13 January 2008

European Cities Turning Green

Snowstorm Rushhour (by [Zakkaliciousness])
A snowstorm tends to thin out of the number of cyclists a bit. Just a bit.

There was an item on the news tonight about Copenhagen's new environmental laws requiring trucks to have particle filters installed if they want to drive into the city. It takes effect this fall. Definately great news for all our cyclists and pedestrians.

The city is aiming to be the world's leading environmental capital by 2015. A lot of green initiatives are starting up. Also because Copenhagen hosts the next major climate conference in 2009. Must make a good impression, no?

But on the news we were taken on a tour around Europe where other cities are getting ahead of the game regarding environmental issues in cities.

In Berlin, Cologne and Hannover there are now environmental zones in the cities with laws requiring diesel trucks to have particle filters and cars built before 1993 to meet modern requirements. Vehicles have to meet these standards in order to get an environmental stamp.

In Milano they have a congestion charge in place and in Rome there is a ban on cars in the city's historic centre.

In Sweden the cities of Stockholm, Lund, Gothenburg and Malmö have set up environmental zones with similar restrictions on trucks and emissions and Stockholm has a congestion charge as well.

In the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Austria there are lowered speed limits of 30 km/h in inner city areas.

The news item wrapped up in London. The city is creating the world's largest environmental zone - a low emission zone - which kicks off in February and contains a number of restrictions on older trucks and emissions.

From 2010, 4 wheel drives will next on the hit list.

It's sobering for us in Copenhagen to see all these fantastic projects in action. We have a step up with our bike culture and wind power industry, but I'd like to see more intensive action for Copenhagen.

Our right-wing national government is blocking our city hall's plans for a congestion charge in Copenhagen, despite the political will in the city to carry out the plan.

Let's get moving. Preferably on our bikes.

4 comments:

A23 said...

I'm a huge fan, and thought you might find this interesting:

http://bikeportland.org/2008/01/14/what-can-the-netherlands-learn-from-us/#more-6337

Cheers, A Freeman
Portland , Oregon
USA

Zakkaliciousness said...

thanks, A23. Cool post, although I've read the paper the Dutch chap wrote. Very interesting.
go portland!

Miguel Carvalho said...

Just a small correction..
The tax in Milan is not a congestion charge, but a pollution charge. The big difference is that in London, Stockholm, etc... all cars are charged because all cause congestion. In Milan only the high-polluting cars are charged, the others still have free entry.
(actually, and this is the stupid part of the story, the mayor says that the "non-polluting cars" are not charged! I am translating it literally. But according to the statistics 60% to 80% of the cars in Milan fit in the definition of non-polluting, so they are tax-exempt!!)
Love your blog

Zakkaliciousness said...

grazie mille, miguel. thanks for the correction. i would love to see one of these mystical 'non-polluting' cars... :-)