ANNUAL REPORT OF THE

CLEAN AIR ACTION GROUP (HUNGARY)

FOR THE YEAR 2000

In 2000 the Clean Air Action Group (CAAG) continued its environment protection activities in general on the same topics as in the previous years. We spent most of the time keeping connections with other NGOs, with the public and individuals. We organised civil forums and regularly took part in public forums and project presentations. We pointed out in many instances that quite a number of local government decisions have been made without due consideration of the environment. Personal interests and short-term economical factors are predominant during the decision-making in local governments, while public interests, the interests of the environment and the whole society suffer in the long term. Therefore we strengthened our awareness raising activities among the population and the different levels of decision makers.

As in the previous years in 2000 the Clean Air Action Group continued the same environment protecting activities concerning the environment with unchanged stuff. We spent most of the time with keeping the connection with other NGOs, civil clubs and individuals. We organised civil forums and regularly took part in public forums and project presentations in order to enforce environment protecting factors. We concluded that there were many local government decisions that had been made without circumspection. Personal interests, and the short term economical factors can be enforced better, while in practice public interest, the safety of environment and society will suffer in the long term. There should be more awareness raising among the population and the different levels of decision makers.

The media asked our opinion on average about twice a day about significant local problems, about the decisions made by the ministries, codification of laws, technological or planning questions. The Clean Air Action Group has been regularly visited by high school and university students in order to get help and materials for their studies.

We put more emphasis on improving the better professional basis of our activities. We prepared studies and several professional notes regarding various issues. We spoke with decision makers many times, or sent them various materials so that they would take environmental factors into consideration whenever making decisions.

The most important aims in 2000 were the following:

information, counselling and interest protection

Information Office (1114 Budapest, Ulászló u. 15. Telephone hot-line 8:00-17:30)

Besides the questions that could be answered immediately, 289 registered complaints, announcement and information requests arrived, mainly from the Middle-Hungarian region. The information was given by the office leader or the board of Clean Air Action Group and members of the Board of Experts (Chairman of the Board of Experts: Dr. Dezső Radó, deputy chairperson: Dr. Ildikó Farkas).

(Office leader: Péter Lenkei)

 

RELATIONS with member organisations and OTHER civil groups

The number of member organisations rose to 101 in 2000. We have kept daily connection with other NGOs and organised open meetings every other Friday. Every member organisation receives the agenda in advance. Generally 28-35 members participate in the meetings, representing different organisations and civil groups. One can read about the topics and the decisions in the monthly magazine Lélegzet (Breath). The detailed memo is available to the public in the office of the Clean Air Action Group.

(Responsible for the program: J. Judit Halász, CAAG Vice-President)

Civil and professional forums

25 February: joint program with the Environment Management Institute (Környezetgazdálkodási Intézet), preparation course for teachers for the school energy saving program.

2 March: joint program with the Association of Big Families about the green budget, with the participation of REC and invited lecturers from the University of Economics.

3 March: professional conference about the north-west section of the M0 motorway with the participation of the involved districts, villages and NGOs.

30 March: whole-day civil forum about the relationship between local governments and citizens, organised together with the Environmental Section of the Hungarian Society of Sociology and the Environmental Education Centre of Society for the Popularization of Science (TIT Stúdió).

16 April: discussion forum at the University of Economics about Anita Tanyi’s (CAAG) study on hidden and direct subsidies.

28-30 April: CAAG pavilion in the spring flower exhibition at the University of Horticulture.

16 September: Ozone Festival in the Budapest City Park, organised together with the Rügyecskék Foundation. The program started in the morning and ended at 10 o’clock in the evening. There were lectures about of protection of trees, craftsmen taught children to love natural materials. Popular bands played on stage from the afternoon onwards. Several environmental NGOs (both from the capital and the countryside) had information tents.

22 September: on the European Car-free Day we organised a demonstration in Budapest on Ferenciek square together with Friends of City Cycling and the National Bicyclist Association

29-30 September: We gave lectures in the two-day forum organised by the NGO Védegylet about the current problems of Budapest and its surrounding.

17-18 November: We had our own stand on the Civiliáda (National Exposition of NGOs).

18 November: We gave a lecture in Hódmezővásárhely about the interest protection activities of the Clean Air Action Group

23. November: We organised an architectural-biological symposium together with the Architectural-Biological Association and the TIT Stúdió.

