NGOs ask Budapest municipalities to help reduce oil use

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine should have made everyone realise that we are paying not only for the climate catastrophe, but also for the vulnerability of our country, by basing our economy and our lives on fossil energy, and especially on imported fossil energy. This is a situation that we have created and we must also remedy. Each of us must do our part to break our dependence on oil, to prevent climate catastrophe and to end the war in our neighbourhood. Nine NGOs have therefore sent an open letter to the Budapest Municipality and to its 23 district councils, calling on them to take the necessary steps to help reduce oil consumption in Budapest quickly, in line with the recommendations of the International Energy Agency and the European Commission.   

Budapest has been accepted as a participant in the European Union’s 100 Climate-Neutral Cities 2030 mission. By accepting proposals from citizens, the city can move closer to meeting its commitments. The open letter of the Clean Air Action Group, Greenpeace Hungary, the Walking Association, EcosystemEvaluation, the Ecocompanion Foundation, the Women for Lake Balaton Association, the Újlipótváros Superblock, the Protect the Future Association and Velo Budapest calls on local authorities to launch a broad information campaign to raise public awareness of the dangers which the use of oil products pose to the environment and peace. Inform them that by burning every litre of petrol or diesel produced from Russian crude oil, we are helping to continue Russian aggression against Ukraine. Information should also be provided on the means by which citizens and companies can reduce their fuel consumption. 

The NGOs also propose to start regular car-free Sundays in larger and larger areas of the city, to prohibit car traffic on the Chain Bridge after its renovation, and to fully open the lower quay of Pest between the Margaret Bridge and the Liberty Bridge to pedestrians and cyclists. They also call for the gradual ban of two-wheelers with internal combustion engines from the city and for the acceleration of the programme of providing priority for trams, buses and trolleys in traffic. The designation of carpooling interchanges could also significantly reduce car traffic, making it easier for up to three or four people to commute to work from the countryside to Budapest in a single car, rather than having just one person in each car. To encourage many people to switch from cars to bicycles, the letter calls for the speeding up of the creation of cycle lanes instead of car lanes, as has been done, for example, on Bartók Béla street. Furthermore, exclusive parking spaces for carsharing could encourage more people to use carsharing services instead of buying their own car.

“Renewable electricity, electric cars running silently – it’s a pity we can’t wait until transport spontaneously transforms. In order to stop Russian aggression and avoid climate catastrophe, we need to rapidly reduce the mileage of petrol and diesel vehicles and switch to other forms of transport as soon as possible and as widely as possible. The measures proposed in the letter serve this purpose” - said Márton Vargha, Transport Policy Officer of the Clean Air Action Group.

“Extending the paid parking system would serve both objectives and improve the livability of the city, so that residential areas in Budapest are not used as P+R parking by people coming from the agglomeration. It would also be necessary to introduce a general speed limit of 30 km/h throughout the city, except on main roads” - added András Lukács, President of the Clean Air Action Group.