NEA to lower vehicle noise levels, tighten motorbike emissions from 2023

NEA said it will tighten the emission standards for motorcycles that were registered before July 1, 2003.
NEA said it will tighten the emission standards for motorcycles that were registered before July 1, 2003.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The screws are being tightened further on internal combustion engine cars, with moves to impose new vehicle noise standards from April 1, 2023.

The National Environment Agency said on Wednesday (April 7) that it will adopt the latest United Nations noise standards for vehicles and aftermarket exhaust systems.

A table it provided showed that motor vehicle noises will have to fall within a band of between 68 decibels (cars) and 77 decibels (motorbikes) - equivalent to the noise level of a normal conversation.

These values are measurably lower than current Japanese and European standards, which Singapore adopts. However, observers have pointed out that older and high-performance vehicles emit noise levels of between 96 and 100 decibels - equivalent to a commercial aircraft taking off.

Electric vehicles are significantly less noisy - so much so that regulators in some countries stipulate that they must make at least 40 decibels while on the move so that pedestrians can hear them.

"The UN standards are generally more stringent than Singapore's current standards," the NEA said. "They also use a test procedure which better reflects actual driving conditions and better accounts for non-exhaust noise."

The agency will adopt these UN standards from April 2023 for cars and motorcycles, and a year later for commercial vehicles.

Meanwhile, the NEA also said it will tighten the emission standards for motorcycles registered before July 1, 2003, following up on a ruling it announced three years ago.

These motorcycles can continue to be used until June 30, 2028, as long as they meet the tightened in-use emission standards.

The agency launched an incentive scheme in 2018 to encourage owners of older motorcycles to deregister their bikes early. Nearly 60 per cent of about 27,000 eligible motorcycles had been deregistered under this offer as at Dec 31 last year.

From April 6, 2023, motorbikes registered before July 1, 2003, will be required to meet the limits of 4.5 per cent carbon monoxide by volume and 7,800ppm hydrocarbons (for two-stroke engines) or 2,000ppm (for four-stroke engines).

The NEA said most motorcycles will be able to meet the tightened emission standards with proper maintenance.

"Owners of older motorcycles who are unsure of their motorcycles' ability to meet the tightened standards are encouraged to tap on the early deregistration incentive of up to $3,500, which remains available until April 5, 2023," it added.