13th October NSC hosted a workshop during Open Days 2015 in Brussels. On the first day of the European Week of Regions and Cities the workshop Emission Impossible? – Linking policy and low-carbon transport projects presented four different Interreg Projects. The workshop was moderated by Chair of the NSC Transport Group, Preben Friis-Hauge.

The first project was E-mobility, represented by project coordinators from Province Noord-Holland Yolanda Schmal and Jan Wijkhuizen. They told about the project’s communication strategy, that included a very successful stunt driving an electric car from London to Oslo within 80 hours. Rebecca Karbaumer from lead partner City of Bremen of the Care North + project gave a presentation on their focus on citizen involvement. Nelson Rojas from HOG Energi from Hordaland, Norway represented the Baltic Bio Bus project. He focused on the challenges of procurement of new technology and the projects solutions to the tender process. Finally Amy Smith from Aberdeen City told about the HyTrEc project and it’s link to government policy.

After the four project presentations Head of the secretariat of the Interreg North Sea Region Programme Christian Byrith moderated a political discussion on how local and region policy reflects the focus and outcomes of low-carbon projects. Participants in the panel was member of Drenthe Executive Committee Cllr Henk Brink, Cllr Andreas Lervik from Østfold County Council, and Cllr Preben Friis-Hauge Chair of the NSC Transport Group.

The panel discussed the relation between citizens, government and low carbon projects. The importance of citizen involvement was pointed out. At the same time there is do doubt that change hurts, and sometimes the government needs to take the lead, either through changes i policy, or testing of new technology and new regulation through projects. One challenge is that the change in low-carbon technology is rapid, which makes it difficult for government policy to keep the pace. Involvement in low carbon projects is one way to remedy this. But that in turn is dependent on that policy absorbs the results and the experiences quickly. To learn as much as possible from these kind of projects it is of most importance to share best practice and to link this up to regional and national policy. As moderator Christian Byrith said “In order to change the hearts and minds you have to educate people. Both the people and people governing the people.”