Limerick – along with the Belgian city of Mechelen – has been named a winner of the European Green Leaf 2020 Award, given to towns and cities with populations of between 20,000 and 100,000 citizens, for their potential to act as a ‘green ambassadors’. The awards were presented at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway on 20 June.
In explaining why Limerick was chosen, the judges commended the city for its ongoing investments leading to improved air quality and noise levels in the city. This includes its efforts to become Ireland’s first ‘digital city’ by integrating several public services and creating energy districts as well as smart homes, buildings and neighbourhoods.
“The city is effectively managing its air quality thanks to the acquisition of particle and gas monitors,” the European Commission said in a statement.
“Limerick also encourages people to leave their cars at home by providing better cycling, walking and public transport infrastructure with the aim of reducing transport emissions.”
Limerick was also recognised for its development of noise maps and action plans, updated every five years, continuously monitoring the acoustic environment, analysing trends and assessing the effectiveness of the actions undertaken.
This marks the second west coast city to win a European Green Leaf Award, following on from Galway’s 2017 award win.
Mechelen, meanwhile, was commended for its dedication to sustainable urban mobility, nature, biodiversity, sustainable land use, and waste and circular economy.
The winner of the European Green Capital Award for 2021 – given to larger cities – was revealed as Lahti in Finland. The city will receive €350,000 to go towards developing green city initiatives.
“The city has a clear vision for green growth and eco-innovation,” the judges said. “The Lake Vesijärvi and the Grassroot projects, for example, promote the reuse and sharing of public spaces in the city, making these spaces available to rent. These kinds of provocative ideas can lead to exciting new projects with strong citizen involvement.”
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