Assignment of experts and workshop on the first low emission zone (LEZ) in Bangkok
In January 2018 Connective Cities organised the assignment of two German experts, one from Berlin and one from Munich, to the capital city of Thailand to work on 'Creating a first low emission zone in Bangkok'. These advisors were assigned to transfer expertise that would help facilitate the creation of an LEZ in Bangkok. They delivered experience and expertise covering both the strategic planning and operational dimensions of creating LEZs, particularly with respect to Munich. They also made expert suggestions on the possible introduction of the LEZ.
Representatives of the City of Bangkok and the Thai Pollution Control Department had previously been involved in an international workshop on sustainable mobility together with municipal delegates from Asia and Germany, where they developed ideas for creating an LEZ in Bangkok. At the Connective Cities dialogue event 'Sustainable urban mobility: strategies and pathways towards more efficient, inclusive and environmentally sustainable cities' held in Bremen in June 2017, the Pollution Control Department of Bangkok brought this idea into sharper focus, and articulated its need for an assignment of experts.
At a workshop held in Bangkok by the responsible agencies there (including the Pollution Control Department) and the city government from 17- 19 January 2018, together with various stakeholders the agencies concerned discussed the air quality situation in their city, the key polluters and possible measures for improvement. One key topic they talked about was the instrument of the low emission zone. The workshop was designed to serve as a platform from which to launch the planning of further measures, particularly in order to raise the awareness of stakeholders and possibly coordinate work to improve the air quality.
The German experts presented the lessons they had learned in connection with low emission zones in Munich and Berlin. One focus of these presentations was the legal frameworks in place at the European and national levels that were absolutely essential when introducing an LEZ. The presentations also included salient examples of other measures that were part of the master plans for air pollution control in Munich and Berlin, including their updates.
Participants subsequently had an opportunity to develop their own proposals. These included for instance applying exhaust standards at the national level, improving parking space management in Bangkok, monitoring dust emissions on building sites, creating a mobile app, planting trees and promoting the use of bikes as a means of transport.
All in all, the workshop tackled the topics of air quality and measures to improve it comprehensively, with participants displaying a high level of commitment. A distinctive feature of the workshop was the participation of different stakeholders, and presentations that provided clear insights into local circumstances. Working in groups, participants were able to develop and present their ideas for future measures. The workshop was therefore an important occasion that brought together around one table public agencies, levels of administration and external stakeholders (NGOs and private-sector actors) that had until then in many cases been operating on an uncoordinated basis. It thus laid the foundation for regular cooperation.
The next steps to implement the LEZ are now under way. Connective Cities will be continuing to support them.
This article was originally published in connective-cities.net in February, 2018.