Following the communication “Towards a Thematic Strategy on the Urban Environment”, adopted in February 2004 EU commission adopted on 11 January 2006 the expected Thematic Strategy on the Urban Environment – SEC(2006)16. Based on extensive consultation with stakeholders this strategy aims at improvement of the quality of the urban environment. It sets out new measures to support and facilitate the adoption of integrated approaches to the management of the urban environment by national, regional and local authorities.
The environmental problems to be tackled in urban areas are: poor air quality, high levels of congestion, high levels of ambient noise, poor-quality built facilities, derelict land, greenhouse gas emissions, urban sprawl, generation of waste and waste-water. These problems have great impacts on lifestyle and increase the resource use per capita. The link between these problems is very tiny and cross-sector measures have to be taken.
Proposed initiatives : Guidance on integrated environmental management: some voluntary initiatives in this field already exist (Agenda 21, Aalborg Commitments) and it is mandatory for some of the national legislations. . Commission will provide technical guidance in 2006 to draw on experiences and best practices.
– Guidance on sustainable urban transport plans: the great impact of transport on urban environment led several Member States to take legislative decrees to implement such measures at national level. The Commission strongly recommends local authorities to develop and implement such plans but without making them mandatory. The Commission will provide technical guidance on it in 2006.
– Networking, information, capacity building…: other proposed initiatives are related to the exchange of best practices by setting up networks of cities, national platforms, Internet portal and support to training programmes in this field.The Commission, with the help of European Environment Agency will also work to improve data on urban environment issues in order to monitor properly the effect of this strategy.