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Sustainable and efficient mobility requires formulas for public-private collaboration

| News | Public and Regulatory Law / Urban Planning and Environmental Law

Concern about climate change has led to the emergence of new forms of urban mobility that are more environmentally respectful, affecting both public and private sector companies. The implementation of an effective mobility strategy requires the coordination of the different administrations.

Concern for efficient and environmentally friendly mobility has led in recent years to the modification of municipal mobility plans and the corresponding local regulations in order to generate sustainable strategies. New perspectives that require adequate public-private collaboration and between different administrations to achieve the success of these initiatives.

This was presented during the talk on "The future of mobility in Madrid" organized by Andersen Tax & Legal and which made known the new urban mobility strategy proposed by new initiatives such as the Madrid 360 Plan, analysing how it can affect the mobility industry, urban transport companies, freedom of enterprise and entrepreneurship, urban plans and transport regulation, both from a local, regional and national point of view. To this end, the event was attended by the Madrid City Councillor and delegate from the areas of Environment and Mobility Government, Borja Carabante, together with Mario Armero, Executive Vice President of the Spanish Association of Automobile and Truck Manufacturers (ANFAC), Sagrario Millán, Manager of Acciona's legal advice, Miguel Nieto, Partner of Andersen Tax & Legal and coordinator of the area of Transport, Mobility and Logistics, Carlos Mínguez and Antonio Ñudi, Partners of Andersen Tax & Legal in the departments of Public and Regulatory and of Urbanism and Environment, and Silvia del Saz, Of Counsel of the firm and Professor of Administrative Law.

Miguel Nieto stressed that currently "the reality, in terms of mobility and transport, has surpassed the regulations in force", having numerous affections regarding the environment, the organization of the city, the entrepreneurial capacity of entrepreneurs or the introduction of new technologies. Therefore, in his opinion, it is necessary to develop comprehensive plans that address all aspects of sustainability of the city, including mobility, and that among its pillars is the collaboration of public and private sector companies.

For his part, Carlos Mínguez defended the need for a basic regulation to standardise the policies designed by the different administrations in the face of the emergence of new forms of mobility, as a guarantee of the coherence of the national legal framework. As for the local management of new modes of transport, Mínguez stressed the importance of ensuring the best possible regulations. In this sense, he pointed out that the challenge for Spanish City Councils is to reconcile free private initiative and freedom of enterprise with the full use of public spaces, within a framework of environmental sustainability.

Antonio Ñudi maintained that municipal mobility strategies, such as the Madrid 360 Plan, must be implemented transversally in different orders, from the urban point of view. In the case of Madrid, he said, the current general urban plan of 1997, which is the municipal planning tool par excellence, "does not respond to current technological advances in mobility so it can hardly respond to the new reality," so he pointed to the Mobility Ordinance of 2018, which is more updated. Finally, he opted for administrative coordination to achieve consistency in all areas and entities and gave the example of the Municipal Transport Consortium of Madrid, which integrates all the institutions involved in the implementation of the mobility strategy. 

In this regard, Silvia del Saz said that the State lacks competence in urban transport, which falls to the regional legislator, and recalled that in Madrid is in force a regulation on the Organization and Coordination of Transport which, in his view, is "very outdated and alien to current reality," and a Madrid Capital City Act and local legislation that includes urban mobility in the area of road safety, traffic and parking. "It is necessary to bet on a coordinated regulation between all institutions to achieve sustainable and efficient mobility," said del Saz.

For his part, Borja Carabante offered the vision of the objectives of the Madrid 360 Plan to comply with the air quality limits established in Directive 2008/50/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2008, which Spain has been infringing, recalled the Councillor, repeatedly from 2010 to 2018.

Carabante assured that, with this Plan, Madrid will improve air quality through three axes: transforming the city, mobility and administration to achieve a Madrid that is sustainable, efficient, intelligent, global, healthy and accessible. Among the measures proposed by this strategy, Carabante highlighted the pedestrianization of Puerta del Sol, the creation of new infrastructure, more deterrent parking and the creation of the first free EMT bus line that will back up the district Centre in a north-south and east-west direction, the so-called Línea Cero. He pointed to new traffic measures in the centre: A vehicles that are not from Madrid residents will not be able to circulate inside the M-30 from 1 January 2022, although high occupancy C vehicles will be allowed to access and circulate in the Centre district. Another of the measures proposed by the initiative is the end of coal boilers in the city from 1 January 2022 and the elimination of 50% of those that run on diesel in eight years.

The Councillor said that the City Council is "fully committed to this initiative to achieve these objectives successfully" that will reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 15% more than the previous anti-pollution plan. In addition, this set of measures is accompanied by significant funding commitments, such as aid for the purchase of electric vehicles (being provided 200 million euros for the purpose) and the recognition that the Administration, in addition to dictating the local regulations to carry out the plan, must give an example to the citizen, for example, renewing its own fleet of vehicles.

From the point of view of the automobile industry, Mario Armero stressed the importance of mobility as an essential activity of the national economy. While recognizing that the vehicle is part of the problem, as it generates CO2, polluting gases and traffic "congestion", he also stressed that the automotive industry has adapted to the new challenges of mobility and will be part of the solution. For Armero, the Madrid 360 Plan meets the requirements to combat the various challenges posed by mobility with a comprehensive vision, the incorporation of improvements and innovation in technology, with significant funding measures to replace older vehicles and foreseeing a strategy led by the Administration but based on public-private collaboration. 

At Acciona, they contribute to urban sustainability through innovative zero-emission elements based on vehicles powered by electricity, explained Sagrario Millán. It's a "complicated sector," Millán said, because of all the questions it raises regarding many aspects such as consumer rights or data protection. The lack of clear planning and regulation has caused urban mobility companies, such as those carsharing, mopedsharing or electric scooters, to put their vehicles into operation generating a "serious problem" of interconnection between the different means and mobility of the citizen. The absence of a clear and concrete regulation on the use of public space produces an important dilemma between mobility, regulation, freedom of enterprise and users' rights.

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