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Green Belt areas to be released for industrial park development

Green Belt areas to be released for industrial park development

Posted February. 22, 2024 08:01,   

Updated February. 22, 2024 08:01


The government is set to push for a plan to allow local governments to release ‘Green Belt’ (development restriction areas) without regulating the total amount of green belts when developing industrial complexes or residential areas. This is meant to address the problem that each local government is required to maintain a certain amount of Green Belt areas, which in turn hampers local government-led development projects. However, critics say the proposal is merely a measure to garner support ahead of the upcoming general elections.

"We will completely revamp the unconditional criteria for lifting restrictions, which have been a decisive obstacle to the lifting of the green belt regulation, for the first time in 20 years," President Yoon Suk Yeol said at the 13th public debate on people’s livelihoods held at the Ulsan Exhibition and Convention Center in Ulsan Wednesday.

When provincial and metropolitan city governments in non-Greater Seoul regions develop industrial complexes or residential areas, they will not be subjected to the 'regulation on the total amount of releasable land' if they are selected for regional strategic industries after review. The regulation on the total amount of land is a restriction that prohibits respective local governments from releasing more than a preset area of the Green Belt. The exemption clause, which was previously applied only to central government-led projects such as national industrial complexes, has been extended to local government projects.

In addition, if necessary, local governments will be able to develop sites with an environmental assessment rating of 1-2, which were banned previously. Instead, the total amount of Green Belt areas must be maintained by designating the same amount of land as the one that is being released from Green Belt areas. Agricultural land regulations will also be eased, allowing cultural welfare facilities and sports facilities to be built on smaller lots of agricultural land amounting to 3 hectares or less in agriculture promotion areas (formerly ‘land designated strictly for farming’).

Critics have pointed out that the government's decision to ease Green Belt regulations 49 days before the general elections is a ‘policy for the elections.’ "The measure can only be seen as an act of election support for the ruling party," said an official from the Democratic Party of Korea.

최동수 기자 firefly@donga.com