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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, with coastal and mountain areas among the... 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 are affected by compaction. 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 Directive. Full compliance with the Nitrates... 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 levels and green spaces. 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 limits. Environmental noise, mainly from transport,... 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 consumes less energy than a rural resident. Urban... 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 health problems, and will still need to cope... 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 with humans and other ecosystems. Therefore they... 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 the local to the European level and across sectors... 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
New vans in the European Union (EU) must become more efficient to meet carbon dioxide targets in 2017 and 2020, according to provisional data published by the European Environment Agency (EEA).
Air-related legislation in the EU aims to protect human health and the environment from pollution. But this legislation is not always fully implemented. Bridging this gap is the subject of a new publication from the European Environment Agency (EEA).
Floods in Central Europe have caused deaths and widespread property damage across parts of the Czech Republic, Germany and Austria. Such events are likely to increase in Europe for several reasons including climate change, according to recent assessments from the European Environment Agency (EEA).
Poor air quality can have serious impacts on our health and the environment. How is Europe’s air quality? What are the main sources of air pollutants? How do they affect our health and the environment? What does Europe do to improve air quality? The new edition of the European Environment Agency’s (EEA) Signals takes a closer look.
Austria, Germany and Belgium recycled the largest proportion of municipal waste in Europe in 2010. Although some countries have rapidly increased recycling rates, Europe is still wasting vast quantities of valuable resources by sending them to landfill, and many countries risk falling short of legally binding recycling targets.
Air pollutant emissions were above legal limits in eight Member States in 2011, preliminary data shows. In 2010, 12 Member States exceeded these limits, according to final official data reported under the European Union’s National Emission Ceilings (NEC) Directive.
Increased flooding is likely to be one of the most serious effects from climate change in Europe over coming decades. Some of the conditions which may contribute to urban flooding are highlighted in an Eye on Earth map from the European Environment Agency (EEA).
Ozone pollution still exceeded target levels in Europe during summer 2012, but the number of exceedances of the alert threshold was lower than in any year since monitoring started in 1997. However, almost all EU Member States failed to keep levels of the pollutant within targets set to protect human health.