1. ICLEI Member News
Torres Vedras wins inaugural European Green Leaf award
ICLEI member Torres Vedras (Portugal) is one of two cities to win the first European Green Leaf (EGL) award, a new European Commission initiative to recognise urban areas committed to green growth with between 50,000 and 100,000 inhabitants. The awards were presented at a ceremony held in ICLEI member Bristol (UK), in which Essen (Germany) was announced as the 2017 European Green Capital.
Torres Vedras was congratulated for its mobility strategy and efforts to reduce biodiversity loss, as well as its attention to water management. Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: "Environmentally sound mobility is just as important in small cities as it is in big ones. Torres Vedras has shown how good planning can lead to quick clean movement of people around their town." The Spanish city of Mollet des Vallès also won an EGL 2015 award. Each year, an EGL will be presented to a maximum of three cities.
For more information, visit the European Green Capital's website.
Image copyright: Torres Vedras (Wikimedia Commons) by "Lusitana", licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Dublin releases plans to remove cars from city centre
Dublin City Council (Ireland) and Ireland's National Transport Authority have released plans that will see vehicle access to the city centre restricted and streets re-designed for walking, cycling and public transport use. The new measures include a ban on cars in parts of the city and the closure of car parks, as well as the extension of pedestrian zones and the development of a bus rapid transit service from the city centre to the suburbs.
Car traffic will also be diverted out of the city centre and into peripheral streets. Some €150 million will be spent from now until 2023 to achieve this aim, accompanied by infrastructure improvements such as resurfacing roads, communications campaigns to increase cycling and walking, and the further development of real-time passenger information at public transport stops.
Through the measures, the Irish capital aims to increase the prevalence of low-emission modes of transport, improve ambient air quality, and make the city centre safer and more pleasant.
For more information, visit herald.ie.
Image copyright: College Green Dublin (photo on Flickr) by "William Murphy", licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
ICLEI members commended for taking impressive action to reduce CO2 emissions
The Guardian Newspaper has praised ICLEI members Copenhagen (Denmark), Växjö (Sweden), and Bristol (UK) for "leading the way" in cutting CO2 emissions and progressing towards clean energy. The cities, which have made faster progress than their national level counterparts in reducing emissions, are held up as inspirational examples of how committed local level governance can have a significant impact on improving sustainability.
The involvement of 6000 cities in the Covenant of Mayors (CoM), a movement of local and regional authorities who commit to go beyond the EU climate target of a 20 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020, is cited as proof of cities' willingness to enact innovative and effective measures.
Copenhagen is praised as the clean energy leader in Europe, with 4.5 tonnes less CO2 emissions per capita on a yearly basis than the EU average. The city's district heating and cooling system is a major factor in its impressive environmental performance. Växjö's ambition to go fossil-fuel free by 2030 is mentioned, as is its extensive use of sustainable biomass for power. Bristol, the current European Green Capital, uses 20 percent less power per person than the English average, and is planning to establish a municipally owned energy company in line with the Scandinavian model.
For more information, visit the Guardian.
Image copyright: Dawn Ascension (photo on Flickr) by "Sam-Cat", licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0