An annual report published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) says the transport sector is significantly contributing to Europe’s air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and noise levels. The 2013 Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism (TERM) report includes an assessment of the environmental impact of transport as well as measuring progress towards a number of transport-related environmental targets. Read more…
This year’s edition of the TERM report indicates that road transport is one of the key causes of urban air pollution. Outdoor air pollution is an important issue, which has been classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as potentially causing cancer in humans. Traffic noise is another major area of interest that affects the daily life of citizens in a number of countries. The report says that noise and air pollution levels in European cities can often exceed limits set by the WHO and the European Union (EU).
The report notes that several cities in the EU have already started addressing the issue by encouraging people to replace cars by using public transport, walking and cycling. This is being achieved through a combination of cycling and other infrastructure developments and financial incentives such as congestion charges. The report concludes that such policies could be replicated in other municipalities across Europe.
At the same time, the European Commission has announced that it will soon publish a new Communication on urban mobility to support EU Member States in developing plans for sustainable urban transport. It is thought that such plans will have a significant impact in reducing resource use and greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, a seven-year funding programme for research and innovation, entitled Horizon 2020, will be launched in 2014 to support research in the area of urban mobility. It will be implemented through initiatives such as Civitas 2020, the Smart Cities and Communities Partnership and the European Clean Vehicles Initiative.
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