On 18 June 2015, the European Commission announced the winners of the inaugural European Green Leaf 2015 competition. Mollet del Vallès (Spain) and Torres Vedras (Portugal) became the first cities to receive the award, in recognition of their commitment to better environmental practices and green growth. The title was presented by Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, at a ceremony held in Bristol, the current European Green Capital.
The 2015 European Green Leaf (EGL) is a European Commission initiative which targets cities with a population between 50,000 and 100,000 inhabitants. Following a technical evaluation, Ludwigsburg (Germany), Mikkeli (Finland), Mollet del Vallès (Spain) and Torres Vedras (Portugal) were the four finalists shortlisted from among the applicants. An Expert panel undertook a technical assessment of each entry on the following areas:
- Climate change and energy performance
- Biodiversity and land use
- Quality of air and the acoustic environment
- Waste and the green economy
- Water management (including wastewater treatment)
Mollet Del Vallès
The jury was particularly impressed by the city’s urban mobility plan, which favours pedestrian mobility and public transport, and includes round table discussions with all stakeholders to boost public engagement during the plan's preparation. Bus usage in the municipality has increased by 25% in the last 5 years. The city's local air quality action plan, which has recently been adopted with the aim of reducing air pollution, is equally impressive.
The jury was particularly impressed by the city's mobility strategy, which aims to diagnose weaknesses of its transport system and define a set of measures to improve mobility and quality of life for its citizens. Furthermore, Torres Vedras has put in place a number of projects aimed at decreasing biodiversity loss and ensuring to its inhabitants access to nature.
For further information, please visit the relevant European Commission website.