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Unit 4: Challenges to cooperation

Unit 4: Challenges to cooperation

by Bonnie Fenton -
Number of replies: 13

Please put your responses to tne Unit 4 task here. Thanks!

In reply to Bonnie Fenton

Re: Unit 4: Challenges to cooperation

by Deleted user -

A very big project that has not been realised in our region is the Multimodal Transport Centre (definitely stopped in 2004). The plan was to realise an industrial zone around a new to dig harbour along the Waal river.  The zone would cover 500 hectares of a rural area. The province of Gelderland, the city region Arnhem Nijmegen and the municipalities concerned first agreed on the plans. A lot of private investors had already invested  € 87 million. After several years of investments and an enormous resistance from the population and environmental agencies at last politicians changed their minds after several juridical procedures where their plans were refused.

What went wrong? In my opinion the plan was too big for this region. Public resistance has been strongly underestimated. Maybe if the plan had been less radical resistance would have been less. After several years the smaller plan could have been expanded little by little.

I think nostalgic sentiments is a 'problem' that cannot be solved. Every new plan that means a change in the near environment of people will lead to resistance out of the sentiment that people want to preserve the situation they know. Just imagine what it means that you have to leave the house your family has lived in for several generations just for the sake of another new road or railway. For some people money can never be a sufficient compensation for the history they will lose.

In reply to Deleted user

Re: Unit 4: Challenges to cooperation

by Bonnie Fenton -

Hi again Bert,

It's interesting to see the power of citizens when they strongly disagree with something. Looking ahead to Unit 6, your answer to this question tells me that there is a very lively - and apparently very effective - culture of citizen participation in the Netherlands.

One thing I noticed in your answer (above) is that you call the project a "multi-modal transport centre" but what you describe is a new harbour and (large) industrial zone in a rural area, which is a very different thing. If it was presented that way to citizens, I can see how they would feel deceived. I'm curious to know what legal arguments were presented against the centre in court. Were they based on environmental concerns or something else?

Bonnie

In reply to Bonnie Fenton

Re: Unit 4: Challenges to cooperation

by Deleted user -

Hi again Bonnie.

The idea of teh Multi-modal Transport Centre (MTC) was to create a place where three modes met (water (Waal river), road (A15 highway)  and rail (the new to build Betuweroute), where containers could be shifted between these three modes (the Rotterdam Harbour has been enlarged tremendously but has the goal that in 2033 45% of the goods should be shipped by inland shipping, 20 % by rail and only 35 % by road. This MTC should play an important role in that scenario.) To make access of ships possible a new harbour had to be dug. This three-modal-shift-centre should attract more enterprises, so a larger area had to be reserved for future expansion. So the MTC would have grown out to be an industrial zone built up around a three-mode service.

The legal arguments were that the plans did not fit in the regional long-term plans of the local governments (activities planned were not allowed in these plans). Furthermore the effects on the environment had not been researched sufficiently. Probably those arguments could have been met, but the political situation had changed: the two main municipalities concerned opposed to the plans.

And you are right that the Netherlands have a lively culture of citizen participation. I now see a search for making people aware of the complexity of decision making. The reaction that the authority does what it wants despite of what citizens want is heard regularly. Also there is a long time between plans (where citizens are heard) and realisation and citizens want to see their influence realised at once. So the management of expectations should be better. 

In reply to Bonnie Fenton

Re: Unit 4: Challenges to cooperation

by Deleted user -

Hi Bonnie,

A small aspect i forgot to mention onthe MTC-business is the A73 highway, that enables tranport to the south. I found a picture of the plans of the MTC that illustrates the idea.

MTC Valburg

In reply to Bonnie Fenton

Re: Unit 4: Challenges to cooperation

by Bonnie Fenton -

There was an interesting article on the front page of my local paper in northern Germany (link in German but you can translate it) on the weekend demonstrating a current and concrete example of a challenge to cooperation. I thought this might be of particular interest to Paul because it's about electric mobility. The article states that the federal transport minister wants to create a law to make the purchase of electric cars more attractive. The two concrete examples named were advantages in parking in public space and the use of bus lanes. Interestingly both the "standard" (ADAC) and the "eco" (VCD) automobilie clubs in Germany speak out against the idea although their reasons are different. The ADAC says that parking is already so tight in Germany, it wouldn't make sense to limit it further by making some spots exclusive for electric car drivers. The VCD claims the use of bus lanes by electric cars would slow down bus travel (and there is already an example of this in Norway following a similar law there). Even the association of local governments is not supportive of the new proposed law, saying offering any privileges to a single group needs to be "looked at very carefully" and that bus lanes should be maintained for buses, taxis and ambulances. 

In principle, the government wants to do something to support electric mobility but what I found most interesting was that the paper didn't cite anyone who was in favour of the action. I wasn't sure if that was an editorial choice, lazy journalism of they couldn't find anyone who liked the idea. 

Anyway, I thought the example might be of interest to you all.

Bonnie

In reply to Bonnie Fenton

Re: Unit 4: Challenges to cooperation

by Deleted user -

Hi Bonnie,

Thank you for the interesting article. Good to see how many parties oppose to this plan as it promotes only one way of transport (and you can wonder if you really want more people to travel by car). I guess the people involved will exchange experiences ith the Netherlands, where the stimulation of EV has been extreme?

In reply to Deleted user

Re: Unit 4: Challenges to cooperation

by Bonnie Fenton -

Yes, indeed, the support of electric mobility seems to be quite strong in the Netherlands. There and Norway seem to be the forerunners. But as far as I know, no one in the Netherlands has tried to suggest giving electric cars access to bus lanes, have they? They've given all sorts of benefits to electric car buyers in Norway - many of which I would call counter-productive to overall goals of sustainable mobility. I think part of the difference between Germany and the Netherlands is that Germany is a car-building nation and the government is doing what it can to encourage and support German industry (even though the car industry doesn't seem so thrilled about giving up on their old combustion engines). There is also an existing national government goal - established about 5 years ago now - to have 1,000,000 electric cars on the roads of Germany by 2020. I think they're somewhere around 12,000 now, so far away from the goal - but still not willing to give up on it yet.

