Vertical integration

Looking at policy integration across different levels of administration.

3. Example: Electric mobility in Utrecht, the Netherlands

Another example of policy integration across levels of authority (EU, national and local) can be found with electric mobility in the Netherlands.

The city of Utrecht encourages the use of bicycles and public transport to reduce greenhouse gases, but is also interested in making the remaining motorised vehicles as clean as possible. To this end, the promotional programme Utrecht Electric was developed. The programme supports the use of electric vehicles by:

  • creating a network of charging pointsinstalling a charging station
  • cooperating with businesses and others in their efforts to promote electric mobility
  • greening the municipality's own fleet

Supportive policy exists at the national level in the Netherlands in the form of:

  • subsidies for the purchase of electric light-duty commercial vehicles and taxis
  • tax incentives for those who lease electric vehicles
  • motor vehicle tax exemptions for all fuel-efficient cars (initially in place until 2014 and subsequently extended to the end of 2015, with a review planned at that time)

Experience in the Netherlands has shown that the facilitating role of the local level is crucial, whereas the national level plays an important stimulation role through subsidies and incentives. Through its directives (particularly with regard to local air quality), the EU level creates the impetus for local action, primarily by obliging local authorities to take action on local transport emissions..

While these three levels of policy are complementary in many ways, there are still challenges. For example, national level actors note that it is difficult to adjust policies because local actors claim to need a tailor-made framework whereas the national level would prefer a country-wide policy. On the other hand, frequent changes in policy create difficulties for business since industry bases investment decisions on existing programmes and policies, meaning changes can be costly for them. All of these aspects need to be taken into consideration when considering new policy initiatives.

case study from the SHAPE-IT project (publication upcoming)