Michael Briguglio: Local Councillor in Sliema, Malta
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Common appeal of Green local councillors: together for clean air and sustainable mobility
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, Italy.
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 low-emissions 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.