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Green and Sustainable Urban Development
in Sweden

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Designated as the first European Green Capital by the European Commission in 2010, Stockholm has embarked on numerous initiatives to create a model sustainable urban environment in the past years.

Stockholm invests in strategic sectors such as clean energy and transport. In 2009, Sweden emitted 60 million tonnes of greenhouse gases. Compared with 2008, this is a decrease of 3,6 million tonnes. Emissions were around 17% below 1990 levels. Greenhouse gas emissions from domestic transport totalled 20,3 million tones, while from the energy sector emissions amounted to 24,2 million.

Initiatives under the City’s Environmental Programme include:

Environmentally efficient transport: Around 670 million individual journeys are made each year on a network with more than 2000 buses and 1.000 train and metro carriages. Clean energy fuels most of Stockholm’s public transport system. All rail services are operated with certified renewable electricity, and all city buses run on renewable energies. Traditional cars are replaced by clean vehicles, which now amounts to nearly 100 000. Since 2006, Stockholm has levied a congestion tax on all Swedish-registered vehicles driving in and out of the city centre at extended office hours. These charges have cut traffic and emissions by 10-15%.

Sustainable energy use: Stockholm has a century-old tradition of waste incineration and converting household waste to energy. The Strategic Waste Management Plan for 2008-2012 calls for increasing the amount of food waste collected and treated. It has set a target to treat at least 35% of the food waste from restaurants and grocery stores – and 10% of food waste from households. To achieve this, it promotes a separate collection food waste from restaurants. Today, more than 70% of householders have access to district heating, produced partly by energy extracted from waste.

Waste treatment: 25% of the city’s waste is recycled and is composted, resulting in an environmentally effective waste system. Waste water is treated in two plants that serve a combined population of 1 million. The water is treated with advanced technology for removing nitrogen and phosphorous, exceeding the ambitions of the EU Urban Waste Water Directive. Biogas is produced in the waste-water treatment plant and then upgraded for use in public buses as well as private cars and taxis. The excess heat in the sewage water is recovered for domestic heating.

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linked sectors

Transport Congestion, pollution, traffic accidents . . . there's a better way!
Waste If everything you buy becomes waste, where will we put it all?
Energy supply Our lifestyles demand energy, but is the demand too great on our resources?