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(Co-written) An All-out Effort to Counter High Concentrations of Fine-dust Particles

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<Stronger Policy to Manage Fine Dust at Normal as well as Emergency Levels>

▷ Emergency fine-dust reduction measures such as restricting vehicle use and adjusting operation levels at construction sites and power plants are to be expanded nationwide and will include the private sector.

▷ Reform includes officially scrapping the so-called “Clean Diesel” program, imposing a ceiling/ cap on coal-fired power plant operation, and eliminating diesel-powered vehicles at government agencies.

<The Roadmap toward Autonomous Vehicles through Preemptive Regulatory>

▷The roadmap for new industries and new technologies is created/ devised/ drawn up through (1) future forecasting, (2) integrated research, and (3) interconnected planning. 

▷Thirty regulatory issues have been identified in four major areas in consideration of autonomous vehicle development levels.

Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon presided over the 56th coordination meeting on key pending state affairs (a videoconference between Seoul and Sejong City), held at the government complex in Seoul on the morning of November 8.

On the agenda were “Strengthened Measures to Manage Fine Dust at Normal and Emergency Levels” as well as a “Roadmap toward Autonomous Vehicles through Preemptive Regulatory Reform.”

Participants: the Ministers of Science & ICT; Foreign Affairs; the Interior & Safety; Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs; Trade, Industry & Energy; Health & Welfare, and Employment and Labor; the Chief of the Office for Government Policy Coordination; the Minister of Government Legislation; the Commissioner General of the National Police Agency; the Vice-Ministers of Economy & Finance I; Justice; Culture, Sports & Tourism; Environment; Land, Infrastructure & Transport I; and the Chairman of the Financial Services Commission

◈ A stronger policy to manage fine dust at normal and emergency levels (Ministry of Environment)

At the meeting, the government confirmed that outbreaks of high fine dust concentrations are to be treated as disaster situations, and that preemptive measures are to be taken. In addition, the number of diesel-powered vehicles is to be reduced, port management is to be stepped up, and other additional measures implemented on an everyday basis. 

<A disaster-level response is to be taken when high concentrations of fine dust occur>

The government will treat high concentrations of fine dust particles as a disaster situation and initiate an all-out response. The public sector will take the lead in implementing emergency measures to reduce fine dust levels.

(Stronger emergency reduction measures) Orders are to be issued at the city and provincial administrative levels to enact emergency fine-dust reduction measures. The Special Act on the Reduction and Management of Fine Dust (hereafter, “Special Act”) will go into effect on February 15 of next year, and the private sector will also be obliged to participate in the reduction effort.

<Targeted Areas & Participation Range for Emergency Measures to Lower High Concentrations of Fine Dus>


 Previously (up to April 2018)

 Stronger Measures (now in effect)



· Greater Seoul Area

· 13 cities & provinces (manual)

 - 17 cities & provinces (ordinance)

 Public Sector

· Every other day vehicle rotation―mandatory
· At govt. workplaces & construction sites

· Every other day vehicle rotation, preliminary reduction measures
· At govt. workplaces & construction sites

(Applies to both public and private sectors)

· Rotational vehicle use 

· Fine-dust emitting worksites and construction sites

 *After law is enacted, ordinances need to be     created.

 Private Sector

· Every other day vehicle rotation―voluntary
· 39 private sector workplaces (signed MOUs)

· Voluntary participation in rotational vehicle use 

 * In Seoul, operation restricted on old diesel          vehicles (by ordinance)

· 317 private sector workplaces (signed MOUs)   

· Upper ceiling on coal-fired power plants (42 units)

(Preemptive countermeasures) When chances are high that an alert will be issued for emergency reduction measures the following day, the public sector will enforce preliminary reduction measures, to include street cleaning and enforcement of the vehicle rotation system (starting in the Greater Seoul Area).

(Stronger emergency reduction measures) Efforts will focus on reducing street exposure to fine dust; control of major emission sources as well as prosecution of violators will be reinforced.

