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BBC - Mark Mardell's Euroblog

FREIBURG, Germany:

It's possibly my imagination, but the air here seems to taste cleaner. This pretty city nestling between the green hills of the Black Forest definitely does sound different. You can hear birdsong and the skittery clatter of bikes on cobblestones. The noise of a delivery lorry pulling up outside the rather magnificent town hall is a startling intrusion.

What is missing is the constant low thrum of traffic in the background. It's not that cars are completely banned from the city, but most of the centre, rather than the odd street, is a pedestrian zone. You pedal or walk to trams or trains. Freiburg can lay claim to being the greenest city in the world, and it's all rather pleasant.

But it is a political act. The city is the largest in Germany where the Green Party are in power. The Greens currently have 43 members of the European Parliament, two of them from Britain, and feel somewhat under pressure with so many other politicians putting the environment near the top of their priorities.

by Fran on Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 01:56:29 PM EST
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