We organised a serial of forums with the Hungarian Traffic Club (about the widening of the lower Danube embankment in Buda, the planned 4th metro line and the planned northern Danube bridges).

We gave organisational and professional help to the public forums concerning the planned building of the 4th metro line, which were organised by the Association of Organizations of Dwellers’ Communities. (Responsible for the program: Mária Schnier, CAAG Vice-President).

Demonstrations, campaigns

The protection of the flora:

Organisation of demonstrations in order to protect the following green areas and plants: Széna square park, Irinyi street park, Roosevelt square trees, Jókai square trees and Nagymező street trees. We carried out activities to save a 9-hectare forest in Dunaújváros. We gave professional opinion and value estimations and participated in civil forums.

Our tree planting action lasted from springtime until the end of the year. Thanks to our activity the inhabitants and NGOs planted 6000 trees and bushes in Budapest (which was much more than the number of trees planted by the Budapest Municipality in the same year). Those who planted these plants accepted in written form that they will look after them for five years. The Forestry Office of the Ministry of Agriculture gave us 2000 trees free of charge (program leader: Ágnes Hajtman, CAAG Vice-President).

Ragweed campaign:

We organised campaigns in the 11th and 13th districts, participated in the programs and meetings organised by the Municipality and several ministries (program leader: Judit J. Halász, CAAG Vice-President).

Protest against underground garages in the 5th, 6th and 7th districts:

We organised several protest demonstrations, prepared professional documentation and took legal action against the planned underground garages, because their construction would destroy many big trees, and also because the local governments would spend on these garages an enormous amount of money which is badly needed for other purposes (education, health, renovation of buildings etc), while independent experts agree that these investments will never pay back.

Stopping urban sprawl:

We have been fighting to stop urban sprawl together with the Hungarian and foreign civil and professional organisations. We gave lectures during conferences, published studies and articles, gave media reports and suggested proactive alternatives.

Support of civil protest in the 2nd district:

We gave help to the civil groups protesting against the following: the construction in Kapás street, Medve street, Zivatar street, and the Pesthidegkút-Erzsébetliget area, because these constructions would destroy green areas and result in overbuilding.

7th district: protest against the closing down of Hüvösvölgyi street kindergarten:

Air pollution is permanently above the health limit in the 7th district. Many children with respiratory problems have been taken daily to the Hüvösvölgyi street kindergarten in the Buda mountains. Despite the protest of parents and the Clean Air Action Group this kindergarten was closed down for financial reasons, and the selling of the property is in progress.

Budakalász: campaign against the Metro shopping mall:

Together with the local inhabitants the Clean Air Action Group succeeded in stopping the construction of another shopping mall on the overcrowded Szentendrei road.

District heating campaign:

We promoted the modernization of the old and therefore not very efficient Budapest district heating system with wide advertising campaign and through the media, with the support of Budapest District Heating Company FŐTÁV.

Protest against ELMŰ advertisement:

We opposed the new advertising campaign of the Budapest Electric Utility Company ELMŰ Rt. which encouraged the increase of electricity consumption. Besides issuing statements in Hungary we also informed our international partners and the RWE (the German owner of ELMŰ).

Youth awareness raising, school activities, campaigns:

Responsible for the program: Ágnes Hajtman, CAAG Vice-President.

We gave lectures and held environmental workshops in many primary and secondary schools (Budakeszi, Budapest, Sárospatak, Székesfehérvár, Szolnok, Tatabánya, summer student camps). Together with other NGOs we organised workshops and prepared show-case materials for the permanent environmental programs of the Budapest Zoo. We co-operated with several pedagogical professional organisations. We gave professional help to work out the frame curriculum of adult education and to prepare new school textbooks. We gave lectures and made proposals in the framework of the KGI Spar school energy saving program.

OPINIONS and proposals for LAWS AND regulations:

We have analysed re-zoning plans, area rearrangements and environmental impact studies of major investment plans for the capital districts, for the surroundings of Budapest as well as the countryside (Budapest districts no. 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 17, 21 and 22 as well as Budakalász, Budakeszi, Budaörs, Pilisjászfalu, Üröm) We commented on the draft of the national territorial arrangement law, and the re-zoning plans regarding the motorways M0 and M3. (Responsible for the program: Mária Schnier, CAAG Vice-President.)