* Restrictions will be imposed on emission-level 5 diesel vehicles (starting in the Greater Seoul Area, an 80% limit will be set for coal-fired power plants (35 coal-fired units and 7 heavy oil-fired units), work will be controlled at factories and construction sites; drones will be used to monitor compliance.

(Protection of the most vulnerable) Clean air measures will continue to be established for kindergartens and schools; inside air quality will be measured and analyzed at small childcare centers (430㎡ or smaller), and consulting services will be provided (100 locations per year).

<Everyday reduction measures will also be bolstered>

In addition to efforts to reduce high concentrations of fine dust, additional actions will be taken to lower the volume of materials that are the source of fine-dust every day.  

① The “Clean Diesel” program will be formally scrapped.

Government agencies will take the lead in reducing the number of diesel-powered vehicles in use. In the process of policy implementation, support measures will also be provided to small-sized merchants, manufacturers and other businesses.

(Elimination of diesel-powered public vehicles) New vehicle purchase will be 100% “clean-burning” models by 2020, and all diesel-powered vehicles will be eliminated by 2030 (except when replacement models are not available).

(“Clean Diesel” program cancellation) The standard that recognizes certain diesel-powered vehicles as emitting acceptable levels of particulate matter will be terminated. This means the elimination of incentives* such as reductions or exemptions of parking fees and congestion fees to diesel-powered vehicles previously recognized as “low-level emitters” (950,000 units).

* Expiration dates will be established for the “low-emitting vehicle” tags, and benefits will be terminated for old vehicles with “low emissions” status.

(Expanded support for scrapping vehicles) Small-sized merchants and manufacturers that scrap their old diesel-powered trucks and purchase a one-tone LPG-powered truck will receive a W4 million rebate in addition to the subsidy of up to W1.65 million already provided when retiring a vehicle early.

- A subsidy (W4.4 million to W7.7 million) for scrapping mid-sized and heavy-duty cargo trucks that register high emission volumes* will be put into effect, and operators will be encouraged to move up their timetable for scrapping old diesel-powered vehicles. 

* Annual emission volume (kg/ vehicle): passenger car―2.6, mid-sized cargo truck―7.9 (3x), large-sized cargo truck―155.7 (60x)

② Fine dust emissions from coal-fired power plants will be minimized. 

Adjustments will be made in the coal-fired power plants targeted for shutdown in order to reduce fine dust levels significantly. Environmental costs will be factored in to determine power supply rankings and fuel tax rates. 

(Adjustments in plants targeted for shutdown) The spring (March through June) shutdown of targeted coal-fired power plants has proven successful in improving regional air quality. This action will be adjusted* for greater efficiency, thereby raising effectiveness. 

* (Current)Samcheonpo Units 1 & 2―power plants at least 30 years old; (after adjustment) Samcheonpo Units 5 & 6 (unit emission volume at least three times as large)

(Reflect environmental cost) Besides economic costs, the costs for chemical treatment and other environmental costs will be reflected when determining the electricity supply ranking for power plants, and the fuel tax rate will be adjusted accordingly (from April 2019)*.

* [Comparison of bituminous coal to LNG (won/kg)] from 36:91.4 (1:2.5) to 46:23 (2:1)

(Prevent flying dust) Outdoor coal yards at coal-fired power plants will also be relocated indoors in stages so that the amount of flying coal dust is lowered in areas surrounding the power plants.

③ Area-specific approaches will be pursued at ports, city centers, and other locations.

Ships and fine dust related in ports are the main source of pollution for coastal cities. Customized measures will be strengthened to address this problem at each location. 

(Local cooperation) The central government (Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and Ministry of Environment) and local governments at major ports will conclude an agreement (in November) to proceed with cooperative projects for reducing fine dust at ports, and a significant improvement in port city air quality is expected to result. 

