One of the most important environmental concepts is Sustainable Development. The concept of sustainable development has been around for several decades. It is a simple idea of ensuring a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come. The most widely used definition is 'development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.'
The process of Sustainable Development involves taking environmental, social and economic issues into account in decision making - no one factor should be dominant. For more information on Sustainable Development and Transport for Greater Manchester look at our document 'A Better Place to Live'.
Pollution crosses national boundaries. Climate change caused by burning fossil fuel affects the whole world. On the other hand, solutions developed in one country often work in another too. Transport for Greater Manchester takes European and international commitments and opportunities seriously. This includes:
Sharing information, usually through e-mail and web site contact
Collaboration on European projects such as LiRa (http://lira-2.com)
Occasional visits to examine best practice
Transport for Greater Manchester has also made a major commitment by signing the UITP Charter on Sustainable Development (http://www.uitp.com)
UITP (the International Union of Public Transport) launched its Charter in 2003 at the 55th World Congress in Madrid. Transport for Greater Manchester was a founder signatory, and since then around 100 members have signed up. Transport for Greater Manchester is working on the four key charter aspects:
Foster leadership on sustainable development through dialogue and exchange of best practice with stakeholders.
Influence international and Government policy to develop a responsible balance between social, environmental and business considerations.
Facilitate training and mentoring through activities focused on sustainable development practices.
Regular reporting on sustainable development practices.
As a charter signatory and member of the commission, Transport for Greater Manchester is able to:
learn about international good practice,
promote our achievements to an international audience,
directly influence development of UITP policy which in turn influences European policy, and
Identify potential partners for European projects that can bring in grant aid.
Membership of the Commission helps position Transport for Greater Manchester as an organisation that takes its environmental responsibilities seriously. It also helps project Transport for Greater Manchester as an international player with experience that is worth sharing.