In reply to Bonnie Fenton

Re: Unit 4: Challenges to cooperation

by Deleted user -

I think the support for electric mobility is in the first place a political priority (the aim is 1.000.000 electric vehicles in 2025). Especially the big cities invest in electric mobility: in Amsterdam you could park your electric car for free in the inner city (near a charging unit) until april 1st 2012. Now you still have a priority in getting a parking license. Several governments give financial support to buy an electric car (In Rotterdam you can buy an Nissan electric van from € 4950!). On 30-06-2014 we had over 37,000 electric cars in the Netherlands (see http://www.rvo.nl/onderwerpen/duurzaam-ondernemen/energie-en-milieu-innovaties/elektrisch-rijden/stand-van-zaken/cijfers). I must admit that distances in the Netherlands are more suitable for electric vehicles. Maybe the BMW electric cars will help (but here you see that the BMW i8 has a range of 50 kilometers and a topspeed of 250 km/h. That has very little to do with sustainability.

I have not heard of  access to buslanes either, but there have been trials for clean vans on buslanes.  There are not many supporters for giving access to other categories of vehicles to buslanes, because it would hinder the efficiency (hum hum) of public transport and public transport is favored above individual motorised transport modes.

In reply to Bonnie Fenton

Re: Unit 4: Challenges to cooperation

by Deleted user -

Hallo Bonnie, Jelena and Bert,

Thanks for the article from the Berlin newspaper, very interesting.

 

Clearly, a number of incentives are still required to build consumer demand for electric cars across Europe. We in the municipality sector can help by providing free parking and free electricity, but not to the extent that it will force out 'normal' car owners. There is a conflicting demand to support our local economies and maintain activity in town and city centres due to the recent (and in some cases continuing) economic downturn. The idea of electric cars using bus lanes is an incentive but (as Bert says) we also need to promote greater use of buses and public transport. Any potential journey time savings or reduction in congestion by electric cars would in my opinion be low at this stage.

 

On another note we are hoping to get a Nissan env200 for a one week trial to investigate its use for deliveries (clean logistics!) and also minor maintenance duties. The Nissan LEAF and lithium-ion batteries are manufactured here in Sunderland, and for the env200 electric van the battery is shipped out and assembled in Spain (Barca).Very exciting........

 

Paul from Sunderland

In reply to Deleted user

Re: Unit 4: Challenges to cooperation

by Bonnie Fenton -

Hi Paul,

I'd be really curious to hear the outcome of your week with the env200 and what kind of experience you have with it. I  must admit I'm a much bigger fan of electric delivery vehicles and electric buses than of electric cars. Given the time spent on the road (8-16 honrs vs. 1-2 per day), there's a significantly greater gain to be made on emissions reductions.

But you're right about the confliciting demands. That's where the real challenge is: to bring those parties to the planning table together to see what kind of fair compromise can be found based on an agreed-upon set of priorities and goals.

Bonnie

In reply to Deleted user

Re: Unit 4: Challenges to cooperation

by Bonnie Fenton -

Hi again Paul,

One more short note: by coincidence, just yesterday I received this

from a friend about EVs in Norway. It's satire but I found it interesting how it's making its way into the culture. You'll need to turn on the subtitles (bottom right).

clown

Bonnie

In reply to Bonnie Fenton

Re: Unit 4: Challenges to cooperation

by Jelena Nikolić -

Starting the process of drafting a Plan requires political support. Basically, initiative comes from a legal obligation or pressure of the private sector. It is rare to start drafting a plan, because it is the vision of the local authorities. Given that the mandate is 4 years, most politicians are afraid to take drastic steps that lead to big changes, because of fear of losing the trust of the voters.

The creation, adoption and implementation of a Plan is a long process, which costs money, and the realization is not immediately visible, instead, politicians choose actions that people immediately see (paving streets, "make-up" of existing surfaces, etc..).

But this way of acting does not solve the problems of traffic, and at the end leads to spending money from budget in ineffective manner.

This could be solved by training employees in local government, in order to encourage them to take the initiative and with the help of politicians, to reach high quality solutions to improve traffic.

The selection of team members and leaders, is a major challenge. So far, the team leader was person with political function. The problem is that political function, knowledge, and organizational skills do not always go together.


In reply to Jelena Nikolić

Re: Unit 4: Challenges to cooperation

by Bonnie Fenton -

Hi again Jelena,

Your observations show that EU directives (clean air, etc.) can be really useful to make sure that things improve at the local level. They ensure that everyone is on a "level playing field" so no one has special advantages.

With regard to the challenge of political support for long-term and wide-ranging planning, I think the issue of 4-year terms and the fear of not being re-elected can be a problem everywhere (although it's probably more extreme in some places than others). The interesting thing about sustainable urban mobility planning processes is that getting a wide range of involvement from all sectors also ensures that you have more understanding of the measures you want to undertake, more buy-in and more support in the long term. (But I agree that it may be hard to convince a politician of that!).

In a case like yours, one thing that might help is to find a way to send a delegation from the city (including politicians, some experts and media) to a comparable city that is doing the kind of work you would like to do, If politicians hear the message from a peer (e.g. another mayor) and sees what works in another city, they may be more willing to try something more interesting at home. And of course the media can bring the message back to the citizens. It's the sort of thing that could probably be done within the context of a European project.

Bonnie