The EU Commission has reappointed RPS to manage the European Green Capital (EGC) and European Green Leaf (EGL) Awards for the coming years.
Bristol – EU Green Capital City 2015 (Image: Chris Bahn – courtesy of EU Commission)
The European Green Capital Award and the European Green Leaf Award recognise a city's commitment to a better urban environment. Cities with populations greater than 100,000 are eligible to apply for the European Green Capital Award. The European Green Leaf is open to cities of between 20,000 and 100,000 inhabitants.
To date, nine cities have won the European Green Capital Award: Stockholm (2010), Hamburg (2011), Vitoria-Gasteiz (2012), Nantes (2013), Copenhagen (2014), Bristol (2015), Ljubljana (2016), Essen (2017) and Nijmegen (2018). Each award is made two years in advance of the designated year to enable cities to adequately plan to celebrate their year with international sustainability conferences, festivals and other events involving international urban networks.
Three cities have won the European Green Leaf award to date. In 2015 - the first year of the competition - Mollet del Valles (Spain) and Torres Vedras (Portugal) both received the award. The European Green Leaf Award 2017 went to Galway.
Award winning cities must have a consistent record of achieving high environmental standards, be committed to ongoing and ambitious goals for further environmental improvement and sustainable development and act as future role models to inspire other cities.
By 2050, it is estimated that four out of five Europeans will reside in towns and cities. But cities also embody many of the environmental challenges facing modern society such as congestion, pollution, water shortages, waste issues and the demand for public spaces. As a result municipal and city authorities are compelled to look for innovative and often ground breaking solutions.
Each entrant city is judged by a panel of international experts in twelve indicators areas: climate change mitigation and adaptation, local transport, green urban areas, nature and biodiversity, ambient air quality, quality of acoustic environment, waste production and management, water management, waste water treatment, eco innovation and sustainable employment, energy performance and integrated environmental management.
Cooperation and partnerships between authorities, citizens, business, educational and other stakeholders aimed at developing and improving urban living conditions are paramount to success.
In the winning cities to date there is evidence of increased tourism, international profile, new jobs, more emphasis on environmental projects, boost in local pride and belonging and increased public funding. There is also momentum to continue environmental improvements and access to the EGC and EGL Networks which are set up.
'The European Green Capital award now in its ninth year celebrates good planning for good urban living. And good urban living should not be restricted to big cities and towns.' stated Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. 'Think of our whole strategy as being like a tree. The Green Leaves are the smaller cities and towns, the branches are the Green Capital and bigger cities and the trunk is the European Commission providing the solid base from which we can grow these initiatives' he concluded.