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1999 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 293/55

Opinion of the Committee of the Regions on ‘Alternative traffic in towns’

(1999/C 293/11)


having regard to the decision taken by its bureau on 10 march 1999, under the 4th paragraph of
article 198c of the treaty establishing the european community, to direct commission 4 for spatial
planning, urban issues, energy and environment to draw up the opinion ‘alternative traffic in towns’;

having regard to the contribution of commission 3 — trans-european networks, transport, information

society (co-rapporteur: Mr Gustâv);

having regard to the draft opinion (cdr 105/99 rev 1) adopted by commission 4 on 16 april 1999
(rapporteur: Ms Sally Powell, co-rapporteur: Mr Gustâv),

adopted the following opinion at its plenary session of 2 and 3 June 1999 (meeting of 3 June).

1. Introduction 2. General comments

The Alternative Traffic In Towns (ALTER) project was launched The Committee of the Regions offers its wholehearted support
at the first joint Environment and Transport Minister’s Euro- to the aims and objectives of the ALTER project. The Com-
pean Council in April 1998 by UK Deputy Prime Minister mittee of the Regions recognizes that Alter appreciates that
John Prescott with the support of European Commissioners there is a continued need for traffic to sustain the life of our
Bjerregaard, Kinnock and Papoutsis. cities and their peoples and that the promotion of low emission
vehicles must be compatible with efficient transportation. It
welcomes and emphasises the fact that local authorities
themselves can adjust its measures to different current econ-
The project aims to create a clear and rising demand for zero omic, social and traffic conditions in different parts of the
and low emission vehicles among European local and regional European Union.
authorities. In this way, it is hoped to permit volume pro-
duction and lower costs for both public and private users of
such vehicles.
Alternative Traffic in Towns is a key subject of interest to
European local and regional authorities. The Committee of the
Regions is keen to help ensure the success of the project.
The ALTER project has three main provisions, which local and
regional authorities are asked to agree. These provisions are:

ALTER recognizes the need for policy integration across

• to renew municipal transport vehicles on a clean or near different policy areas, something for which the Committee of
zero emission basis, as soon as it is feasible; the Regions has long argued. The ALTER initiative takes a
holistic approach by involving all levels of government
and covering transport, energy, spatial planning and the
• to undertake, where practical, to convert those vehicles environment. It facilitates the use of clean or near zero
with extended lifetimes to lower emission or cleaner fuels; emission vehicles whilst simultaneously encouraging the exten-
sion of zones that are open only to these types of vehicles.

• to introduce and progressively extend areas of cities to

which only traffic with clean or near zero emissions would
have access. The integrated approach includes employment and social
inclusion. There are exciting employment benefits that are
linked to ALTER. For example, the significant job opportunities
arising from the labour intensive work involved in converting
These provisions are set out in the ‘Declaration on Alternative existing vehicles. Training in the necessary skills can be given
traffic in Towns’ that local and regional authorities are being to the unemployed.
asked to sign. The full declaration is annexed to this report.

In coordinating joint action by a very large number of

The declaration was launched at the Florence Convention municipalities across Europe, ALTER can demonstrate that
which took place in October 1998. Already about 130 Euro- there is a major potential demand for clean vehicles which will
pean municipalities have signed up to the ALTER declaration. justify transition from prototype to volume production, with
The convention received a great deal of interest from the lower unit costs for producers and lower prices for both
motor industry, who attended in significant numbers. municipalities and private users.
C 293/56 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 13.10.1999

Through such a major demand shift, ALTER can enhance a The Committee therefore welcomes the indications from the
range of Commission sponsored projects which have pro- European Investment bank that it can co-finance both urban
moted the purchase of clean vehicle prototypes, or the use of infrastructure projects related to the ALTER project and the
cleaner fuels. In so doing, it can assist governments, the purchase of clean vehicle fleets, and from the European
European Commission and local and regional authorities to Investment Fund that it can offer venture capital and loan
fulfill their commitments to improve the quality of the urban guarantees for SME investment in developing and producing
environment. clean vehicle technology, and SME development of facilities
for conversion of vehicles to cleaner fuel use.

The project seeks to involve all sectors — government,

local government, business and others. The Committee fully
endorses this approach. It is essential to recognize the need for
all tiers of government and all sectors to work together to Schedules for the introduction of supporting measures to
promote ALTER in an integrated way. stimulate the use of low emission vehicles, e.g. zones for clean
cars only, has to consider local conditions, alternative routes
available etc. and give the operators reasonable time to adapt
themselves to the new rules. This is especially essential for
ALTER recognizes the need for a bottom-up approach. In line goods distributors and for public transport.
with Local Agenda 21 principles, ALTER understands the
global impact achieved by local actions.

The COR is of the opinion that it is essential to reinforce the The Committee asks that the other European institutions,
ALTER-project in a way which guarantees influence from local Member State governments, business, especially the motor
and regional authorities, stimulates cooperation and exchange industry, and all other interested organizations to commit
of experiences between all parts involved and provides infor- themselves to the ALTER project and facilitate the involvement
mation about the progress of the project in different cities and of local and regional authorities. In particular, the Committee
regions in the Union. calls on these organizations to:

The exchange of good practice between authorities is vital to • publicly commit to ALTER, thereby raising awareness
strengthen the scope of the ALTER project. In addition, it is about the project;
necessary to implement a coherent communications policy
about projects which come under this programme so that the
general public in the EU see how they are affected.

