Gov’t vows to lift green-belt restrictions

Feb 22, 2024, 09:08 am

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AsiaToday reporter Jeon Won-joon

The government will drastically lift regulations on “greenbelt” zones, or land protected from development to preserve the environment, in non-metropolitan areas where regional strategic projects are designated as early as May. The first- and second-level zones, which are prohibited from development due to environmental reasons, will be also included in the list for land deregulation. The move is aimed at allowing provincial areas to build cutting-edge industries to pursue economic development.

The government announced the measures during the 13th session of the policy debate presided over by President Yoon Suk-yeol held in Ulsan, a city known for its shipbuilding and auto industries, on Wednesday. It will exclude the greater Seoul region from its list of deregulations considering that the capital and the surrounding area are heavily concentrated. The government will loosen green-belt regulations in areas that are in desperate need of development. Lifting green-belt regulations on a large scale in the non-metropolitan areas marks the first time in 20 years since 2003.

The government also pledged to give local autonomous governments greater power to scrap the green-belt designation of conservation areas and skirt regulations on the condition that these areas are to be transformed into new strategic industrial zones. This means that if regional strategic projects promoted by local governments are approved at the Cabinet meeting, the green-belt restriction can be lifted virtually indefinitely. Ulsan’s eco-friendly vehicles and South Gyeongsang Province’s smart machinery and aviation are mentioned as candidates for regional strategic projects. 

If local governments pursue national and regional strategic projects, deregulation of the first- and second-level green-belt zones will be allowed. Currently, the green-belt cannot be lifted in such zones.

The measure can be implemented immediately without amendment of the law by changing the order of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. The government said it will revise related guidelines within May and apply them immediately. 

The government has also decided to ban the creation of new land-use regulations restricting the exercise of property rights by non-metropolitan residents. It has also decided to ease regulations on building-to-land ration and expansion of areas under planned management and conservation in agricultural and forestry areas.

#green-belt #restrictions #Ulsan 
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