We have commented other planned regulations and we worked out proposals for modifications of the following laws: the modification of the law on advertisements, the modification of the decree on environmental impact assessments, the modification of the environmental law, the governmental and ministerial decrees about air protection, decree about restrictions regarding heavy lorries, draft of the new law about national territorial arrangement, law for stopping re-zoning of green areas in the Budapest agglomeration). We also started to prepare a draft of a new law for the protection of trees. (Responsible for program: András Lukács, CAAG President)

Green budget reform

The State Budget Working Group at the Environmental Protection Committee of the Parliament held its first meeting in April. It was intiated by András Lukács, CAAG President and Lázár Pavics, CAAG’s permanent expert. Anita Tanyi, an economist working for CAAG became the secretary of the Working Group. Since then the Working Group has had meetings in every other month. Proposed modifications for the 2001 and 2002 state budget have been prepared by Lázár Pavics and András Lukács with the help of Anita Tanyi and other experts. The 290-page study has been forwarded to all ministries and a number of MPs.

In the framework of our project we prepared an opinion on the draft of the Széchenyi Plan (kind of a national development plan). Several remarks of ours have been used in the final plan, e.g. more support to research and development (R&D), support for renovations of existing buildings and for energy saving projects.

Largely as a result of CAAG’s initiative, in December 2000 the Parliament modified the law on advertisements in such a way that it prohibited all tobacco advertisements beginning from the year 2002. This was a great victory for CAAG which has been campaigning already for years for such a prohibition.

We prepared opinions on policies influencing the environment (energy prices, modernisation of district heating, taxation of fuels, public transport subsidies, and supporting renovation of old buildings). We have created a very good working relationship regarding these subjects with several professional institutions (e.g. Budapest University of Economic Sciences and the Hungarian Center for Environmental Economics) and state institutions (e.g. Energy Centre, National Customs Office). We have also prepared opinions on the law and regulations concerning the Central Environmental Protection Fund and the environmental product charges as well as the planned environmental load fee.

Anita Tanyi participated in the annual congress of the European Association of Environmental Economics in Vienna and also in the international conference in Paris on Green Financial Reforms in Europe as an expert of National Environmental Committee.

We have also discussed these issue with EU experts on several occasions.

(Program leader: András Lukács, CAAG President)

TransPORt

Motorways

In connection with the Széchenyi Plan and on several other occasions we have drawn attention to the damaging effects of motorways and protested against new motorway constructions. We have examined the construction permits and the environmental impact assessments for the M3 motorway and we sent our remarks to the Public Prosecution Office.

M0 ring-road

Our experts have actively participated in forums organised by the local districts and we have forwarded data and opinions to the press. We have supported local demonstrations to prevent damaging effects to the residential areas and environment of the planned motorway.

Budapest transportation

We have prepared opinions and remarks on the operation and development of transportation in Budapest in several occasions (the state of public transportation, priority for public transport in traffic, widening the Danube Low Embankment in Buda, transport reduction, parking, underground garages, etc.).

Planned 4th Metro line

We disapproved of the construction of the 4th Metro line as it is obviously an extremely costly investment and instead we proposed the renewal and modernisation of the existing public transport system in Budapest and its surroundings. We organised forums, and forwarded our opinions and data to the press.

Economic instruments

We have continuously encouraged correct pricing of transportation in our studies on the state budget and in every other possible way: the external costs of road and air transportation should be included in the prices and environmental protection should be encouraged by more subsidies for railways and public transportation and for promoting cycling. We have campaigned against fuel-tourism and smuggling, and suggested that the truck owners should pay charges according to the damage they cause.

International relations

As a member organization of T&E (European Federation for Transport and Environment) we have actively participated in its programs, among others in the conference about EU Enlargement and Transport (Brussels, March 2000). We have had meetings with representatives of the European Commission (DG Environment, DG Enlargement, DG Regio) about transportation (e.g. ISPA aid to Hungary).

András Lukács presented a lecture about the transportation in Budapest in the conference on car-free cities (Berlin, July 2000) and also about the Hungarian transport policy and its environmental effects in the meeting held by the EU Economic and Social Committee (Brussels, October 2000).

