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Judge suspends imports ban on second-hand buses and lorries

Wednesday, July 6th, 2022 03:27 | By
Activist Okiya Omtatah. Photo/File
Activist Okiya Omtatah. Photo/File

The Environment and Land Court testerday suspended a ban imposed by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) on importation of second-hand buses and lorries. Justice Oscar Angote issued temporary orders, pending the hearing of a suit filed by rights activist Okiya Omtatah. 

“An order is hereby issued to suspend the public notice on implementation of KS 1515:2019,” reads the order.

In its website and the media, Kebs had said it would not allow importation of buses and trucks beginning July 1, this year.“All used passenger minibuses, large buses, single articulated and bi-articulated business and double-decker buses shall not be allowed for importation,” it stated.

Omtatah sued Kebs and the Industry, Trade and Co-operatives Cabinet Secretary over the notice.

He argues that Clause 6.1 of KS 1515:2019 allows new vehicles to conform to the lower Euro 4 and imposes unreasonable age limits on imported used vehicles; and it is therefore discriminatory and invalid.

Kebs had claimed, in the notice, that the move is aimed at increasing safety on the roads.

Omtatah, however, said that since 1992, concerned that air pollutant emissions from motorised transport were a significant contribution to the air quality in Europe, new European Union regulations have been imposed on new cars.

“It should be noted that all vehicles covered under 4.7.1 to 4.7.4 were manufactured after January 1, 2011 when the Euro 5 emissions standard came into force. Therefore, they comply with the Euro 5 emissions standard,” he argued.

According to Omtatah, it makes no sense that Clause 6.1 exempts new vehicles based on the lower Euro IV/4 (Euro 4) emissions standard, but prohibits importation of used vehicles, manufactured within eight years or earlier, which comply with the higher Euro 5 emissions standard implemented by the year 2011.

“The respondents endanger the environment by allowing local assembly/importation of new vehicles which conform to the inferior Euro 4 emissions standard while prohibiting importation of used vehicles that conform to the superior Euro 5 emissions standard. Article 42(1) and 69(1)(g) of the Constitution are hence threatened,” he claims.

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