The 2010 local elections will be held on March 3rd, that’s just over a month away. How local politics deal with things like the environment, sustainability and energy is just as important as the nationwide and European politics (). Local politics have much influence ons issues like traffic but also rules for energy-efficiency of renovated and newly built buildings
I live in Hilversum (), here are some issues that come to mind:
- Traffic. Hilversum is known, nationwide, as the city you don’t want to go to by car ‘because it’s a continuous traffic jam’. And yes, it’s true that especially during rush hour it can be very congested on Hilversum’s road-system. The local newspaper spend a considerable amount of page space on these traffix issues. A common opinion is that the traffic problems can be solved by technical means like more and wider roads, one-way traffic on some roads, ramp metering, etc. It’s clear to me that these can be temporary stopgaps at best, the basic problem is simply that too many cars are trying to squirm themselves over a road-system that was never designed to handle that much traffic. For a (very) long time there have been plans for a high-quality public transit connection to neighbouring Huizen, but that just can’t seem to get off the ground.
- Energy. Hilversum doesn’t have much ‘dirty’ industry with smoking smokestacks, but it’s economy depends nearly completely on the national broadcasting stations and many media companies. Those called be called clean with some justice, but they are extremely dependent on reliable and cheap energy. I wonder how this sector will cope with rapidly rising energy prices. This sector is also directly tied to the traffic problems as many employees live outside Hilversum and so have to commute every day, often by car.
- Residential energy consumption. Hilversum has a lot of houses from the ’30 (the city’s first growth period when a railway arrived) and the 50′s (fast growth after the Second World War)). Many of these houses have pretty bad insulation, leading to an unnecessarily high energy consumption. New houses are being built here and there which are much better insulated, but I wonder if it isn’t possible to look ahead to the future. A energy-zero house isn’t that difficult to build, and even energy-plus houses are possible if the local regulations would enforce it.
- Incentives. Hilversum has, at this time, several financial incentives for things like insulation, solar panels, solar hot water systems, energy saving glass, etc. That’s all very well but wonder what all the different parties are planning to do in this respect in the coming period 2010-2014.
- Landscape/growth. Hilversum would like to grow, and many people and companies are hungrily eying the surrounding green landscape. This has been an issue of much debate for many years.
I am very curious how the different local parties think about these subjects. I will carefully read the party programs of all the participating local parties and publish an overview on this website. If the programs are not specific enough I may very well write to all those parties and ask them specific questions. I wonder, for instance, if they know about Peak Oil and how they are incorporating it in their policy.