Covenant of Mayors
  Covenant Quarterly Newsletter February 2014  
Energy transition in motion
{{{Interview with Martine Aubry, President of Lille Métropole (France).}}} As the President of a Covenant-signatory local authority, Martine Aubry shares the high CO2 reduction ambitions of her territory: 30% by 2020, above the EU target of 20 and also slightly exceeding the Covenant first estimated average! 2020 is not far along the road and numerous initiatives – particularly in the fields of mobility and sustainable buildings – are paving the way towards that direction. In this exclusive interview with the Covenant of Mayors Office, Martine Aubry also touches on the recent loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) that will allow Lille to enhance its public transport system.

In 2011, you committed to the Covenant of Mayors 20% CO2 reduction objectives. What progress has been made since ?

The Climate Plan approved on 18 October 2013 by Lille Métropole holds high ambitions for the future of our region by setting the energy transition in motion. Lille has a CO2 reduction objective exceeding that of the European Union : we indeed aim to reduce our emissions by 30% by 2020, compared to 1990 levels. In 2007, emissions from the territory had already dropped by 21 %. In addition, we will seek to multiply by 5 the local production of renewable energy by 2020, notably relying on the development of heat networks.

This being said, substantial progress has already been made over the past several years as public policies have been implemented to reduce energy consumption and generate renewable energy :

- In terms of urban planning, the multifunctional "intense city", less travel-intensive, has paved the way for increased connections between living environments and public transport networks and has led to state-of-the-art development projects such as the eco-neighbourhoods.

- As relates to waste collection and treatment, Lille Métropole’s organic recovery centre can produce biogas which is then injected into the natural gas network and used as fuel for the bus fleet.

- In the field of transport, we can mention the promotion and support of car-sharing, the development of the metro system, high quality bus services and the launch of the bike sharing scheme.

Lille Métropole will soon benefit from a €300 million loan from the European Investment Bank for the modernization of its metro. What social and economic benefits do you expect from this project ?

Lille Métropole is proud to have obtained this loan from the European Investment Bank for the modernization of the first automated metro in the world. This modernization project of is one of the key actions of the Urban Transit Plan, one of the priority objectives for the 2010-2020 decade being to bring the share of private car transport in the modal split to less than 35 %, which fully contributes to the climate plan .

By doubling the amount of subway trains, we seek to encourage people to rely even further on public transport and we also respond to the anticipated steady increase of traffic (between 2001 and 2010, traffic on line 1 increased by 55 %). The project also addresses social issues related to the rising cost of energy, including fuel poverty. In strengthening the transport system and increasing capacity, the project contributes to improving the quality of life of users : 420 passengers will be able to board the 27 new trains of 52 meter long. By raising the number of yearly trips from 160 million to an expected 265, it is set to improve the daily lives of people by providing them with efficient and sustainable public transport services.

Aside from mobility, could you highlight some other key sectors of actions highlighted in Lille Métropole’s Sustainable Energy Action Plan ?

Besides mobility, one of our top priorities is housing and habitat, including the reduction of energy consumption through the rehabilitation of 100,000 homes by 2020 and the construction of new efficient buildings (6,000 per year). For our citizens, the priority is to limit expenses, reduce energy bills, tackle fuel poverty and also contribute to the conservation of energy resources.

To meet this challenge, Lille Métropole, with the support of the Nord Pas de Calais Region and the French Energy Agency (ADEME), provides guidance and counselling to the million inhabitants of the territory. Nine energy advisors are now spread across the 8 territories that make up our city. They provide residents with concrete answers, approaches and techniques relating to the control of energy consumption and the use of renewable energy.

These advisers work in cooperation with the Sustainable Habitat House, co- funded by the city of Lille, which opened its doors on 15 October 2013. To increase overall refurbishment rate, Lille Metropole also offers a €650 subsidy, in addition to the state one, for roof-based renovation.

In parallel, this drives the economic development of the building industry with home improvement operations that boost the eco-construction/renovation sector. Supporting this industry is also a way to train the workforce to the new thermal performance jobs, develop professional competences, promote green businesses and increase skilled labour.

    >> Covenant Monthly Newsletter February 2014 <<
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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, and Fedarene.

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