Energy Policy

In 2000 we took part in the work of the Energy Interest Representative Council co-ordinated by the Hungarian Energy Office. We forwarded our opinions to the press, lectured on the issue, made our voices heard in various conferences (e.g. Energy 2000 Conference, Budapest) and also participated in professional forums. Major issues have been: the real price of energy, better adjustment of energy to local conditions, the support of energy efficiency and energy saving, safety precautions of nuclear power plants, renewable energy sources, modernisation of district heating. We have actively taken part in the energy campaigns and events of other national environmental NGOs.

LEGAL PROCEDURES

We have closely co-operated with the Environmental Management and Law Association (EMLA). We have applied legal means to protect the environment in several cases. These cases were mostly dealt with by our Environment Consultancy Office.

We have continued our lawsuit concerning the construction of the M0 motorway near Káposztásmegyer (northern Budapest).

Our lawsuit initiated with the NGO Göncöl Alliance against the construction of the northern bridge of the M0 is before the Budapest Court (the construction cannot begin as long as there is no judgement in the case).

We joined the Viziváros (1st district) citizens to fight legally against the overbuilding of the area. The court annuled of the building permit for the Kapás street office building (Dr. Fülöp Sándor, director of EMLA represented the interests of the residents).

We used legal means – unfortunately without any success due mainly to the slowness of the official instances – to save the trees at Roosevelt square. We have similarly chosen legal means to save trees at several other squares in the district (Szent István square, Szabadság square, József nádor square).

We have won our lawsuit, which we launched because of an article which strongly criticised the activities of CAAG with arguments which were not true.

We have been active to promote the ratification and implementation of the Aarhus Convention.

We have renewed our petition to the Constitutional Court, in which we asked that the Court rule that the state financing of the construction of the M3 motorway was unconstitutional.

Major media activities

We regularly forwarded news and opinions to the press. We appeared in the national, regional and local media more than 400 times.

The Lélegzet (“Breath”), environmental monthly of the Clean Air Action Group

The magazine appeared on 24 pages each month in 3500 copies. It has been regularly sent to ministries, local governments, libraries, higher education institutions, journalists, member organisations and individual subscribers. On certain occasions we distribute free copies about the actual topics in conferences and other events. The readers of Lélegzet speak highly of the expertise and the abundant information and data available in the magazine.

Danubius Radio: In the first half of the year the Clean Air Action Group had each week a five-minutes environment protection awareness raising program.

Civil Radio: We aired our 30-minute program (Lélegzet) every other week, and since August it starts at 4.30 p.m. on every Wednesday. The editor of the program is Ágnes Hajtman, CAAG Vice President.

Budapesti Újság: Materials of CAAG appeared 3 times on 2 pages and once on 1 page (fuel prices, public transport in Budapest, metro 4, protection of green areas). These have reached every household in Budapest.

District Heating Campaign from 15 October to 10 December: press conferences, articles, radio programs, housing estates, 7 appearances in local televisions.

 

International RElations

Clean Air Action Group is a member organization of the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E), and Climate Network Europe (CNE). We have a close working relationship with Institute for Transport and Development Policy (ITDP, New York); the Wuppertal Institute, CE (Delft, the Netherlands), as well as Austrian, Czech, Polish, Slovakian and other organisations.

Studies

We published the following studies in 2000:

  1. The Possibilities of Eco-Sociological Reform of the State Budget - Recommendations for the State Budget 2001-2002 (Lázár Pavics, András Lukács)
  2. State Subsidies for Energy and Water Management in Hungary (Anita Tanyi)
  3. Are the Hungarian Railways Uneconomical? (András Lukács, Lázár Pavics, Ferenc Joó)
  4. Damages Caused by the Oil Mafia (András Lukács, Lázár Pavics)
  5. Recommendations for Agricultural Chapters of State Budget 2001 (József Ángyán)
  6. Weak Banking Regulation and Unjust Housing Policy Cause Environmentally-Damaging Urban Sprawl and Threaten the Hungarian Banking System (Walter Hook, Erzsébet Beliczay, András Lukács)
  7. State Subsidies for Hungarian Car Factories (Lázár Pavics, András Lukács)
  8. Environmental Protection Taxes and Fees in Europe (Anita Tanyi)
  9. Industry Protection and Action Plan for Creating Hungarian Workplaces Which Decreases Environmentally Damaging Imports (Lázár Pavics)
  10. “The Possibilities of Eco-Sociological Reform of the State Budget” – Communicational Arguments and Causes – The PR Techniques of the Reform (András Lukács, Tamás Rádics, Mihály Varga)
  11. Problems in the Implementation of the Helsinki Principles on Transport - the Case of Hungary (András Lukács)
  12. Hungarian Transport on the Way to the EU Accession (András Lukács)
  13. Promoting Sustainable Transport in Budapest (András Lukács)
  14. The Role of Flora in Environmental Protection (Dezső Radó)

