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Freight transport and city goods distribution are widely known factors of energy consumption and environmental degradation in European urban centers and increasing efforts have been undertaken in EU countries to improve operations and reduce their negative impacts. Based on gathered evidence, there is today a considerably growing consensus on the view that more sustainable urban freight operations and significant benefits in terms of energy efficiency can be achieved by an appropriate mix of different measures such as, for instance: Urban Consolidation Centres, optimised urban freight transport and delivery plans, clean vehicles and low emission technologies, restrictions and public incentive policies, last mile and value added services, integration of city logistics processes within the overall management of urban mobility.

Whilst efforts and city logistics innovation projects have been undertaken in most European capitals and major cities (like e.g. Barcelona, Berlin, London, Paris, Stockholm, etc.). Small and Middle Historic Towns ( SMHTs) particularly those involving historic centres, are somehow lagging behind, as they have to face and overcome several barriers (related to e.g. shortage of resources, competences, organisational structures, institutional backing, etc.) to be able to effectively embrace innovation, adopt and implement appropriate plans and measures towards sustainable city logistics. They also have additional constraints and challenges related to their specific territorial, social and economic characteristics (e.g. difficult mobility and significant freight distribution flows, higher impacts of environmental pollution on citizens and quality of life, etc.) and yet show increasing demand of effective measures as well as large potentials for improvements of energy efficiency and sustainability of city logistics operations.

ENCLOSE project aims to raise awareness about the challenges of energy efficient and sustainable urban logistics in European Small Middle Historic Towns (SMHTs) and about the concrete opportunities to achieve highly significant improvements and benefits by implementing and operating suitable and effective measures, schemes and framework approaches specifically targeted to such specific urban environments.
The ENCLOSE project will support the development of Sustainable Urban Logistic Plans in 9 SMHT involving partners from 13 European countries – Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Romania, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands and the UK – with a very high potential of achieving a much wider reach thanks to participation of European and worldwide City Associations and networks (the European Association of Historic Towns, www.historic-towns.org, and the network provided by s'-Hertogenbosch Municipality as President of the Walled Towns Friendship Circle, www.walledtowns.com) providing the necessary multiplying promotion and diffusion context.