Mayors of Seoul and London Discuss Cooperation on Low Emission Zones
Mayor Park Won-soon of Seoul met with London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan at London City Hall. The two mayors discussed cooperative measures regarding the growth of innovative startups, a topic of interest common to both cities, as well as the fintech industry, attraction of foreign investments, and improvement of air quality.
The two mayors first shared the current states of the “Environment-friendly Car Rating System” that both cities have promoted to reduce particulate matter, and then agreed to continue their internationally cooperative relationship to solve the problem of air quality.
Following this joint declaration, Seoul took the lead in introducing an environment-friendly rating system by offering a strong governmental proposal. The city’s Metropolitan Council then passed eight bills, including the “Special Act on Fine Dust Reduction and Management,” that were enforced starting in February 2019 through various policies. Seoul is currently the only city in the nation to implement operational restrictions on five-grade vehicles after the official announcement of emergency reduction measures. Furthermore, the city plans to enforce a trial project of regular operational restrictions on five-grade gas emission vehicles in “green traffic areas” as part of its traffic demand management in consideration of the atmospheric environment.
London was the first major city in the world to jointly declare and begin enforcement of the “Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)” policy for restrictions on vehicle operations in order to solve the chronic problem of air quality in the city.
Furthermore, Mayor Park Won-soon and Mayor Sadiq Khan sought to compose cooperative measures in the economic field. Seoul has made economy revival its key project with the completion of the seventh popular elections and focuses on revitalizing urban industries and the city’s capabilities when it comes to innovative startups. London has promoted a change in its economic paradigm through recent innovative growth amid difficult interior and exterior conditions such as Brexit.
The meeting between Mayor Park and Mayor Khan is their first meeting in two years after Mayor Park’s visit to London in 2017. At the first meeting, the two mayors discussed various exchange and cooperative plans based on their commonality as mayors who have responded to climate changes, taken the lead in social integration and innovation following their inauguration into office as human rights lawyers and members of civic organizations, and concluded an agreement that paved the way for cooperation in nine areas including economic democratization.