Outcomes of the SIMPLA consultation process
The round of consultations in the SIMPLA pilot regions was successfully completed. In the six countries involved in the project, more than 350 stakeholders – including public authorities, academy and research centres, energy agencies, utilities, associations and environmental NGOs – took part in a series of focus group sessions and workshops to discuss governance strategies, policies and operational measures for energy and mobility, providing useful inputs to the SIMPLA guidelines for the harmonisation of SEAPs and SUMPs.
Here are the main contributions, as coming out of a comparative analysis of the outcomes from all involved countries and regions:
Start from the general town plan
The harmonisation of SEAPs and SUMPs should start from the general town plan: good general town plans, embedding energy efficiency and sustainability principles, are the basis for good SEAPs and good SUMPs and therefore for their harmonisation.
The harmonisation necessarily depends on a strong political commitment, embodied in the Mayor and stemming from a clear strategic vision on the city’s future.
Moreover, the harmonisation requires strong cooperation between different departments of the municipality. It is advisable to set up a working group including officers from the department(s) in charge of energy and mobility (and therefore of the SEAP and SUMP, if existing). This group should be led by a coordinator with strong decisional powers, entitled to allocate responsibilities among the group members. If necessary, the working group can be backed by external experts.
The harmonisation should focus on the following aspects:
- Creation of a joint database gathering data on energy, environment, climate and mobility
- Harmonisation of the plans’ timeframes, namely their reference years and the timing of their monitoring
- Definition of common indicators
- Joint management of participatory processes (i.e. the involvement of stakeholders)
- Electric mobility, which is one of the main joining links between SEAPs and SUMPs and therefore the area that should be developed the most, together with the production of electricity from renewable energy sources
Finally, there’s the absolute need to identify appropriate sources of funding (through both available and innovative financing schemes) to guarantee the implementation of the measures included in the plans once these enter into force. The lack of financial resources is indeed the major obstacle hindering the plans’ implementation.