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Singapore introduces environmental zone

From 2028, old motorbikes will no longer be allowed to drive through Singapore. As an incentive to reduce the number of old two-wheelers, the government is already paying a bonus to all citizens who deregister their motorbikes. The new environmental zone is also intended to reduce the city's air pollution.

Motorbikes registered before 01 July 2003 will no longer be allowed to travel in Singapore from 2028. As early as 2023, they will also have to comply with the applicable exhaust emission regulations. If they cannot comply with these regulations, they will no longer be allowed to enter the country.

In order to get some of these old motorbikes off the roads now, the government is offering citizens a deregistration bonus of the equivalent of 2,000 euros. This seems to have been well received. Already 60% of the 27,000 vehicles concerned have been deregistered. Unlike the German scrappage scheme, citizens are allowed to keep the two-wheelers, but they may no longer be driven.

The exhaust emission values that motorbikes will have to comply with from 2023 correspond to the exhaust emission values of our Euro standards 0 and 1 and thus to vehicles registered after January 1989: 4.5% CO and 2,000 ppm unburnt hydrocarbons in the exhaust gas. The first steps taken by the environmental zone in Singapore to ban motorcycles are therefore still quite timid. If a motorbike did not comply with these values, it would smoke like a coal grill when lit and smell like a leaking fuel line.

In addition to air quality, Singapore also wants to reduce noise pollution. Newly registered motorbikes will have to comply with our Euro Standard 4 noise regulations from 01 April 2023, which is a maximum of 77 decibels when driving.

Air quality in Singapore is generally better than in neighbouring Asian metropolises. The National Environment Agency has set air quality targets similar to the EU. Nitrogen oxides, for example, should not exceed an annual average of 40 µg/m3. Fine particulates are 12µg/m3 (PM2.5) and 20 µg/m3 (PM10) as an annual average. Daily limits can be higher, at 37.5µg/m3 and 50 µg/m3. In addition, since September 2017 and January 2018, all new petrol and diesel vehicles, respectively, must comply with Euro Standard 6.

Singapore is also one of the most expensive places in the world to buy a car.  In order to keep the already low number of cars in the city state constant, no new cars are allowed to be registered since 2020, only old vehicles are allowed to be replaced. The reason for this is lack of space, but air quality also benefits from this regulation.

So with the small number of vehicles and the future environmental zone for motorbikes, Singapore seems to have found a good way to control air pollution from traffic. Gradually, the rules of the environmental zone could then be tightened to replace old vehicles and more motorbikes, for example. The deregistration premium stands as a positive impetus to the sole ban, so that citizens can benefit from the scheme.