• assure sufficient core finance for ALTER to sustain inte-

grated liaison between municipalities and producers of
vehicles and less polluting fuels in its implementation and
to help municipalities (particularly the least prosperous) to
implement the accompanying measures needed to pro-
3. Recommendations mote the use of cleaner vehicles and to replace or adapt
the vehicles they have;

The Committee of the Regions welcomes the initiative of EU

Ministers and European Commissioners in initiating the ALTER
proposal. If successful, ALTER could lead to significant • increase financial support for organizations keen to pro-
improvements to the lives of European citizens. The Com- mote Alternative Traffic in Towns, as local and regional
mittee will work to promote the initiative and ensure the authorities do not always have sufficient resources;
project’s success.

• encourage the use of low emission vehicles as part of an

By endorsing the ALTER project, the Committee of the Regions integrated and sustainable transport policy. Accompanying
calls on all European local and regional authorities to sign up measures could include parking zones, park and ride
to the ALTER declaration, thereby increasing and accelerating schemes, cycle and pedestrian facilities and so on
its impact. depending on local conditions;

However willing, local and regional authorities are not always

able to carry out the work of promoting alternative forms of • increase support for research and technological develop-
transport in isolation. Many municipalities do not have the ment work on issues concerned with alternative traffic and
financial resources or powers to undertake this work. particularly the use of less polluting fuels;
13.10.1999 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 293/57

• cooperate fully in enabling local level initiatives traffic with clean or near zero emissions would have
to introduce and extend zones to which only access.

Brussels, 3 June 1999.

The President
of the Committee of the Regions


to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions

The Declaration of Florence on alternative Traffic in Towns

In view of the atmospheric and noise pollution of our cities from vehicle emissions, the damage caused by this to the
health of our citizens, and the resulting degradation of our heritage and environment,

With regard for the need to advance the Rio de Janeiro and Kyoto inter-governmental agreements on the environment,

Appreciating, that there is continued need for traffic to sustain the life of our cities and their peoples, and that this
need should, first and foremost, be met by the development of an efficient and environmentally sustainable public
transport network;

Recognising the progress shown by many vehicle manufacturers in prototyping or producing cleaner emission

Conscious that the efficient coordination of information from European Towns and cities can identify, organise and
programme a cumulative increase in demand, to enable manufacturers to plan the production of cleaner emission
vehicles and thus to accelerate transition from prototypes into volume production,

Realizing that a rising demand for clean emission vehicles should enable producers to lower costs, and achieve more
competitive prices for the purchase of clean emission or near zero emission vehicles by public authorities and
corporate and private users,

Allowing that towns and cities in most cases are not responsible for country, provincial, regional or national roads,

Anticipating that joint action by towns and cities, by changing the cost of clean traffic, will influence the readiness of
highway authorities to cooperate in the extension of the areas to which regulations concerning clean traffic will in
due course apply,

Understanding that the ALTER (Alternative Traffic in Towns) Project implies that subscribing cities:

• Agree, from as soon as feasible, to renew their own transport on a clean or near zero emission basis;

• Undertake, where practical, to convert those of their vehicles with extended lifetimes to lower emission or
cleaner fuel;

• Introduce and progressively extend areas of their cities to which only traffic with clean or near zero
emissions would have access;

• Decide themselves the categories of vehicles and the date from which measures taken to implement these
three main commitments would apply;

• Commit themselves to inform ALTER-Europe of the categories and anticipated number of vehicles
concerned in implementing these measures so that the new demand by such categories can be aggregated
and transmitted to manufacturers and fuel suppliers;
C 293/58 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 13.10.1999

With respect to the above, and on its/her behalf hereby solemnly subscribe the town/city of
....................................................... to the aims and objectives indicated above, which will, following its discussion and
proposals for amendments, provide the basis for a joint declaration to be signed by all the cities present at the
Convention of European Cities at Florence on 23-24 October.



Opinion of the Committee of the Regions on ‘The European Commission’s Communication

“Sustainable urban development in the European Union: a framework for action”’

(1999/C 293/12)


having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the
Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions ‘Sustainable Urban Development in
the European Union: A Framework for Action’ [COM(1998) 605 final];

having regard to the decision taken by the European Commission on 4 November 1998, under the first
paragraph of Article 198c of the Treaty establishing the European Community, to consult the Committee
of the Regions on the matter;

having regard to the decision taken by its Bureau on 15 July 1998 to direct Commission 4 for Spatial
Planning, Urban Issues, Energy and Environment to draw up the relevant opinion;

having regard to the Draft Opinion (CdR 115/99 rev. 1) adopted by Commission 4 on 16 April 1999
(rapporteurs: Mrs Sally Powell and Mrs Eva-Riitta Siitonen),

adopted the following opinion at its plenary session of 2 and 3 June 1999 (meeting of 3 June)

1. Introduction usher the EU’s urban policy into the new century and act as a
guide for future urban policy. Nevertheless, action in the field
of urban policy must not be allowed to lead to an extension of
the EU’s powers.

1.1. The Committee of the Regions welcomes the develop-

ment of urban policy achieved within the Framework for
Action, and is particularly pleased to see the urban agenda
move forward so promptly after the previous communication 1.2. The recognition given to the central role played by
‘Towards an Urban Agenda in the European Union’. The cities, towns and urban areas, and the importance of urban
latest communication, ‘Sustainable Urban Development in the policy on the EU agenda, is the result of many years of work,
European Union: A Framework for Action’, represents an especially on the part of local authorities and the organisations
important step forward in the recognition of urban areas and that represent them. The COR has itself argued for such
in the co-ordinating of the urban policy and actions within the recognition, for example in its Opinion on ‘Urban development
EU. The Committee of the Regions also supports and welcomes and the European Union’ (1995), which commented on the
the integrated approach to urban policy set out in the need for a greater urban dimension to EU policies and in its
Framework. The Framework is a positive step on the way to opinion on the European Spatial Development Perspective
developing a truly integrated approach to urban policy. It will (ESDP), which focuses on the vital role of towns in regional