What will we do?

 

Bruges aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030 as an intermediate step to becoming climate-neutral in 2050.

In order to achieve this goal, we laid down 6 guidelines that will also serve as a basis for the Climate Plan 2030. You too can use these guidelines in your everyday life.   

Making progress will only be possible with the help of numerous residents, entrepreneurs, thinkers, and doers. It goes without saying, however, that the City of Bruges will set a good example. The 6 guidelines are:

Guideline 1. Fossil-free heating in Bruges


A substantial part of CO2 emissions comes from fossil fuels, used to heat our homes and buildings. If we want to change this completely by 2050, will have to lay the foundations in the 2030 climate plan. We can see 3 main levers for change:

  1. Carefree renovation - In Bruges, many homes are still insufficiently well insulated, which means that the heating demand is far too high. A long-term solution is needed to heat these homes and buildings without using fossil fuels. Increasing the renovation rate in the city is the challenge here.

  2. New heating sources - Not all homes can be sufficiently insulated to enable heating with a heat pump. Many historical homes - especially if they are located in the city centre or in the immediate surroundings - do not allow drastic insulation measures to be installed. A sustainable heat network is an option here, but we should also explore new techniques, such as heat pumps and BTES fields with ground heat.

  3. Switching to fossil-free heating requires a coordinated and considered approach. A heat zoning map will help us understand where which fossil-free heat sources can be used.

Guideline 2. Bruges as a city of renewable energy

Being located by the sea, Bruges has a lot of wind at its disposal. Soon, Bruges will have more than 50 wind turbines.  But there are other possibilities as well. Research will show how we can further develop wind energy production and how we can allow the inhabitants of Bruges to participate in these investments.

Solar energy also has a lot of potential left unused: countless roofs of homes, businesses, and offices are suitable for solar installations. Together, we can make better use of solar energy, and people who cannot install solar panels themselves should be given the possibility to co-invest in large-scale solar energy projects. The City will set an example by installing solar panels on its own urban patrimony where possible.

Guideline 3. Bruges opts for smart and healthy transport

More than one-third of our local CO2 emissions come from our own travels. We can do things differently and in a healthier way:

  1. Electric bicycles and electric vehicles are on the rise. We are preparing our city for this by providing sufficient charging facilities.

  2. Shared cars and shared bicycles enable more people to be transported with fewer vehicles. This means that we can further develop existing shared mobility systems and link them to the most efficient form of shared mobility: public transport.

  3. Bruges has been a bicycle city for some time but has the ambition to become a cycling capital. We want to give people enough space to cycle to their heart’s content. The Bruges urban cycling route will be developed. Better bicycle connections with the peripheral municipalities will ensure maximum safety for incoming and outgoing school, work, and leisure bicycle traffic.

Guideline 4. Circular production in Bruges

Bruges has a thriving economy with strong businesses. Our companies are getting ready for a fossil-free future. The transition is in full swing. Together with these companies and other partners, we are preparing ourselves for the challenges of the future in terms of energy, mobility, production, and water management. 

By creating closed waste and energy flows fewer resources will be lost, which means that we are gradually giving shape to a circular economy. This requires efforts in terms of both innovation and visionary entrepreneurship. Knowledge institutions and companies work together to create the future.

Quality tourism is a prerequisite for any climate-friendly city that cherishes its heritage. Our strong healthcare, trade, and hospitality sectors also play their part in this evolution towards a sustainable local economy.

Guideline 5. Brugge Smaakt: eat healthy, eat local and eat with respect

‘Brugge Smaakt’ is the name of Bruges’s food strategy that will help make our local food consumption more sustainable and climate-neutral. Bruges’s catering and restaurant industry is the standard-bearer for excellence in food product innovation.  A lot of Bruges-based chefs, but also the hotel and food schools are thinking about the tasty and sustainable food of tomorrow.  Food should always taste good, the ingredients should be fair and sustainable. Bruges: a city of taste! 

The production of animal proteins, especially from ruminants such as cows, releases far more greenhouse gases than the production of plant proteins. These vegetable proteins can provide an equivalent alternative to animal proteins. Plant-based food will become increasingly important in gourmet kitchens, mass catering kitchens, and in-home kitchens.

The movement to consume and produce products that are sourced and made locally is also very much alive in Bruges. Small-scale urban garden,  roof agriculture, or local sustainable agriculture: what we grow ourselves tastes better. Bruges is becoming one big garden.

Too much food is thrown away.  Less waste means less energy loss, here or elsewhere. Bruges turns leftovers into new products.

Guideline 6. Bruges is climate-robust

The weather conditions in Bruges are expected to become more extreme and we have to be prepared. The climate adaptation plan that is being created will provide guidance for both the City and the inhabitants of Bruges. We focus on 3 main strategies:

  1. More greenery in the city. More heat days mean that there will be an increased need for cooling. Natural cooling can be provided by more greenery in the city and its outskirts. And there is an additional advantage: more green helps absorb the CO2 we emit! Private gardens and domains offer numerous possibilities to plant more green. More green, and specifically more trees, means more CO2 absorption, and that means that we can reach our local climate targets more quickly. More green also benefits biodiversity.
  2. Using permeable surfaces for hardscaping so that more water is absorbed into the soil. More wet winters, as well as heavy summer rains, increase the risk of flooding. Therefore, we need to commit to smart water management, avoiding the flooding of homes, while at the same time ensuring that rainwater can infiltrate into the ground, in places where it can do no harm. By making roads, footpaths, and grounds permeable where possible, water can be absorbed more easily. Private gardens and domains offer great opportunities here as well.
  3. Bruges is a water city and we want to keep it that way: good water management is essential, keeping both groundwater and surface water of good quality and sufficiently available. In cooperation with Flanders, Bruges is working on a coastal defense plan. In this, we also see opportunities to profile the coastal experience and the port of Zeebrugge differently.