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EU Mobility Week focuses on clean air

More than 2,000 towns and cities to take part in 12th European Mobility Week under the slogan ‘Clean air – It’s your move!’

The impact of transport on local air quality in the EU is the major focus of the 12th annual European Mobility Week taking place this week (September 16-22).

Aberdeen, Inverness, Luton and the London borough of Southwark are among the 2,000 towns and cities in 43 countries are taking part in the week-long campaign, which is this year operating under the slogan ‘Clean air – It’s your move!’

Defra and DECC have launched a call for evidence to assess the impact of EU environmental legislation on the UK

EU Mobility Week 2013 focuses on improving air quality by encouraging EU citizens to walk, cycle or use public transport instead of taking the car where possible

The European Commission-supported week of events aims to encourage European citizens to improve their health and wellbeing by changing their day-to-day mobility behaviour by using public transport or cycling instead of using the car where possible.

Aberdeen city council is bookending the week with two road closures, the first along 3km of the beachfront and the second in the city centre on September 22 from 8am to 5pm. The council is also set to launch its network of electric vehicle charging points, which will be free for the public to use.

Southwark council will be closing Southwark Bridge for the day on September 22, as well as offering a week of activities focused on cycling. Meanwhile, Luton council is set to launch its Luton to Dunstable guided busway on September 25.

Commenting on the launch of the week, Siim Kallas, European Commissioner for Transport and Mobility, said that the campaign would help to remind everyone that “we all have a part to play in fighting urban air pollution”.

He added: “Changing habits, for example by commuting by bicycle rather than taking the car, or opting for public transport, can enhance our quality of life.”

Year of Air

The week coincides with the European ‘Year of Air 2013’ and comes ahead of the EU’s planned review of air quality policy through its Thematic Strategy on Air Quality.

Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment, said:  “This year we focus on the impact of our daily choices on air and our health. Cities have a great role to play when it comes to improving options for transport. By raising awareness and offering greener alternatives, cities can become more attractive places for people to live. When it comes to clean air, it’s your move!”

According to the Commission, 2,158 cities representing 147.6 million EU citizens registered for Mobility Week in 2012, with 7717 permanent measures since implemented, mainly focusing on cycling and walking infrastructure; traffic calming; improving transport accessibility and raising awareness of sustainable transport behaviour.

European Mobility Week started in 2002, following on from the success in France of ‘In Town Without My Car!’ day, which began four years’ earlier. The latter initiative still runs in September each year to encourage towns and cities to close streets to motorised vehicles for a day.

This year European local authorities are also being invited to sign up to the European Mobility Week Charter and publish their week of programmes and events on the campaign’s website. Towns and cities planning a full week of events, implementing permanent measures and setting up a car-free day can also apply to win the European Mobility Week Award.

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