(Fuel control) The regulatory limits on sulfur content of bunker oil (heavy oil used aboard ships) will be tightened (from 3.5% to 0.5% from 2020)*, and eco-friendlier ships (LNG-powered) will be introduced by 2025. Starting with newly built piers, the yard tractors** will be required to switch over from diesel to LNG.

* The vicinities of major ports will be designated emissions-regulated zones, and thereafter the fuel standard will be tightened to a sulfur content of 0.1%. (After enactment of the Special Law on the Improvement of Air Quality at Port Areas, Etc., which was up forward by the National Assembly in August 2018).

** The conveyance equipment used to move shipping containers around inside port areas.

To address the fine dust in urban areas, residential boilers that emit only small amounts of fine dust will be used more extensively, while oversight of small workplaces will be tightened, and support will be provided to help defray expenses.

(Home-use) Low-NOx boilers are now being supplied extensively to heat residences in the Greater Seoul Area, and their use will be expanded countrywide. The government will provide financial assistance (W160,000) for making the switch to a low-NOx boiler model. 

(Support for small businesses) Oversight will be stepped up* for small-scale workplaces, which often lack the means to manage emissions adequately (4-5 employees, annual pollution volume of 10 tons or less), will receive financial support** to help cover the cost of facilities improvement.

* Workplace emission standard to be tightened 25% (Air Environment Preservation Act Enforcement Regulation to be amended in January 1919, put into force in 2020)

** The government will cover 80% of the cost of improving outdated pollution control facilities (a budget of W8 billion for a pilot program in 2019, with expanded implementation in 2020)

④ A government-wide system is being built for dealing with fine dust most aggressively, and it will be reinforced for international cooperation. 

A control tower the Office for Government Policy Coordination is being put into place to further the effectiveness and executory power of the fine dust reduction effort, and participation by the general public will be expanded as well.

(New system being built) A Special Policy Committee on Fine Dust has been established under the Office of the Prime Minister to serve as a control tower that reviews and adjusts fine dust-related policy as well as a window for communication with the general public. At the same time, the National Fine Dust Information Center has been created.

(Public Participation) Cooperation on the effort to curb fine dust is being expanded with a citizens’ action network that involves organizations that support the environment, transportation, consumers, and women’s issues; as well as specialists and public agencies. They will work together on projects to promote the use of public transportation, watch for illegal incineration and other such activities. 

A multifaceted response is also being made against fine dust that is coming into Korea from overseas.

(Korean-Chinese Cooperation) Infrastructure is being built through 2020, to include a Korea-Chinese Environmental Cooperation Center (opened on June 25, 2018), equipped with a fine dust analysis laboratory. Research and cooperative projects* will be conducted without interference in various areas, while efforts will be made to uncover new ways to reduce fine dust levels.       

* Exchanges on air quality, joint investigations into pollution sources, and other efforts to understand the emissions coming in from China as well as the sources of fine dust at home.

-(Reduction projects) Cooperation* is underway with Chinese provincial-level governments, and some of Korea’s very best environmental technologies are being applied in air pollution prevention facilities for all industrial areas inside China. Further improvements will also be made to cooperative projects that have been proven to lower the emissions of air pollutants.

* Korea is working together with the environmental protection agencies inside major local governments in China. Cooperative meetings were held this year in Jiangsu Province (June), Shandong Province (September), and Shanxi Province (October), and MOUs were signed on environmental industries and technical cooperation.

(Multi-party cooperation) The early (moved up from 2020 to October 2018) implementation of the North-East Asian Clean Air Partnership (NEACAP) will also reinforce cooperative efforts among the two Koreas, China, Japan, Mongolia and Russia.

(Inter-Korean cooperation) Inter-Korean relations permitting, the two sides will look for ways to conduct joint surveys and research as well as cooperative project* for maintaining air quality over the Korean Peninsula.

* Establish an air quality monitoring network in North Korea, engage in projects that substantially lower fine dust levels at pollution-generating facilities as well as projects that mitigate damage from intense cold.

