Articles taggés avec ‘Nicolas Sarkozy’

EU Funding: EU doing its share to ensure a successful Olympics

Lundi 28 juillet 2008
 
 

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Technical assistance to develop cooperation networks between China and Europe in the field of environmental and energy management

In the run up to the Olympics, China’s authorities now have the resources to monitor air pollution and overall help in the battle to keep it under control; all thanks to the efforts of the European Space Agency (ESA)

Working on behalf of the ESA, the Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants (CERC) installed a High Resolution Air Quality Forecasting System at the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB). The system, now operational, allows authorities to finally monitor the levels of pollution in Beijing and ensure that measures to improve air quality in the city are being followed.

Air quality is a serious concern for both the hosts and visitors as poor quality could hamper athletes’ performance, especially of those competing in outdoors endurance events such as cycling and marathons.

The main source of air pollution in Beijing is emissions from automobiles. In order to reduce emissions from this source, authorities announced certain restrictions on car use, such as banning cars with high emissions and allowing privately owned cars to be driven on alternate days. The impact of these regulations will hopefully lead to a decrease of 50% of Beijing’s 3.5 million vehicles on the roads.

The High Resolution Air Quality Forecasting System is one way that authorities can check to see if these regulations are being implemented and whether they are having the desired impact.

The Vice Director of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, Li Kunsheng, went on the record to say that he welcomed the installation of the new system. He also added that he looked forward to it becoming an important tool for forecasting air quality in Beijing taking account of the effects of air pollution management measures including those being implemented for the Olympic Games.

The system works by combining information from weather forecasts, regional air quality forecasts and detailed local pollution source data and then inputting this raw data into a complex mathematical model. From this model, air quality forecasts are able to be made twice a day at 7am and 7pm. These forecasts are then made available on the Beijing Air Quality website. For those who want to be updated no matter where they are, they can also subscribe to email alerts and selected individuals will also be able to receive text message bulletins.

Forecasts are made for three days ahead. Users can choose to view maps of different pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide, or ozone, separately or to view the total health index with all pollutants combined.

These forecasts are made available thanks to DRAGON 2 programme. DRAGON is a joint undertaking between ESA and the National Remote Sensing Centre of China (NRSCC), an organisation of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) of China. Its aim is to encourage increased exploitation of ESA and Chinese Earth Observation (EO) satellite data within China.

 
  Source:
Cordis

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EU funding: All-inclusive air fares just around the corner as MEP back legislation on transparency

Mercredi 9 juillet 2008

Air travellers will soon be able to see at a glance exactly what they have to pay for their tickets, as Parliament approved new EU rules.

Air fares as displayed will have to include all taxes, fees and charges added to the basic ticket price and known at the time of publication. Parliament approved a deal on this legislation reached with the Council, as it takes on board the EP’s key first-reading amendments.
The price you actually have to pay

Booking via Internet - often the only possibility with low-cost air carriers - is a particular concern. Under the EU regulation, all carriers will in future have to provide the general public with comprehensive information, “including on the Internet,” on their air fares. Air fares that are “addressed directly to the travelling public” will have to include all applicable taxes, non-avoidable charges, surcharges and fees known at the time of publication.

The following information, at least, must be specified: air fare or air rate, taxes, airport charges and other charges, surcharges or fees, such as those related to security or fuel. Optional price supplements must be communicated in a clear, transparent and unambiguous way at the start of any booking process and their acceptance by the consumer must be on an “opt-in basis”.

Security taxes and charges

With security charges on the rise, MEPs successfully argued that the consumer has a right to know how high these costs are, and what they are used for. Where airport or on-board security costs are included in the price of an air ticket, these costs will have to be shown separately on the ticket or otherwise indicated to the passenger. And, whether levied by the Member States or by air carriers or other entities, security taxes and charges must be transparent and be used exclusively to meet airport or onboard aircraft security costs.

A wide-ranging regulation

The new rules on transparency of air fares are part of a regulation which updates existing EU legislation on a range of matters to do with the operation of air transport services in the Community.

Among other things, it aims to establish a level playing field for leasing aircraft and to clarify who has administrative responsibility for revoking or suspending licences.

In addition, stricter controls on the financial situation of airlines should ensure that, if a carrier is on the verge of going bankrupt, passengers’ rights can be safeguarded.

Moreover, Member States must now ensure the proper application of Community and national employment legislation to employees of any Community carrier operating air services from an operational base outside the Member State where that carrier has its principal place of business. In the past, the use of bases outside the country of origin has made it difficult to determine which territory’s employment laws apply to crews.

The new regulation should enter into force later this year or early next year.

 
  Source:
European Parliament

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