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The implementation report for the City of Oulu Environmental Programme 2020 is published

The City of Oulu municipal executive has approved the implementation report for the year 2020 of the city’s Environmental Programme 2026. The Environmental Programme was adopted in August 2019 to preserve the state of the environment at a good level and to support the vitality of the city. Progress on the objectives is monitored annually using the indicators set out in the programme, such as monitoring the number of trips in public transport, the accessibility of services and the energy consumption of the city operations.

The priorities set in the Environmental Programme are: We grow sustainably, We use resources wisely, For us nature is an asset, and We promote environmental responsibility. The key measures taken in 2020 and the indicator data are reported according to these priorities. The annual report also includes the development of greenhouse gas emissions in the City of Oulu.

The Environmental Programme lays the foundation for setting environmental targets and developing operating practices for administrative bodies, public utilities and city-owned companies. The numerical indicators of the Environmental Programme are reported on an electronic reporting platform available on the programme website. The results are shown with the help of graphs and key figures. In addition, the measures highlighted by different administrations, public utilities and city-owned companies have been listed separately in a follow-up review.

An exceptional year was reflected in the results in many ways

The fact that the year was exceptional showed in many ways in the implementation of the programme in 2020. Public transport travel volumes decreased significantly. On the other hand, the decrease in car traffic due to Covid-19 restrictions was reflected in the city centre air quality which was better than in recent years. During the year 4.8 million pages less paper printed in the city operations than in the previous year. Business travel decreased considerably (almost 40 % when measured in costs) due to teleworking. Training and events were mostly organised remotely.

Bus-only lanes in Linnanmaa and Cycling Superhighway

The accessibility of key public services remained at the same level as in previous years. As in previous years, the proportion of buildings and homes built in urban planning areas remained high. 

Public transport capacity was increased significantly between the city centre and Linnanmaa. The increased traffic flows were smooth, helped by the new public transport lanes on Alakyläntie. New lines offered a direct connection to the Linnanmaa campus area from Toppila, as well as a quick connection bypassing the centre from the southern parts of Oulu. The Mäntylä bicycle path was completed. The planning for the next top-level routes, the Maikkula and Kembaana bicycle paths progressed.  The preparation of the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) started, as set out in the Environmental Programme.  The planning of cross-country sport and exercise routes also started.

Energy-efficiency improved in buildings

In the district heat production the share of wood grew distinctly from the previous year, while the share of peat decreased. Oulun Energia Laanila biopower plant was completed. Improvements in the energy efficiency of the city’s properties continued.  The share of renewable energy use was increased by, for example, changing the heating methods used in the city properties.

All combustible waste and biowaste were directed for utilization. The amount of combustible waste per inhabitant delivered to the waste incineration plant increased somewhat from the previous year, as did the amount of separately collected biowaste. Oulun Energia Rusko waste sorting plant started its operations. 

Projects contributed to the goals

The preparation of the Circular Economy Roadmap continued, e.g. by holding several remote workshops. Construction of the Välimaa circular economy area progressed. The Making-City pilot based on innovative energy solutions continued in Kaukovainio. The CircVol and Energy Wise Cities projects were completed as planned.

The planning of the storm sewage program continued, and the carbon sink report was completed. The preparation of the principles, objectives and measures for safeguarding biodiversity was initiated and the preparatory steps included e.g. a preliminary study and a stakeholder survey.  

Fewer water leaks and sewer blockages

The numbers of water supply line leaks and sewer blockages that illustrate the condition of the water supply networks have continued to develop positively. The percentage of infiltration in the sewer system and the area with combined sewer systems both decreased. The urban wastewater load was somewhat higher than in the previous year, but below the average of the period under review.

The inhabitants participated actively in environmental events

Despite the exceptional year, more than 11,600 people took part in events promoting environmental awareness. The project Climate Change for Upper Secondary Schools! launched in 2019 continued. The number of schools and daycare centres with the Eco-Schools Green Flag award or environmental certifications increased by four and now totals 51. The Oulu City Library drafted an action plan for sustainable development, the Sustainable Library 2030 roadmap. The development of an online course on environmental responsibility was launched. In the various functions of the facility services, such as cleaning and food services, Environmental Competence online training courses and environmental passports as well as online training for responsible property management have been completed. 12 city employees participated in the basic training for eco-support activities. Due to the exceptional year, further training in eco-support activities was cancelled.

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