Eight European cities from seven different countries will be scrutinised by an independent international panel of experts over the coming weeks to determine if they will be shortlisted for an inaugural European Green Leaf - a stamp of environmental approval from the European Commission.
The following cities have applied:
5.Mollet del Vallès (Spain)
8.Torres Vedras (Portugal)
The EU Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Mr Karmenu Vella said: "The European Green Leaf is a thumbs up for smaller cities demonstrating an excellent environmental record. It is encouraging to see the quality of applicants in this first European Green Leaf competition. This initiative is an environmental showcase for smaller European cities".
The Commissioner continued; "It is my hope that these applicant cities will develop links with other environmental front runners in Europe, act as role-models and inspire other cities to get involved. We now have a very healthy 'tree' to promote healthy spaces - the smaller cities as the green leaves, the capitals as the branches and the Commission as the trunk. I wish all of the applicant cities the very best of luck in the 2015 competition".
The European Green Leaf (EGL) 2015 is a pilot competition aimed at cities with a population between 50 000 and 100 000. It recognises commitment to better environmental outcomes, with a particular emphasis on efforts that generate green growth and new jobs. Each year, an EGL will be bestowed on a maximum of three cities that demonstrate a good environmental record and green growth commitment, actively seek to develop citizens' environmental awareness and that can act as a green ambassador to other cities.
The expert panel will perform a technical assessment of each entry, on the basis of six indicators covering climate change and energy performance; mobility; biodiversity and land use; quality of air and acoustic environment; waste and green economy; and water management. Following the technical evaluation, a number of cities will be shortlisted in early May for the 2015 designation.
Subsequently, they will be invited to prepare a short video application for an international jury to present their city. The jury will evaluate their commitment to continuous green growth, the level of their engagement with citizens towards environmental awareness, and their ability to act as green ambassadors. Intercity cooperation, increased national and international profile, attractiveness as a destination for people to visit, work and live in, are only a few of the many benefits winners can capitalise on.
The winner(s) will be announced at an award ceremony in June 2015 in the current European Green Capital, Bristol.
For more information on the European Green Leaf please click here.