Bruges is one of the most well preserved medieval cities in Europe, Source: Visit Bruges/Jan D'Hondt

Bruges presents twofold climate strategy for the next 30 years

Bruges presents twofold climate strategy for the next 30 years

The city’s new climate strategy will work in tandem with the recently approved Spatial Policy Plan to provide a holistic vision for a sustainable future

Today, authorities in Bruges, Belgium, presented the city’s new climate strategy for the next 30 years. It sets out very ambitious goals for 2030, proposing that the city halve its emissions. The strategy also calls for newly constructed buildings to be climate neutral and an expansion of cycling infrastructure. At the same time, authorities have said they are working on a proposition for a sustainable transition in the existing building stock.

The climate strategy comes at the tail end of the recently approved Spatial Policy Plan, a collection of urban development guidelines, focusing on maximising the city usage of space. The Spatial Policy Plan outlines the city’s priorities both in terms of building use, household suitability and integrating construction with climate goals.

Climate integrated development

Alderman for Spatial Planning Franky Demon explained that the new plan does not mean more construction. Instead, it means smarter and better construction. He also emphasised that all future development needs to happen in accord with the climate functions of the urban space.

This means that new projects need to accommodate Bruges’ green spaces, both big and small, as well as its blue spaces. He pointed out that important new factors in city planning are flood protection as well as drought protection.

In practical terms, this means that the natural features of a city need to have adequate small inner water basins and dykes, which can help retain water during heavy rain and flooding and disperse it during drought.

 Gearing up for climate action

According to a report by the VRT, a Flemish news platform, Bruges’ Alderman for Climate and Energy Minou Esquenet has said that the plan goes very far into providing robust strategies for municipal climate action.

It touches on topics like renewable energy expansion and climate-neutral heating systems, with an emphasis on housing improvements for residents. At the same time, Alderman Esquenet has said that the city will provide subsidies to individual homeowners for the improvements.

Emissions targets, however, are quite moderate. The plan calls for a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 and climate neutrality by 250. Alderman Esquenet explained that according to current data 50% of the city’s emissions come from business and public buildings and they need to reduce that number.

Moreover, she dismissed the idea of introducing low emissions zones in the city, as a measure that is too divisive. However, she also said that the administration wants Bruges to become a car-free, bicycle-friendly city and it will take action towards that goal.



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