Email not displaying correctly? View it in your browser
ICLEI in Europe News
February 2016

Dear Members, Partners and Friends of ICLEI,

We are pleased to send you the latest news on ICLEI in Europe and our partners for urban sustainability!

You can also read these news articles and find more information on the topics at

Don't hesitate to send your news and information to

  1. ICLEI Member News
  2. 8th ECSCT calls for Innovation Market Session contributions
  3. PPI Award winner showcased by euronews
  4. RESIN focuses on adaptation as Greater Manchester experiences flood damage
  5. Austria sees boost in electric mobility uptake
  6. Tools and solutions handbook provides practical advice on implementing SEAPs
  7. Event News
  8. Event Calendar

            1. ICLEI Member News

            Rotterdam low emission zone greatly reduces polluting cars on city streets

            A new environmental zone in ICLEI member Rotterdam (The Netherlands) has halved the number of severely polluting cars entering the city. Every day up to 700,000 vehicles enter Rotterdam, of which 1.18 percent were older models whose emissions were considered extremely harmful. From 1 January 2016 the Dutch city announced that such vehicles would be banned from entering. Since then, the number of dirtier cars in the city has dropped to 0.66 percent.

            There is currently no penalty for violating the ban. However, from 1 May drivers flouting the new rules will be hit with a €90 fine. Deputy Mayor of the City of Rotterdam Pex Langenberg said that the results were pleasing, but also reminded citizens to take advantage of the car-scrapping scheme to get rid of their dirty vehicles once and for all.

            Rotterdam is offering a subsidy of between €1,000 to €2,500 for citizens to scrap their old vehicles, and an additional subsidy if they buy an electric car. The exclusion of vehicles that do not meet the new environmental zone target cuts emissions of soot by between 20 and 30 percent, the city calculates.

            For more information, visit [in Dutch].

            Image copyright: Pixabay

            Copenhagen finds pesticide free ways to manage weeds in public spaces

            ICLEI member Copenhagen (Denmark) has managed its green spaces entirely without using pesticides, Morten Kabell, Copenhagen’s mayor for technical and environmental affairs, has stated in a letter to the Pesticide Action Network. The city has had such success with alternative methods of managing weeds that they are considering ruling out the reintroduction of pesticides entirely.

            “Chemical weed killing is becoming redundant, due to new knowledge together with well-known alternative methods and a changed consciousness about biodiversity. [Pesticides] could, according to us, be banned completely,” writes Mr Kabell.

            Copenhagen is also leading the way in other environmental sectors, with reports showing that the city has some of the cleanest water in the world (Mr Kabell has claimed that Copenhagen’s tap water is now so pure that it surpasses bottled water in quality). The excellent water standards are a result of infrastructural investment over decades, exacting standards, and an acceptance of relatively high taxation rates from the public. Public awareness campaigns have also led Copenhageners to lower their water consumption.

            For more information, visit the European Green Capital website.

            Image copyright: Pixabay

            Ljubljana takes on role of European Green Capital

            In a ceremony overseen by European Commissioner for the Environment Karmenu Vella on 9 February 2016, ICLEI member Ljubljana (Slovenia) took over the title of European Green Capital from fellow ICLEI member and 2015 title-holder Bristol (UK). As European Green Capital, Ljubljana will act as an ambassador for sustainable urban development, sharing and promoting best practices that have been tried and tested in the Slovenian capital.

            A comprehensive set of policies have been put in place to help make Ljubljana more sustainable. The city boasts a vast area of green space and has made public transport, pedestrian access, and cycling networks the backbone of its urban mobility system. With its Zero Waste Strategy, Ljubljana is making a significant contribution to Europe's transition to a more circular economy.

            For more information, visit the European Green Capital website.

            Image copyright: Photo on Flickr by "European Green Capital Award / PRACSIS"

            2. 8th ECSCT calls for Innovation Market Session contributions

            The 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns has opened the Call for Contributions for the Innovation Market Session. The session will be held on Thursday 28 April 2016 from 11.30 to 12.30 and will see representatives of local, regional and national governments, as well as those working in a non-governmental organisation or research institute present ideas and projects.

