On 21 January 2017, the town of Essen in Germany officially becomes the European Green Capital for 2017. In the official European Green Capital Handover Ceremony, Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, will hand over the title for 2017 from Ljubljana to Essen.
With more than two thirds of Europeans living in towns or cities, addressing environmental challenges is of outmost importance for the health and wellbeing of citizens. The European Green Capital Award rewards efforts and commitment to improving the urban environment, boosting awareness of the need for environmental change at the city level. Essen will act as role model for sustainable urban development, sharing and promoting best practices that have been tried and tested in this German city.
Essen was singled out for its exemplary practices in protecting and enhancing nature and biodiversity, as well as for its efforts to reduce water consumption. This city also participates in a variety of networks and initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to improve the city’s resilience in the face of climate change.
More specifically, Essen impressed the jury with:
- An ambitious target of reducing CO₂ emissions by 40% by 2020;
- 128,000m² of road resurfaced with noise-optimised asphalt;
- A water management system with multifunctional green areas used for rainwater management, flood prevention and groundwater recharge to prevent rainwater from entering the combined sewer network in at least 15% of the area served by those sewers;
- 376 km of bicycle lanes: increase cycling by 25% until 2035;
- Creation of 20, 000 jobs in the environmental sector by 2025;
- 95% of the population now living within 300m of green urban areas;
- Car travel to be reduced by 29% by 2035;
- No landfill of domestic waste since the 1960s;
- A recycling target of 65% by 2020.
During its year as European Green Capital 2017, Essen plans to initiate over 300 citizens' projects and events that will further improve the quality of life of the city and put sustainability at the heart of the city's development programmes.
For further information, please visit the relevant European Commission webpage at the link below.
See also the relevant BUILD UP News.