Commission proposes strategy to improve the environment
in Europe's cities
The European Commission has launched a new Thematic Strategy on the     
Urban Environment to help Member States and regional and local     
authorities improve the environmental performance of Europe's cities. The     
Strategy is one of seven foreseen under the 6th Environmental Action     
Programme. Its goal is to facilitate better implementation of EU     
environmental policies and legislation at the local level through exchange     
of experience and good practice between Europe's local authorities. Four o    
ut of five European citizens now live in towns and cities and their quality of     
life is directly influenced by the state of the urban environment.    
The strategy's approach    
Europe's urban areas face a number of environmental challenges including     
poor air quality, high levels of traffic and congestion, urban sprawl,     
greenhouse gas emissions and generation of waste and waste water.     
These can cause environmental damage and affect human health.    
Local authorities have a decisive role to play in implementing     
environmental legislation and improving the environmental performance of a     
city. The best performing cities have developed integrated approaches to     
urban management where daily decisions are guided by a strategic vision     
and objectives. These can improve quality of life and the city's economic     
performance, which in turn can attract new residents and businesses.    
While local action is essential, public authorities at regional, national and     
European level also need to be proactive. The EU can provide support by     
promoting Europe's good practices. It can do so best by encouraging     
effective networking and exchange of experience between cities. Many     
solutions already exist in cities but they are not sufficiently disseminated     
or implemented.    
The Commission has coordinated the objectives of the Strategy with other     
Community programmes and proposes support for investments, research     
and demonstration projects on key urban environment issues such as     
investment in urban transport and reuse of derelict land, or training in     
urban management. Member States should exploit the opportunities     
offered at the European level to make improvements in the environmental     
performance of their cities.    
Proposed Measures    
The main actions under the strategy are:    
•Guidance on integrated environmental management and on     
sustainable urban transport plans. The guidance will be based on     
cities' experiences, expert views and research, and will help ensure     
full implementation of EU legislation. It will provide sources of further     
information to help prepare and implement action plans.    
•Training. A number of Community programmes will provide     
opportunities for training and capacity-building for local authorities to     
develop the skills needed for managing the urban environment.     
Moreover, support will be offered for local authorities to work together     
and learn from each other. These should be exploited both by the     
Member States and local authorities.    
•Support for EU wide exchange of best practices. Consideration will     
be given for the establishment of a new European programme to     
exchange knowledge and experience on urban issues under the new     
Cohesion Policy. The Commission will closely cooperate with     
Member States and local authorities. This work will be based on a     
pilot network of focal points on urban issues (the 'European     
Knowledge Platform') which offers advice to local authorities across     
•Commission internet portal for local authorities. The feasibility of     
creating a new internet portal for local authorities on the Europa     
website will be explored to provide better access to the latest     
Thematic Strategies    
Thematic Strategies are based on extensive research and consultation of     
stakeholders, address issues in a holistic way that links with other     
problems and policy areas, and promote Better Regulation. The other six     
strategies cover:    
•air pollution    
•marine environment    
Copies of the Thematic Strategy on the Urban Environment are available     
from: ...    
Taken from Resource Recovery Forum News 
Resources Associated with this news Article:

Thematic Strategy on the Urban Environment
Posted: 31/01/2006 By: Professor Paul Bardos