            The market is the ideal space for sharing examples of good practices and tools on topics such as stakeholder and citizen engagement, community empowerment, transformations towards sustainability, social innovation, smart technologies, sustainable and innovative public procurement, and more.

            Applicants are free to choose from a variety of presentation formats for the Innovation Market: a roundtable dialogue, a speed presentation, or a poster presentation. The deadline for the submission of proposals is 28 February 2016 and the completed form should be returned to All presentations and material must be provided in English, and as space is limited not all applicants can be offered a spot. Registration for the conference is now open and until 4 March 2016 registrants can avail of the early bird fee.

            For further information, visit the official website or contact

            Image copyright: Basque Government

            3. PPI Award winner showcased by euronews

            A new video by euronews puts the spotlight on the environmentally friendly wastewater recycling system procured by the Austrian Mint, the purchase of which saw the Austrian Federal Procurement Agency take home the 2015 Public Procurement of Innovation (PPI) Award. The ‘Business Planet’ report looks broadly at how innovation can help SMEs to win public contracts, using the Austrian Mint’s procurement of a wastewater recycling facility from Schell GmbH & CO.KG, a family-run business with around 20 employees, as a particularly fitting example.

            Company CEO Sonja Schell spoke about her pride in working with the Austrian Mint to find an innovative solution, and the broader recognition that working with such a major organisation has brought. The solution provided by Schell GmbH enabled the water used as part of the coin production process to be cleaned and used again, saving 4 million litres of water per year.

            Manfred Matzinger-Leopold, the executive director of the Austrian Mint, said that Schell GmbH was chosen as it managed to find the best balance between providing high water quality and price, as well as the system being relatively easy to install and maintain. The report also underlines how procurement of innovative products and services can improve access to markets for SMEs and foster market uptake of innovations.

            For more information, visit the euronews website.

            4. RESIN focuses on adaptation as Greater Manchester experiences flood damage

            UK and Irish cities experienced record levels of rainfall in December 2015, bringing the question of critical infrastructure protection and city resilience to the top of the agenda for local and national governments across the region. Around 16,000 properties were flooded in the UK in December while 20,000 properties were protected by flood defences. Greater Manchester was particularly affected by Storm Eva, with 68.2mm of rain falling between 25 and 27 December. Two footbridges were washed away, one carrying a low pressure gas main, which subsequently exploded, leaving a number of homes without gas. Damage to infrastructure is likely to be in excess of £10 million.

            Greater Manchester, as part of its role in the RESIN project, is working with RESIN research partner the University of Manchester to carry out a comprehensive city assessment in terms of climate change adaptation and resilience. The RESIN partnership between cities and scientists is an ideal opportunity for effective research into threats to infrastructure and for producing practical solutions that cities themselves have helped to create.

            In November 2015, the University of Manchester produced a RESIN analysis of the hazards facing European cities arising from climate change. Primary causes were identified as sea level rise, flooding, heat-waves and drought. The study looks at how an area’s socio-economic and infrastructural characteristics can turn a climate event into a climate hazard. Crucially, this sheds light on which elements of climate-change related hazards can be controllable, allowing cities to adapt to a changing climate.

            For more information, click here.

            Image copyright: Athlone (Photo on Flickr) by "Irish Defence Forces", licensed under CC BY 2.0

            5. Austria sees boost in electric mobility uptake

            Electric mobility is on an upward trajectory in Austria thanks, in part, to the government enacting a variety of pro-electric vehicle measures, from regulatory policies to financial incentives. The E-MOBILITY WORKS project is also active in the country, helping the cities of Schladming, Feldbach and Kapfenberg to design and implement strategies to improve the uptake of electric vehicles at the local level. Of the three cities, Schladming has had its plan approved by the city council, with the other cities’ councils yet to vote. Austria is particularly well positioned to benefit from electric vehicles as it produces around 30 percent of its energy from renewable sources, meaning emissions are minimal.

