People react differently in different parts of the city. Those living in areas that are well served by public transport are happier about changing their behaviour. “We are trying to learn now the best method to reach people in different parts of the city,” she says.Sundell’s team is working with businesses to cut down the amount of distribution vehicles into heavily populated areas, a task Sundell admits is difficult because of the importance of the harbour as an entry point to Scandinavia. “We have a lot of through traffic from all Sweden coming here and we have to have a discussion about it,” she says.The city also wants to talk to its citizens about their everyday transport choices. It has set up a mobility centre to help people find an individual solution that works for them. A bicycle campaign teaches immigrant women to ride a bike while another programme encourages businesses to think about how their workers commute. Sundell says Gothenburg is both a pupil and a teacher. “We have learnt a lot from our colleagues in [Denmark] on cycling. We are not the best for cycling, yet.”Other cities’ officials have come to Sweden to investigate efforts to get commuters to change the habits of a lifetime. “We have a lot of contacts. We get ideas from other cities and they get them from us,” she says.S al’a cannot claim to be one of Slovakia’s greenest urban centres. The small industrial town is home to a massive chemical and fertiliser firm and boasts higher incidences of cancer than other parts of the country. But S al’a’s poor record with air pollution has forced it to become an environmental pioneer. The town is one of two Slovakian members of the environmental city network, Climate Alliance, and has pioneered an energy-saving measure that has cut heating bills by up to 60%. “We have several schools which are not very old where the energy loss is significant because the windows are not very good,” says Eliska Vargova, marketing officer for the S al’a town authority. An environmental audit showed that the buildings – which date from the 1980s – were able to cut energy costs by nearly two-thirds when the windows were replaced and the roof was properly insulated. “We were very surprised,” she says. A programme targeting public buildings, many of them constructed originally very quickly with poor materials, has followed.The town has benefited from its links with Germany. S al’a works closely with the Rhineland city of Offenbach-am-Main, its “climate partner” in the Climate Alliance. Environmental officials meet up and exchange emails to swap experience. “We are a link between Eastern and Western Europe,” says Vargova. S al’a’s enthusiasm for green issues extends to recycling its garbage. A project for separating communal rubbish has been picked up by local schools and is now in its third year. The amount people collect has quadrupled every year. “A very good result,” says Vargova.The area’s natural springs have encouraged the town to explore alternative forms of heating although it is still looking for the funds to run a pilot project to tap the Earth’s deep heat. Above ground, S al’a is fighting plans to site a toxic waste incineration plant in the [email protected] EU policy is designed to aid cities to meet air quality standards and cut greenhouse gas emissions with a framework that tackles issues such as transport and waste. The ultimate decisions on how each city goes green are left to the local level but municipal officials are increasingly making contact with colleagues across Europe to learn how they deal with issues such as heavy goods lorries or heating costs.The Swedish harbour city of Gothenburg is at the forefront of European transport initiatives. Since 1998, the city has pushed for cleaner cars, trying to encourage drivers to abandon petrol for clean-fuel vehicles run on fuels like ethanol. A big sign in the city measures car exhausts as they pass by, flashing them a green or red light depending on how environmentally friendly their car exhaust fumes are. Gothenburg rewards clean vehicles by letting them into the central environmental zone, in effect asking businesses to use cleaner engines to haul their goods into town. Five thousand cars now benefit from free parking in the city which saves drivers and companies “a lot of money”, according to Lisa Sundell, the head of unit for mobility management at the Gothenburg traffic and public transport authority. Changing people’s behaviour means a massive public campaign to convince people to think green. Sundell says the city has used direct marketing to target 140,000 households. “We have got climate change money from the national government to call all these households and try to inform them of how important it is to change behaviour,” she says.