Annual Financial Report

of the Clean Air Action Group

FOR THE YEAR 2000

Item

HUF 1000

   

Opening amount (bank + cash)

2468

   

Incomes

 

Income for main activities

25495

Income for business activities (studies, advertisements)

4487

Obligations

1731

Total income

31713

   

Expenses

 

Salaries

4486

Salary taxes

1858

Other expenses

20575

Business expenses

2636

Investments

895

Demands

711

Total expenses

31161

   

Closing account (bank + cash)

3020

Simplified balance and result calculation on the 31.12.2000.

Simplified balance

Item

HUF

   

Instruments

 

Bank + cash

3020364

Demands

710934

Total

3731298

   

Resources

 

Obligations

1731342

Property

1999956

Total

3731298

 

Result calculation

Item

HUF 1000

   

Incomes

 

Income for main activity

25495

   

Expenses

 

Salaries

4486

Taxes

1858

Other expenses

20575

Investments

895

Loss for main activities

2320

   
   

Business result

4487

Business expenses

2636

Result before taxation

1851

Company tax

0

Result after taxation

1851

   

Loss

469

 

Other expenses of the Clean Air Action Group in 2000.

Item

HUF

Experts’ fees

1565387

Support for Hungarian organisations

7283097

Phone, fax

2518064

Printing cost

376098

Travelling cost

672762

Season tickets, car cost refund

720107

Office rent, maintenance cost

3.083783

Stationery

310492

Post

608083

Books, journals

455798

Conference cost

345166

Cost of civil services

647918

Meal-ticket

149800

Representation cost

86636

Bank cost

112300

Broad-sheet cost

99255

Membership fee for other NGOs

67695

Detergents

16597

Other expenses

1456011

Total

20575049

 

Support and Income of the Clean Air Action Group in 2000.

Source of support

HUF 1000

Hungarian Parliament

700

Ministries

11980

Other state institutions

250

Local authorities

398

Project support *

9942

1% of personal taxes

772

Membership fees

277

Other support (HTC)

1147

Interest incomes

219

Income from business

1851

Saved from 1999.

2468

Other income

582

Total support and income

30586

* Project supports

Grantors

Purpose of support

HUF

Association of Environmental Advisers

Environmental counselling

800000

FÖK (Independent Ecological Center)

Regional development

400000

Ökotárs Foundation

Energy efficiency

283250

Rockefeller Brothers Fund

Smart growth (against urban sprawl etc.)

8.308361

ITO ENGINEERING Hungary

General support

150000

Total

 

9941611

Our reports concerning the use of project supports had been accepted by the grantors.

 

Work plan of the Clean Air Action Group for the year 2001

General

  1. We will improve our information activities towards both the population, the media and the decision-makers. Continuing the publication of our magazine “Lélegzet” (Breath) is one of the most important tasks.
  2. We will keep holding our meetings every other week.
  3. We will significantly increase the number of our members.
  4. We will improve our co-operation with Hungarian environmental and nature protection and other NGOs.
  5. We will improve the co-operation with foreign environmental NGOs, especially with the movements operating within the EU.
  6. We will keep a constant connection with the relevant ministries and authorities.
  7. We will keep regular connection with the relevant EU institutions.
  8. We will pay special attention to the questions concerning public health care and environmental health service.
  9. We will organise professional and other events to encourage the exchange of opinions and information.
  10. At least twice a year we will call together a plenary meeting of the CAAG Experts’ Board.
  11. With the help of our member organisations we will keep monitoring the long-term environment protection programs of the local authorities, their planning and implementation.
  12. We will maintain and operate our Environmental Advisory Office.
  13. We will give professional help to environmental educational and school programs.
  14. We will give financial advises to our member organisations on request.
  15. We will lay special emphasis on organisation improvement.