            As well as providing funding for sustainable transport schemes and organisations that are encouraging electric vehicles, the Austrian national government has offered insurance discounts (between 10 and 20 percent) and purchase premiums to potential electric car owners. Organisations that switch their vehicle fleet to electric power are eligible to avail of public funding, while consumers can benefit from lower tax rates thanks to emission tax exemptions.

            Figures from 2014 reveal that 1,281 electric vehicles were sold in Austria, with 2,360 hybrid electric vehicles purchased. Charging infrastructure is also expanding, addressing one of many consumers’ primary concerns about the use of electric vehicles – the range that can be travelled before running out of power. Statistically, more than half of all car journeys taken in Austria are within 5 kilometres, with over 30 percent within 2 kilometres. Through its activities, E-MOBILITY WORKS is helping Austrian cities to embrace cleaner, quieter and more cost effective vehicle transport.

            For more information, visit the E-MOBILITY WORKS Austria page [in German].

            Image copyright: Photo on Eltis by "Carlos Corao", licensed under CC BY 2.0

            6. Tools and solutions handbook provides practical advice on implementing SEAPs

            Combining the best resources from the Toolbox of Methodologies on Climate and Energy with the experiences of the partners of the Mayors in Action consortium, the Handbook for Covenant Supporters and Coordinators (C&S) provides step by step guidance, useful tools, and good practices on implementing sustainable energy actions and measures.

            This detailed compendium outlines how to set objectives, gain stakeholder involvement, and finance selected actions, all while offering examples of best practice in the fields of rolling out information campaigns, stimulating energy retrofitting in residential buildings, bolstering renewable energy, and fostering integrated energy actions.

            The annexes to the Handbook provide relevant case studies, giving an in-depth look at how actions have been implemented across Europe.

            To download the handbook, click here.

            Image copyright: Zentilia/Dreamstime

            7. Event News

            BUMP project results to be discussed at Brussels workshop

            Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) are an excellent way for cities to make their transport cleaner, safer and more sustainable. They also provide a tried and tested method to lower emissions and improve air quality. On 16 March 2016, the Boosting Urban Mobility Plans (BUMP) project is holding its final workshop in Brussels (Belgium) within the framework of Breakfast at Sustainability's, giving participants the opportunity to learn from the project's conclusions and to discuss SUMP approaches with relevant colleagues from across Europe. All stakeholders working in the field of sustainable mobility are invited to take part in the event, which is hosted by the Umbria Region Brussels office.

            Registration for the event is available online and should be completed by 14 March. Speakers include Isabelle Maës, EU Policy Officer, European Commission, DG MOVE; Abel Ortego, Research Centre for Energy Resources and Consumption (CIRCE); and Lucia Ilieva, Club Sustainable Development of Civil Society (CSDCS).

            Fabio Tomasi and Luca Mercatelli, coordinators of BUMP, will inform participants of the concrete results achieved by the project. The BUMP project helps local governments in cities with between 40,000 and 350,000 inhabitants to develop their own SUMPs. Working in nine EU countries, BUMP provides city planners and environmental and technical officers with the knowledge and skills to plan and manage sustainable mobility in urban and peri-urban areas.

            For more information, download the programme [PDF].

            CO-POWER events to look at how communities can become energy producers

            Two events are being held by the Community Power project (CO-POWER) in the coming weeks, both addressing the shift to renewable energy in Europe and the urgent need to end our reliance on fossil fuels.

            The first takes place in Brussels (Belgium) on 16 March 2016 and will focus on the role of communities and citizens in producing renewable energy. Opportunities and barriers to successful community renewable energy projects will be discussed, including financial and legal obstacles. EU and national policy makers, as well as stakeholders from the renewable energy industry are invited to attend. Registration is available online.

