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Operation Guidelines Announced for Pollution Sites Zonal Improvement and Land Use

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The EPA has set up the Operation Guidelines for Pollution Site Zonal Improvement and Land Use (污染場址分區改善及土地利用作業原則) in hopes of speeding up clean-up progress and encouraging responsible parties to actively ameliorate pollution. The Guidelines clearly define zonal operations in different phases, allowing areas completing pollution amelioration to be utilized first. A mechanism is also in place to allocate the proceeds from land use into further clean-up efforts to ensure that polluted land is actively improved and adequately managed, resulting in enhanced environmental quality.

The EPA noted that the Guidelines serve as reference for local environmental bureaus when they submit applications based on the land reuse regulations under the Soil and Groundwater Pollution Remediation Act (土壤及地下水污染整治法). Planning of pollution site remediation and utilization should cover the entire area that includes the pollution sites and control areas. Moreover, applications can be submitted only if land utilization can proceed after zonal pollution remediation satisfies the control requirements. This will allow local environmental authorities to evaluate and manage appropriately. A mechanism is also in place to continually allocate proceeds from zonal land use into remediation work, ensuring polluted lands are actively improved and controlled.

Moreover, due to geological or other factors, there is a consideration that it may take longer to improve certain polluted plots of land until they are compliant with soil and groundwater pollution control standards. As a result, special regulations have been set for use of specific land types and their risk management. The purpose is to safeguard the public from exposure to pollutants via measures such as stopping pollution, limiting activity areas, or banning groundwater use. Also, it can help achieve environmental protection and sustainable land use.

The Guidelines include the following focuses:

1. Stipulation purposes

2. How remediation plans and goals are formed following land use

3. Operation regulations on zonal improvement and utilization of pollution sites

4. Required documents and evaluation standards regarding land use applications

5. Evaluation procedure for the risk assessment group

6. Remediation plan evaluation principles

7. Regulations regarding modification of land development and use after remediation goals are changed

8. Risk communication after remediation goals are changed

9. Procedure guidelines after remediation plans are approved

10. Supervision and audit regulations regarding site risk management (Article 10)

11. Treatment when remediation is not implemented based on approved plans or when secondary pollution is caused

Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, June 2021

Ministry of Environment