulate strategies and strengthen control measures to achieve emission targets by 2010.

Improving air quality

In addition to the joint efforts, the SAR and the provincial governments will also implement their own measures.

Hong Kong will:

introduce in phases this year Euro IV vehicle emission standards for newly registered vehicles;

require power companies to reduce emissions and increase the use of natural gas; and

impose caps on total emissions of power companies and complete the drafting of a new regulation for controlling volatile organic compound emissions.

Guangdong will:

not plan to construct new coal or oil-fired power plants in the delta region;

introduce liquefied natural gas for power generation;

retrofit flue gas desulphurization systems to power plants and strive to complete major works for large-scale generation units by 2008;

speed up the introduction of National III vehicle emission standards in Guangzhou and Shenzhen;

ban leaded petrol; and

implement a pilot project in Shenzhen to install vapour recovery systems at oil depots and petrol stations to further control emissions of volatile organic compounds.

Commenting on the two Hong Kong power companies' seeming reluctance to comply with the government's emission goal, Tsang said that since their scheme of control agreements would come up for renewal in 2008, he was confident that they would comply with the upper emission limits by 2010.

Zhuhai airport

In the aviation sector, the two sides agreed to proceed soon with the handover of the management of Zhuhai airport to the Hong Kong Airport Authority under the cooperation project between the two airports.

To ease traffic at the inland control point at Wangcun, Dongguan will start operating the Liaobu inland control point by the year-end. The new facility will adopt the express clearance system to allow speedier and more effective inspection.

The governments will issue an Autotoll-Unitoll Card with which, by the end of August, Hong Kong vehicles could pass through Guangdong tollways without having to pay in cash.

They can enjoy electronic non-stop payment, too, if they are equipped with electronic tags.

The two sides will open the new control point between the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation's Lok Ma Chau Spur Line and Futian in the first half of next year and pursue new cross-boundary transport services, such as helicopters and direct cargo freight mechanism.

Tsang said that he and Huang will lead their respective delegations to Paris on November 10 to jointly promote the Greater PRD and Pan-PRD regions.

Editor: Yan

By: Albert Au Yeung Source: China Daily Website
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