            A separate event on integrating community energy projects into local energy plans will be held in the Polish capital of Warsaw on 6 April 2016. Local decision-makers, planners, local government associations and networks, and energy agencies are invited to participate in this free workshop. Further details and registration for the event is available by contacting

            For more information, visit the CO-POWER website.

            Urban Transport Roadmaps policy tool to be launched in Bremen

            The Urban Transport Roadmaps policy tool, which will be launched in ICLEI member Bremen (Germany) on 13 April 2016, helps decision-makers to analyse different combinations of sustainable urban mobility measures. The tool is designed to help cities deliver on the goals of their Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs), and has been commissioned by DG MOVE of the European Commission.

            The ability to compare different mobility scenarios will be of great help to transport planners. They will be able to forecast the impact of measures and understand whether they are the best solution to the challenges they face. The focus is on transport scenarios and roadmaps for implementation that are feasible and practical.

            The launch of the tool will be kicked-off with a free event after the conclusion of the 3rd European Conference on SUMPs, which also takes place in Bremen from 12 – 13 April. Members of the Urban Transport Roadmaps project consortium, the European Commission, and representatives of European cities will discuss the importance of scenario building and how it can improve local mobility policy and planning. Participants at the event will then be able to try the tool themselves at a reception in the evening.

            For more information about the event, contact or click here.

            Local Renewables Conference 2016 to explore the role of smart technologies in energy supply

            The Local Renewables Conference 2016 will take place from 26-28 October this year, spread across Freiburg (Germany) and Basel (Switzerland). The 7th edition of the Local Renewables Series will build on the success of previous conferences by bringing together leading and learning cities, policy-makers from European and national governments, and representatives from business, research and finance institutions. The event will showcase practical and innovative examples of how to reduce energy use, as well as how to make the best use of energy sources in a region.

            In the face of rapidly growing global energy needs, the EU Energy Union recognises the importance of cities and regions in making energy more secure, affordable and sustainable. At a time when European cities are searching for innovative ways of meeting energy demands while responding to citizens’ needs, the conference will address key issues, such as the potential of smart technologies for urban energy transformation; how smart technologies affect quality of life; and the related local economic opportunities. Further details are available in the 1st Conference Announcement.

            For more information, visit the conference website.

            8. Event Calendar

            Mayors in Action Webinar: Municipal Integrated Actions involving citizens
            3 March 2016

            Mayors in Action: 3rd Centralised Training for Supporting Structures
            10 - 11 March 2016 - Zagreb (Croatia)

            3rd European Conference on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans
            12 - 13 April 2016 - Bremen (Germany)

            Circular Procurement: the next step
            20 - 22 April 2016 - Amsterdam (The Netherlands)

            8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns
            27 - 29 April 2016 – Bilbao, Basque Country

            Informed Cities Forum
            16 - 17 June 2016 – Dresden (Germany)

            Open European Day at Bonn Resilient Cities
            5 July 2016 - Bonn (Germany)

            Local Renewables 2016: Energising the smart city and region
            26 - 28 October 2016 - Freiburg (Germany) & Basel (Switzerland)

            Feedback? Questions? Let us know! If you have any further questions, would like to give feedback on ICLEI's work in Europe or would like to be taken off this mailing list, contact us at:

            The ICLEI in Europe newsletter is produced by the European Secretariat of ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability. Copies are available on request. Editor: Sean Carroll.

            Comments and questions are welcome - please write to Sean Carroll at, Leopoldring 3, 79098 Freiburg, Germany,Tel: +49-761/36 89 2-0,

            ICLEI is a membership organisation of local governments and their associations. To date more than 1,000 municipalities and municipal associations of all sizes from around the world have made a unique commitment to sustainable development by joining ICLEI. They support the work of ICLEI through their membership fees as well as through their experience and creativity in the development and implementation of projects and campaigns to address the globe's biggest problems. Within the organisation they are part of a network of peers that can profit from each other's knowledge. For membership information please have a look at our website or contact:

            Copyright 2016 ICLEI European Secretariat GmbH, Freiburg, Germany. All rights reserved.