Covenant of Mayors
  Covenant Newsletter December 2012  
Moving sustainably, through an integrated strategy
{{{Interview with Gilles Retière, President of Nantes Métropole, France.}}} On 10-12 March 2013, Nantes Métropole – an active signatory and holder of the Green Capital Award – is to host an [international conference on sustainable mobility->]. Ahead of this high level event – the President of the urban community has agreed to give an interview to the Covenant of Mayors Office, one of the event organisers along with the [International Association of Public Transport (UITP)->].

In March 2013, Nantes will be hosting the UITP Conference on sustainable mobility, what are your expectations regarding this event?

The questions of sustainable mobility and budgetary constraints – which will be raised during this conference - are at the centre of the challenges to be faced by local authorities, today and in the future. Economic problems as we know them are long-lasting and highlight even more strongly the need to provide people with the quality of life they aspire to, the importance of preserving the environment and the planet’s resources and the duty of regional capitals to support the vitality of their territory in a difficult economic context. All these challenges must be answered, and this is what lies at the very heart of an effective mobility policy. Nantes has developed some solutions in this regard, which can be of interest to an international audience. Indeed, all initiatives which have proven successful in addressing the above-mentioned challenges must be analysed, shared, transposed.

We are only witnessing the beginning of these changes and it is thus necessary to start paving the way for the investments of the future.

Nantes Métropole features among the 2,000-plus signatories having adopted a SEAP. What does this roadmap foresee in terms of sustainable transport?

The SEAP of Nantes Métropole is based on the actions undertaken within our Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) and outlines the comprehensive and coherent action of the city. The current SUMP supports the objectives of Nantes’ Sustainable Energy Action Plan, echoing its challenges and largely contributing to the achievement of quantitative targets.

How has the city benefitted from past and on-going actions in this field?

Over the last twenty years, the implementation of a proactive public policy on mobility (development of a collective urban transport network throughout the territory, development of the cycling network, support of alternatives to the use of private car, etc.) has allowed Nantes Métropole to better meet the challenges of greenhouse gas emissions reduction and over-reliance on fossil fuels. In this rapidly changing environment, public mobility policies are becoming increasingly integrated. The articulation of policy planning, housing, employment and travel is a priority. Keeping pace with the evolution of lifestyles is also important, notably by promoting behaviour change through new services or communication techniques (such as climate and mobility workshops). This is also consistent with the need to ensure inter-agglomeration cooperation (eg, within the urban area or the Nantes-St Nazaire metropolitan centre) as the city-centric approach is not sufficient. To be effective, we must think in terms of living areas.

This action has played an important role in Nantes receiving the title of European Green Capital. The long-term action of Nantes Métropole in the field of public transport was praised by the jury.

Our commitment to the Covenant of Mayors has put forward the need to measure the impact of the actions outlined in our mobility plan in terms of greenhouse gases emissions. Thanks to various mobility surveys, climate impact assessment tools, and other such measures, we now know that mobility actions contribute to a large extent to the objective of reducing Nantes Métropole’s CO2 emissions and achieve a 30% per capita reduction by 2020 compared to 2003.

While the first two mobility plans strongly promoted public transport, the current one – while still foreseeing development in this field - puts a stronger emphasis on promoting walking and cycling.

Do you have any recommendations to make to fellow signatories seeking to develop sustainable urban mobility policies?

I think it’s important to stress that the implementation of a public policy on sustainable mobility requires coherence and coordination among all public policies: from housing to urban planning, from climate issues to job location, and from long-term public transport planning to multi-year budget projections.

** Signatories of the Covenant of Mayors interested to attend the sustainable mobility conference in Nantes will benefit from the same advantageous registration fee as UITP members; the related registration forms are available in EN and FR **

    >> Covenant Monthly Newsletter December 2012 <<
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  The sole responsibility for the content of this newsletter lies with the Covenant of Mayors Office. It does not necessary reflect the opinion of the European Union. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein. The Covenant of Mayors was set up with financial support of the European Commission and consists of five associations of European local authorities: Energy Cities, Climate Alliance, Eurocities, CEMR, Fedarene, and ICLEI Europe.

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