Senator Fahy urged Government to quit delaying the introduction of a new law cracking down on vehicles producing toxic exhaust emissions, after spending millions of dollars setting up its controversial facility at TCD.

Michael Fahy, Shadow Minister for Environment, Planning & HousingBermuda Emissions Control began testing for emissions in April 2009, with then Transport Minister Ewart Brown pledging it would help the environment by cutting greenhouse gases.

However, Government told yesterday's Royal Gazette legislation forcing owners to repair their vehicles when they fail an emission test is still a work in progress.

In July 2011, a PAC report claimed there was specific intent at the highest level of the Ministry of Tourism and Transport to give the emission project contract to BEC, a company partly owned by Dr Brown's close friend Dennis Correia, regardless of Financial Instructions rules.

In October 2010, Mrs Matthews delivered a scathing report condemning the lack of oversight as the project's cost to taxpayers jumped from $5.3 million to $15.2 million.

Sen Fahy said in a statement yesterday: "The Government's handing over of vehicle emissions testing to a private company has been criticised by the Auditor General and the Public Accounts Committee for falling a long way short of the good governance that we all expect.

"Rules were broken. Instructions were ignored. Yet there was no accountability.

"Now it emerges that legislation that goes to the heart of the reason the Government started all this in the first place — helping the environment by controlling vehicle emissions — has still not been put into effect, three years after the fact. The civil servants are working on it, we're told, but it does make a bit of a nonsense of the whole project.

"The bottom line is that no matter how badly the project was handled, it is still very important for Bermuda's environment and indeed public health for there to be proper emission controls. So let's get on with it! Enough of the delay."

Meanwhile yesterday, environmentalist Stuart Hayward said he believes TCD is no longer cracking down on noisy motorcycles.

Mr Hayward says he's observed vehicles getting louder on Bermuda's roads while anecdotal evidence suggests drivers are finding it easier getting their bikes through the Transport Control Department.

Asked whether vehicles are currently examined for noise as part of their TCD test, and for statistics on how many have failed on that ground, the Ministry of Transport replied: "All motorcycles and auxiliary cycles are tested for noise pollution — 93 decibels is the testing level."

The Ministry did not provide figures saying how many vehicles had failed the noise test.

Mr Hayward, chairman of Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce, argues testing is meaningless unless vehicles are examined at the same speed they travel on the roads.

He told The Royal Gazette: "For a vehicle to be noise-tested, it has to be run at a standardised speed. Thus the first hurdle for meaningful testing is the selection of the speed at which bikes are to be tested.

"If they are tested at the legal speed limit of 35kph, then the test is meaningless because few if any vehicles stay within that limit while being used on our roads.

"If a bike is tested at the de facto road speed of 50kph then the legality of the testing speed could be challenged — it's a Pandora's box of unintended consequences.

"In order for an accurate test to occur, a bike has to be run to the standard testing speed, that is run while mounted on rollers that measure the bike's speed, while the noise level is measured.

"From my experience and from my observations, bikes being tested these days are not run on the rollers so no speed can be gauged and therefore no standard can be applied to any noise testing."

Mr Hayward said the failure to uphold Bermuda's sound limit promotes "scofflaws".

Explaining why he believes noisy motorcycles are a problem, he said: "Sound levels can damage hearing which affects everyone. Children do better when studying if not interrupted by noise.

"Most schools in Bermuda are within hearing distance of roads. Loud motorcycles going by can intrude on their concentration and hearing ability.

"Also, the one thing Bermuda has had to offer tourists is a change from their normal home environment. A quiet place to vacate without loud motorcycle noise is a benefit that many tourists appreciate.

"Having motorcycles go by on Front Street so loudly that cruise ship visitors have to put their hands over their ears subtracts from rather than adds to Bermuda's attraction as a tourist destination."

Last night the Ministry of Transport advised that testing is done at 35km/h (legal speed limit) with the maximum sound at this speed being 93db.

The Ministry stressed that it would be a pointless exercise in testing at any speed higher (even though residents drive above the speed limit) as one could be challenged if the cycle was too loud ie the customer could then complain that their cycle failed because during testing the bike was "revved up".

Furthermore, the Ministry advised that all vehicles are being emissions tested.

Although the Regulations have not come into force as yet, vehicle owners whose vehicles are emitting excessive hydrocarbon's or carbon monoxide levels (when compared with internationally recognized standards such as from the US or UK as examples) are advised to have their vehicles serviced.

For the more excessive vehicles (visual smoke coming from exhaust tailpipe), then the legislation in its current form does permit this vehicle to be taken off the road and the defect fixed.

We are fortunate in Bermuda that most residents take extremely good care of their motor vehicles.

Was your vehicle tested for noise or emissions on your last visit to TCD? E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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