SEAPs (Sustainable Energy Action Plans) and SUMPs (Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans) are strategic plans that, although from different perspectives, share the same goal: reducing the emissions of pollutants & promoting sustainable urban development.
SEAPs are strategic plans that local authorities develop and adopt following their accession to the Covenant of Mayors.
The Covenant of Mayors is the initiative launched by the European Commission in 2008 to actively involve European local authorities in the EU strategy for energy and environmental sustainability. The signatories of the Covenant commit to reduce their CO2 emissions by at least 20% by 2020, through measures in the fields of sustainable transport and mobility, urban and land use planning, retrofitting of public and private buildings, renewable energy sources and distributed energy generation, public procurement and raising citizens’ awareness to promote energy-efficient behaviour patterns.
The set of specific measures a municipality intends to deploy in order to reach these objectives are detailed in its SEAP (Sustainable Energy Action Plan). Once approved by the city council, the SEAP is accepted by the Covenant of Mayors Office (CoMO) and the municipality has to report to the CoMO about the status of its implementation every two years.
In October 2015 the Commission launched the new integrated Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, which goes beyond the objectives set for 2020. The signatories of the new Covenant commit to reduce their emissions of CO2 (and possibly other GHG) by 40% by 2030, as well as to adopt a joint approach to tackling mitigation and adaptation to climate change. A new version of the SEAP is issued, namely the SECAP (Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan).
By adopting SEAPs, municipalities actively engage in reducing emissions, enhancing their energy performance and improve their citizens’ quality of life.
Promoted by the European Commission in the White Paper on Transport (2011) and the Urban Mobility Package (2013), SUMPs are one of the main tools available at EU level to jointly tackle transport and mobility needs in urban and suburban areas.
SUMPs are strategic plans devising a long-term vision, providing for general and specific objectives, a clear set of indicators identified together with the main stakeholders (including the local population), a detailed implementation plan and a monitoring system. Their main goal is to respond to transport and mobility needs in an integrated manner, guaranteeing technical, economic, environmental and social sustainability of all planned interventions.
SUMPs’ general objectives include guaranteeing accessibility to all road users (with a focus on the so-called vulnerable users, namely pedestrians, cyclists, children, disabled persons, etc.); favouring a balanced development of all transport modes (public and private, motorized and non-); optimizing the use of urban areas leading to a cleaner urban environment and consequently a better quality of life for all citizens.
Adopting SUMPs increases local authorities’ opportunities to access EU funds; paves the way to a new culture for urban mobility based on a participatory approach; increases the livability of urban spaces and consequently citizens’ quality of life and creates a favourable environment to attract investors and boost economic development.
SEAPs and SUMPs influence each other: a coordinated approach maximises synergies and complementarities through harmonised planning.