SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, December 2, 2020 – As the seasonal fine dust management system will be enforced from December to March, outdated vehicles without emission reduction filters (“grade 5” vehicles) will be prohibited from operating in the capital area in an effort to reduce the fine dust levels in the winter months.
Vehicles breaching emission restrictions in Seoul from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays can face a fine of 100,000 won. It should be noted that since December last year the Seoul Metropolitan Government has separately banned “grade 5” vehicles from what is known as the Green Transport Zone, the city’s historic center enclosed by the old city walls.
Emergency vehicles like fire engines and ambulances, disabled drivers, and those living on basic income subsidies or near-poverty groups who cannot have emission reduction devices installed on their cars will be exempt from fines. Other vehicle owners who cannot install the filter will be given a grace period until the end of December.
And those who are fined can get a refund if they install the filter by November 30, 2021. The decision came after the city government considered the recent economic slowdown due to COVID-19 and vehicles registered outside the Seoul metropolitan area that receive relatively poor government support in installing the emission reduction devices.
Without charging fines, the city government promoted the pilot restrictions and encouraged 155,393 “grade 5” vehicle drivers not to operate in the city center from August to October.
Lee Sa-hyeong, Director of Vehicle Emissions Control at the Seoul Metropolitan Government, said, “As fine dust continues to be a serious problem, the restriction on grade 5 vehicles will be expanded. Especially during the wintertime, it should be more intensively managed.” He asked “grade 5” vehicle drivers to actively participate in the city government’s efforts.