At a ceremony in Brussels yesterday the city of Nantes, western France became European Green Capital 2013 succeeding Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain. During the year Nantes is green capital of Europe, the city will promote environmentally friendly urban living.
Nantes, France’s sixth largest city, situated at the confluence of the rivers Loire, Erdre and Sèvre is 55 km upstream on the river Loire from France’s Atlantic coast. The city itself has a population of 283,000 with more than 600,000 living in the greater Nantes metropolitan area of 534.9 km².
At yesterday’s ceremony in the Belgian capital, EU commissioner Potočnik said, “I congratulate Nantes on receiving the title of European Green Capital 2013, a title that brings with it great responsibility. The Award recognizes environmental best practices, including in the areas of local contribution to sustainable transport and land use, green urban areas, water consumption, and the fight against global climate change," reports RTT News.
European Green Capital Award
The European Green Capital Award is presented to a city judged to be in the forefront of environmentally friendly urban living. Experts assess cities based on 12 environmental criteria. Candidates for the European Green Capital Award are then evaluated by a jury on the basis of their commitment to on-going and ambitious goals for further environmental improvement. Other factors taken into account are sustainable development and the extent to which a European Green Capital city can act as a role model and promote best practice in other European cities.
Five cities have been awarded the title of European Green Capital since its inception in 2010. Stockholm was first, followed by Hamburg in 2011 and Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain in 2012; Nantes will pass the title to Copenhagen for 2014.
The Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne in the centre of Nantes. The moat, which is now castle gardens, forms one of the green spaces in the centre of the city of Nantes.
Nantes has many ‘green’ credentials that contributed to it becoming the European Green Capital 2013:
• The entire city population of Nantes lives within 300 metres of a green area
• There are 57 m² of green space per person
• There are 100,000 trees in the city
• 15 % of residents use public transport daily
• Nantes has an ambitious Climate Action Plan to reduce CO2 emissions by 30 % per capita by 2020 compared to 2003
• 60 % of the land area in Nantes is either agricultural or a green area
• The city has four Natura 2000 sites and 33 natural zones of floral, faunal or ecological interest.
To celebrate Nantes becoming European Green Capital 2013, the city has also produced a travelling exhibition called Aéroflorale II which will tour European cities throughout 2013. Aéroflorale II features a "plant expedition", which will showcase Nantes' contribution to environmental best practices, and raise awareness of the European Green Capital Award, through biological experiments and discoveries.
In the city of Nantes itself, there is a full calendar of events to share to celebrate the city becoming European Green Capital 2013. The calendar includes the 5th World Forum on Human Rights entitled ‘Sustainable Development/Human Rights: a common struggle?’ (May 2013); the 10th Ecocity Conference (September 2013); and the third world meeting of Mexico’s pact-signing cities in the Ecocity Builders movement.