⑤ Ongoing efforts will be made to reduce fine dust in the air.

Finally, efforts are underway to further reduce fine dust concentrations. A roadmap has been created to reduce the number of diesel-powered vehicles, and a plan has been made to improve the upper limit imposed upon coal-fired power plants.

The roadmap to reduce diesel-powered vehicles establishes a detailed plan* for reducing the ratio of diesel-powered vehicles in service by (1) retiring old diesel-powered vehicles, (2) curbing the production of new diesel-powered vehicles, and (3) abolishing restrictions on the use of LPG-powered vehicles.

* The government is considering regulation that obligates automakers to sell ecofriendly vehicles, and a plan is being studied to adjust fuel prices in stages.

In addition, discussions are underway regarding a plan for improving ways to verify the effectiveness of the upper limit imposed on coal-fired power plant operation when fine dust concentrations are high.

Roadmap toward Autonomous Vehicles through Preemptive Regulatory Reform (Office for Government Policy Coordination)

The government is trying for the first time a Roadmap for Preemptive Regulatory Reform as an approach for new regulatory improvements covering new industrial areas.

The conventional way has been to receive proposals from industry and then identifying and reforming individual regulations. This approach has been effective for resolving urgent problems, but it lacks the capability to consider ecosystems for the convergent growth of new industries, and considerable time is needed to improve the laws after such problems are discovered. Thus, preemptive action is difficult to take.

The Roadmap for Preemptive Regulatory Reform is being pursued to address these deficiencies, allowing for planners to anticipate the new industries and new technologies that will be developed, to identify the regulatory issues that can be expected, and then to take corrective action in advance.

Three core elements are in play for the construction of the Roadmap for Preemptive Regulatory Reform, namely (1) future forecasting, (2) integrated research, and (3) interconnected planning.

First, “future forecasting” of the new industries that are to be developed later allows for the creation of various scenarios and then identify the resulting regulatory issues.

In the process, the characteristics are considered for the new industries experiencing converged growth. Finally, the interconnected planning among different fields and government agencies will create a system for cooperation.

This roadmap is not simply completed as a one-off; it is a rolling plant that is periodically updated to adapt flexibly to future changes. 

The government has predicted where sudden rapid growth will happen and has incorporated regulatory issues involving diverse areas. The development of autonomous vehicles is one such area that can be anticipated, and these vehicles have been selected as a test project to be pursued first. 

A system of cooperation among the public, industrial and research sectors was established (in September 2017); joint workshops for research institutions were held, and specialists from the related government agencies and professions examined the results and presented a proposal. Opinions from the industrial and academic communities were collected and reflected in the final draft. 

A total of 22 parties took part: from the government (9, including the Office for Government Policy Coordination; Ministry of Land, Infrastructure & Transport; and National Police Agency), from the research community (4: STEPI, KLRI, KATRI, and KATECH), and from the industrial and academic sectors (9, including Hyundai Motor, SKT, Seoul National University, and Hanyang University)

This roadmap walks back the commercialization process for autonomous vehicles, establishes targets for each stage, and has gone through the following three work process steps.

① Take into account the six development levels (0 through 5) that are commonly applied worldwide.

② Combine the three key* variables to draw up eight scenarios that are predictable.

* Driving ownership (from the human to the system), existence of traffic lights (from uninterrupted to controlled), and driving location (from the testing ground to high-speed roadways to everyday roads and streets)

③  Based on these scenarios, a total of thirty regulatory issues were identified in four areas (driving autonomy, vehicle systems, operation, and infrastructure), and improvement approaches are provided for each issue.

Going forward, the government plans to apply the Roadmap for Preemptive Regulatory Reform to other new industries, including fuel cell electric vehicles, new energy industries, and drones.

In addition, the actions to be taken regarding thirty regulatory issues regarding autonomous vehicles are being reviewed, and the roadmap will be revised after the development stage that will occur around 2020.

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Last modified : 2017-12-12 08:38

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