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Europe is a Union of cities and towns; around 75% of population of the EU have chosen urban areas as their place to live. But impacts of urbanisation extend, beyond city borders. Europeans have adopted urban lifestyles and they use city amenities such as cultural, educational or health services. More
- Key facts and messages
- Land uptake by urban development and transport infrastructure has been slightly faster than in the previous decade. This continues the trend of landscape fragmentation and increases other environmental impacts. Urbanisation rates vary substantially,... more
- Soil is being lost due to intensive soil sealing – about 4% of Europe’s total land area is sealed and the demand for urbanisation and transport infrastructure is rising. In addition, it is estimated that around 18% of agricultural soils... more
- Diffuse pollution from both agriculture and urban areas remains a major pressure on Europe’s freshwater. Cost-effective measures to tackle both sources exist and can be implemented through the river basin management plans of the Water Framework... more
- For the three-quarters of Europe's population that lives in cities and towns, a good urban environment is a precondition for a good quality of life. This quality of life depends inter alia on clean air and water, efficient transport, low noise... more
- Despite substantial reductions in some urban air pollutants, data for the period 1997 to 2008 show that for any given year up to 40 to 60 % of urban citizens can be exposed to concentrations of either particulate matter or ozone above the EU... more
- Cities, due to the high concentration of people and activities, deliver and demand goods and services that impact their own areas and regions far away. While cities in Europe contribute 69 % of the continent's CO2 emissions, an urban resident... more
- Despite some improvements, European cities and their inhabitants will still face a number of important challenges in the future. They are highly vulnerable to many impacts of climate change such as heat waves, water scarcity, flooding, and related... more
- Cities can be considered as 'ecosystems', albeit with a high technical component. Their urban metabolism is an open and dynamic system, which consumes, transforms and releases materials and energy, develops and adapts to changes, and interacts... more
- The urban environment is under pressure from sources both inside and outside individual urban areas, and local situations are influenced by national and European legislation as well as programmes. Therefore, a broadly integrated approach from... more
- Every 10% increase in green space is associated with a reduction in diseases equivalent to an increase of five years of life expectancy. more
- Modelling studies for urban temperatures over the next 70 years project that in urban areas where the green cover is reduced by 10 %, urban temperatures could increase by 8.2 °C above current levels. more
- Land covered by artificial surfaces (e.g. for residential areas, industrial and commercial sites) increased by 6 258 km2 (3.4 %) from 2000-2006. more
- In Europe, around 75 % of the population lives in urban areas and this is projected to increase to about 80 % by 2020. more
- Cities emit 69 % of Europe's CO2. more
- Urban transport accounts for 70 % of the pollutants and 40 % of the greenhouse gas emissions from European road transport. more
- A city affects a large area outside its own boundaries. For example, London alone is thought to need an area of almost 300 times its geographical size to satisfy its demands and for disposal of its waste and emissions. more
- Air pollutants, including fine particles and ozone precursors, can travel thousands of kilometres across the continent by air. In many cities, only a part of local air pollution is generated by the city itself. more
Air pollution in Europe comes with a high price tag, according to a new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA). While policies have improved air quality overall, air pollution is still the main environmental health hazard, resulting in high costs for health care systems, unhealthy workers and an estimated 400 000 premature deaths in Europe in 2011.
Slovenian capital Ljubljana has been named European Green Capital 2016 at a ceremony in Copenhagen, the current holder of the Green Capital title.
At least 110 million people are adversely affected by noise from Europe’s busiest roads alone. People need to escape this pollution and access quiet places to work, relax and live a healthy life. Such ‘quiet areas’ should be protected under EU legislation, but how does this work in practice?
High pollutant levels currently experienced in parts of France, Belgium and Germany are leading some areas to take urgent action to lower air pollution – for example, public transport is free in Paris over the weekend as an incentive for people to avoid car use.
Ground-level ozone exceeded legal limits in every Member State and at many individual measurement sites during summer 2013, according to the European Environment Agency's annual report on this harmful pollutant. Although the number of exceedances is high, they have decreased over recent decades, the report notes.
Many cities in Europe are changing, according to a new report which points to rapid transformations in urban transport in some areas. While cycling and efficient public transport are becoming the norm in some urban areas, Europe’s transport sector is still a major contributor to excessive levels of greenhouse gases, air pollution and noise, the report says.
A Swiss communication campaign promoting the use of better tyres has won the European Soundscape Award 2013. The prize, presented by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the Dutch Noise Abatement Society at the Gouden Decibel Award Ceremony in the Netherlands Tuesday evening, recognises initiatives that can help cut noise and create more attractive acoustic environments.
Around 90 % of city dwellers in the European Union (EU) are exposed to one of the most damaging air pollutants at levels deemed harmful to health by the World Health Organisation (WHO). This result comes from the latest assessment of air quality in Europe, published by the European Environment Agency (EEA).