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Yokohama Greenery Tax – conservation of privately-owned land

Mai 14, 2011
Yokohama (C) JulienF

Yokohama (C) JulienF

The city of Yokohama, situated south of Tokyo, is losing nearly 100 ha of forests and farmland every year. Most of these green areas are privatley owned. To stop the loss engaging with the landowners is therefore essential.

This decline in green areas has several reasons. The economic value of forest has been steadily decreasing similar to the income that can be generated by farming. Despite the efforts already taken, the city (e.g. tax deductions) was not able to stop the loss. A more visible and active approach was therefore necessary. The idea is that the city guarantees to purchase the area at a certain price in the future and that this enables the city to arrange conservation agreements with the landowners.

To raise the money for these purchase agreements and to gain the confidence of the landowners that the promised money will be available the city decided to introduce a Greenery Tax. The tax was implemented in April 2009 and annually amounts to approximately 8€ for individuals (the tax for corporations is a little higher) and should lead to a revenue of around 20 million Euros.

The tax is part of a larger programme with several 5-year goals such as the doubling of total area of designated green conservation areas in cooperation with the citizens. The first evaluation undertaken showed promising results: The awareness among people increased and 9,6 ha of forest land could already be bought. However, the report also stresses that their is still a lot to do in the long run and that the participation of the citizens is still low.

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