Com­mon ap­peal of Green lo­cal coun­cil­lors: to­gether for clean air and sus­tain­able mo­bil­ity

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

Michael Briguglio, Sliema Lo­cal Coun­cil­lor of Al­ter­nat­tiva Demokratika - The Green Party, joined a del­e­ga­tion of other Green lo­cal coun­cil­lors in Europe in the con­fer­ence “Mov­ing Ahead: Green Mo­bil­ity for Healthy Cities” on 22 October in Rome.

The coun­cil­lors present signed the fol­low­ing dec­la­ra­tion:

Mo­bil­ity is con­sid­ered the num­ber one pri­or­ity for im­prov­ing the at­trac­tive­ness of cities, as well as qual­ity of life and the health of our cit­i­zens. To re­duce green­house gas emissions and fight cli­mate change (as was agreed upon in the COP21 Paris Agree­ment), we need en­ergy con­ver­sion poli­cies that ad­dress low-car­bon trans­port, as 25% of emissions that cause cli­mate change in Europe stem from trans­port, in par­tic­u­lar, road trans­port.

Re­duc­ing traf­fic con­ges­tion and air pollution means im­prov­ing the eco­nomic com­pet­i­tive­ness of our cities and the well-be­ing of our cit­i­zens.

We all know how Diesel­gate shocked the Euro­pean pub­lic only one year ago: after Volk­swa­gen ad­mit­ted it had cheated on NOx emis­sion tests, na­tional and Euro­pean in­quiries showed that most of the cars on our roads emit much higher emissions than is al­lowed by EU law.

Con­sumers are fooled both ways: they drive much dirt­ier cars than they thought and they breathe more polluted air in their cities.

Politi­cians all over Europe promised bet­ter and re­li­able tests, cleaner cars, less pollution. But one year later we have clearly been let down.

For th­ese rea­sons, it is fun­da­men­tal and ur­gent to de­velop and im­ple­ment low car­bon trans­port poli­cies.

There­fore, lo­cal gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Green Par­ties at­tend­ing the Rome meet­ing of 22 October 2016 send out a CALL:

We want to re­duce the num­ber of jour­neys made by per­sonal mo­torised trans­port by re­think­ing the ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment to give more space and promi­nence to in­hab­i­tants and users of low car­bon trans­port.

We want to pro­mote “ac­tive” mov­ing, in par­tic­u­lar through cy­cling and pedes­trian pol­icy, re­gard­ing both mov­ing it­self and the in­fra­struc­ture pro­vided;

We want to re­think the ac­ces­si­bil­ity of all places for per­sons with re­duced mo­bil­ity.

We want to en­hance cit­i­zen par­tic­i­pa­tion in the plan­ning of ur­ban mo­bil­ity and to put into place trans­par­ent gover­nance at all lev­els.

We want ro­bust fi­nanc­ing schemes for ur­ban trans­port.

We want an EU-wide re­call of all dirty cars on our roads that vi­o­late EU leg­is­la­tion and emit more NOx and/or CO2 emissions than per­mit­ted.

The car man­u­fac­tur­ers have to fix this prob­lem as soon as pos­si­ble. We have al­ready lost pre­cious time, at the cost of the health of our cit­i­zens; it is un­ac­cept­able that car man­u­fac­tur­ers ob­tained even more leeway to put highly pol­lut­ing cars on the mar­ket after 2021.

The so-called “con­form­ity fac­tors” that were in­tro­duced just after the VW scan­dal should be re­vised as soon as pos­si­ble to make sure that the cars on our roads do not emit higher emissions than was al­ready pre­scribed by EU law ten years ago. This is the only way cities will be able to meet the EU’s air qual­ity stan­dards.

We want to pro­mote close co­or­di­na­tion and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween cities to foster ex­changes of ex­pe­ri­ences.

We want the ap­proval of new Euro­pean di­rec­tives on ur­ban air qual­ity, with wider pa­ram­e­ters and stricter lim­i­ta­tions, in or­der to im­prove the health of cit­i­zens.

We want the adop­tion of poli­cies on ur­ban lo­gis­tics for the trans­port of goods in or­der for it to be ef­fi­cient and sus­tain­able and to en­sure the use of lowe­mis­sions ve­hi­cles.

We want poli­cies on ur­ban plan­ning that take into con­sid­er­a­tion the mo­bil­ity of cit­i­zens and com­pa­nies in or­der to re­duce trav­el­ling dis­tances and soil con­sump­tion.

We want to pro­mote shared mo­bil­ity (car shar­ing, bike shar­ing and scooter shar­ing) to over­come the cul­ture of own­er­ship and to move to­wards in­te­grated mo­bil­ity.

We pro­pose the devel­op­ment of sus­tain­able tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion for trans­porta­tion to im­prove both its qual­ity and the service that is pro­vided to cit­i­zens. We want clean air for our cit­i­zens and urge Mem­ber State gov­ern­ments, the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion and the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment to take ac­tion. Now.

Re­duc­ing traf­fic con­ges­tion and air pollution means im­prov­ing the eco­nomic com­pet­i­tive­ness of our cities and the well­be­ing of our cit­i­zens.

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