 

State budget and taxation system

  1. We will continue our professional and information work in order to make the state budget and taxation system more environment-friendly.
  2. We will prepare our alternative state budget proposals upon the analysis of the budget of 2001-2002 for the following years.
  3. We will prepare a new publication for the general public about the green budget reform.
  4. We will continuously monitor the use of the state environment protection funds and make suggestions if necessary.
  5. We will co-operate with those Hungarian and foreign organisation as well as individuals who work for the green state budget reform.

 

Regional development and transport

  1. We will organise a campaign to improve public transportation in Budapest. We will urge that the money proposed for the planned 4th metro and major road investments should be rather spent on the maintenance and renovation of the existing public transport network.
  2. We will continue our campaign to improve railway transportation.
  3. We will expedite that an increasing volume of transit transport should be placed from road to the railways.
  4. We will make studies about the following topics:

  1. We will translate a study into Hungarian and publish it about the possibilities to

  1. We will monitor the activities of the government, the Parliament and the local authorities in the field of transport and we will express our views, and work out recommendation in order to reduce the negative environmental impacts of transport.
  2. We will monitor the changes of transport policy on both national and local levels, and we will express our views and work out proposals if necessary.
  3. We will encourage public participation concerning the decision-making about transport. We will continue the discussions with the Ministry of Transport and encourage the restart of Budapest Transport Forum and will take active part in its the work.
  4. We will pay special attention to the protection of green areas, especially flora damages caused by transport vehicles.
  5. We will continue our information activities about the external costs of transport and expedite that these should be gradually included in the prices.
  6. We will continue our activities in order to reduce urban car traffic and to introduce parking regulations and 30km/h zones, and to improve the conditions for pedestrians.
  7. We will improve the co-operation with the bicycle organisations in order to improve the conditions of cycling.
  8. We will work for the development of railways instead of motorways in Hungary.
  9. We will monitor the regional development policies of the government and local authorities especially about transport. We will constantly evaluate the results and our suggestions will be sent to those whom they concern.
  10. We will continuously monitor and make suggestions about the transport and environment problems of the construction and operation of shopping malls, petrol stations, underground garages and other investments attracting a lot of traffic.
  11. We will extend and deepen our international relations especially with the European Federation for Transport and Environment, as well as with other environmental organisations dealing with transport.

 

Energy

  1. We will continue our research and information activities with special regard to energy prices, increasing energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources.
  2. We will encourage the public participation in the field of energy policy. We will take part in the work the Energy Interest Representative Council and co-operate with Ministry of Economy.
  3. We will encourage the implementation of the governmental decree 2206/2000 on climate protection.

 

Planned budget of the Clean Air Action Group for the year 2001

Expenses

Item

HUF 1000

1. Personal expenses

12740

2. Personal expenses taxes

4332

3. Total material cost

2800

3.1. Stationery, broad-sheet

1430

3.2. Furniture and equipment

440

3.3. Maintenance cost (water, electricity, gas)

290

3.4. Semi-fixed asset cost

495

3.5. Other

145

4. Material-like service cost

8415

4.1. Travel cost

1650

4.2. Participation cost of events, conferences

330

4.3. Rental fees

55

4.4. Maintenance and service cost

350

4.5. Post

850

4.6. Phone

3750

4.7. Copying

90

4.8. Books, subscriptions for newspapers

490

4.9. Publication editing and printing cost

120

4.10. Cost of civil service

300

4.11. Representation

150

4.12. Bank cost

120

4.13. Other

160

5. Total cost of non-material like services

7070

5.1. Rental fees

3300

5.2. Advertising fees

70

5.3. Membership fees

60

5.4. Training

500

5.5. Fees of contractor, sub-contractor

270

5.6. Support for other organisations

2.800

5.7. Organisation improvement

500

5.8. Other

70

Total cost

35857

Incomes

Item

HUF 1000

Remaining on Jan.1, 2001.

3020

Hungarian Parliament

1500

Ministry of Environment

18000

Local governments

500

Hungarian grants, supports

2000

Foreign grants

10000

Membership fees

500

Interests

300

Business income

6000

Total

41820