Heat waves, drought, floods due to rain and the river overflowing its banks. These are the four threats that Seville is facing, according to Greenpeace.
The cause is climate change: since the 1970s, the average temperature in the city has risen by two degrees. To draw attention to this, the environmental group has hung a banner measuring 30 x 3 metres on the Puente de Isabel, the bridge to the popular Triana district.
Greenpeace’s aim is for the City Council to implement the Sevilla respira (Seville breathes) plan, which blocks private traffic in the centre and Triana. The city needs the go-ahead from Mayor Juan Espadas, which he does at the opening of the annual Feria.
With this plan, Greenpeace wants “the access of car traffic in the centre and Triana to be effectively limited.” In both areas there is often enormous traffic congestion.
According to the environmentalists, “Seville urgently needs measures to combat the climate crisis. The city council must now move from words and good intentions to proven facts and effective policies.” They called on the city council to set a start date and launch an information campaign “as soon as possible” to explain the new measures and restrictions. “We live in sick cities and only by transforming them can we live safely and with quality,” they concluded.
What is already happening?
The city council has said the tender for the access control systems to the centre and Triana will not take long. The council also says the Sevilla respira plan is already underway. They cite the recent completion of the pedestrian zone in Mateos Gago entertainment street. Plaza de la Magdalena is currently under construction and Avenida de la Cruz Roja will soon be converted into a pedestrian zone.
In addition, the plan aims to expand public transport. The tram line will extend to Santa Justa train station and to the city centre, a project that requires funding from Europe.
Different views on sustainability plan
Greenpeace activists also noted the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, which is in the final stages of approval, “does not address key aspects to reduce emissions.” The group advocates measures such as a comprehensive network of express buses (Buses de Tránsito Rápido) on reserved platforms, a ring road around SE-30 or the introduction of a public transport card to tackle mobility in and around the city.
The City Council states the plan aims to reduce the use of private vehicles, encourage pedestrian and bicycle mobility, and promote public transport.