Torres Vedras has a long history of environmental achievements, including capturing the European Green Leaf Award title in 2015. Now, as part of the Green City Accord community, the ambitious Portuguese city aims to cement its status as a green pioneer by developing further innovative actions across the Accord’s five target areas – air, water, nature and biodiversity, waste and circular economy, and noise – while accelerating the local implementation of the European Green Deal.
Laura Rodrigues, President of the Municipality of Torres Vedras, offers a better understanding of why Torres Vedras signed the Green City Accord and how it plans to leverage its commitment to advance a clean and healthy future.
With numerous national and international environmental initiatives, commitments and declarations to sign, why was it important for your city to join the Green City Accord?
“Torres Vedras has sought to be at the forefront in many environmental and sustainability matters. The next decade will see the reaffirmation of Torres Vedras' commitment to a more sustainable paradigm, to accelerate the transition to a circular and green economy and to continuing the fight against climate change. On this journey towards a greener, sustainable, clean and healthy City, it is essential to maintain a strong commitment to the processes of improvement and innovation in priority areas such as air quality, water, noise, nature conservation, biodiversity and circular economy.”
Thus far, Torres Vedras’ efforts to improve its urban environment and quality of life for citizens includes investments in sustainable mobility measures – such as expanding pedestrian areas and bike paths – and comprehensive initiatives to protect and restore urban biodiversity –including by developing green corridors and planting native tree species.
And like many other signatory cities, Torres Vedras is using ongoing projects and policies to advance its Green City Accord commitments and cultivate a holistic approach to sustainability, environment and climate issues.
What ongoing projects is your city involved in that will help your Green City Accord commitments? What new initiatives are envisioned?
“The Municipality of Torres Vedras is reviewing its main strategic climate action instruments, with emphasis on the mitigation component for the Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan and the elaboration of the Municipal Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change. In addition, we are exploring opportunities to put the Municipality on the energy transition pathway, with a focus on Renewable Energy Communities and Hydrogen technology. In this field, the project “Torres Vedras Going Carbon Neutral” is under development following an approved application for the EUCF – European City Facility initiative. We are also working on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and developing a Management Plan for the Torres Vedras Hydrographic Network that aims to identify the most relevant problems of the water bodies existing in Torres Vedras and define a program of actions and measures to protect and improve the water quality and river ecosystems.”
While it has defined numerous clear objectives to make improvements in the areas of water, nature and biodiversity, Torres Vedras still faces many challenges on the road to a becoming a greener, cleaner city.
Which of the five Green City Accord focus areas (air, water, nature & biodiversity, waste & circular economy and noise) presents the biggest challenges for your city?
“One of the biggest challenges will be to ensure adequate protection, management and enhancement of water resources, including cleaning, depollution and environmental recovery of the main rivers Sizandro and Alcabrichel, and their respective tributaries, and to guarantee the quality of water bodies and their good ecological status. But also in terms of promoting sustainable use of water to minimize the effects of increasingly frequent droughts. On the other hand, it will also be a huge challenge to achieve the systemic and transformative change required to transition from a linear to a circular economy in an integrated way.”
Ushering in a transition to the circular economy is no easy feat; neither is increasing people’s awareness of the sustainable use of resources, but these are tasks that Torres Vedras – and all 99 Green City Accord signatories and counting – have decided to take on. With cities like Torres Vedras ready to tackle the most pressing environmental challenges of our time, and their willingness to continue sharing their expertise, innovation and best practices, the Green City Accord is steadily leading Europe toward a clean and healthy future.
- Publication date
- 23 September 2022
- Directorate-General for Environment