On 11 January 2006, the European Commission proposed an EU strategy for the urban environment. The overriding aim is to facilitate the implementation of EU environment policy legislation locally by exchanging experience and good practices between local authorities, training local officials and publishing practical guidelines. This would enable member states and regional and local authorities to improve environmental conditions in Europe's towns and cities. The exchange of practical knowledge between Europe's cities lies at the heart of the thematic strategy. The Commission aims to support the exchange of best practices throughout Europe. A European exchange programme in matters relating to urban environment is to be developed as part of the EU cohesion policy. Local authorities should be actively involved in this programme. Another important components of the strategy is the publication of guidelines The European Commission will publish guidelines on integrated environmental management and the installation of sustainable public transport. These guidelines will be based on practical experiences and on experts' opinions. Finally, through different EU programmes local authorities will be offered opportunities for training and development of specific skills needed in managing the urban environment. Exchange programmes for officials in local authorities could be included. The rationale for pursuing a specific urban environmental strategy can be found in the fact that four out of five Europeans live in built-up areas. Their quality of life is directly influenced by the urban environment. Most cities and towns face the same problems, air pollution, high traffic levels, high prevailing background noise, mediocre buildings, wasteland, greenhouse gas emissions, urban sprawl, and high levels of waste and waste water. The EU strategy for the urban environment is on of the seven strategies under the 6th Action Programme on the Environment.


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