Yoon vows to revise greenbelt regulations to boost industries

SEOUL, President Yoon Suk Yeol vowed Wednesday to make sweeping changes to regulations governing the use of "greenbelt" zones, or land protected from development to preserve the environment, to secure more plots to build cutting-edge industries. Yoon made the pledge during a government-public debate on livelihood issues, the 13th of its kind, which was held in Ulsan, a city known for its shipbuilding and auto industries and located 299 kilometers southeast of Seoul. "We will carry out a full-scale revision of the standardized clearance criteria, which have been a critical obstacle to undoing a greenbelt zone, for the first time in 20 years," he said during the session held at a convention center. "In the case of Ulsan and other regions, even greenbelt areas under a high level of preservation will be changed to make them easier to use if there is an economic need and a need by the people." Yoon said the plan was a fulfillment of a campaign promise he made to the people of Ulsan, and a step toward achieving his goal of balanced development across regions. He also vowed to deregulate the use of farmland, including by easing procedures to run smart farms and vertical farms, and allowing leftover farmland to be used to build schools, hospitals and libraries for the local community. He said 336 land use regulations are imposed by 12 ministries and local governments, and a full-scale survey will be carried out to abolish those that are outdated. The plans are led by the Office for Government Policy Coordination, the land ministry and the agriculture ministry, which jointly presented them during Wednesday's debate. The government plans to drastically relax the greenbelt regulations in noncapital areas but determine each local government's needs before deciding on the exact scale and scope. Source: Yonhap News Agency