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What ideas the Alpine-Initiative comes up with

Never lost for an idea. Since 1989, people from the Alpine Initiative have committed themselves to protecting the mountains they live in. They win every referendum and their style is known all over Europe: competent, convincing and always good for a surprise.

January 2018

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The Alpine Initiative participated in the consultation on the Swiss government’s draft of the “2030/2035 Rail Infrastructure Expansion Phase (Ausbauschritt der Bahninfrastruktur 2030/35)” and demanded the completion of the Lötschberg base tunnel. Moreover, it demanded that the tracks be secured for freight traffic in the long term, and that the strategic development programme for rail infrastructure (STEP) 2030/2035 should take more account of freight traffic.

December 2017

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The Alpine Initiative held an event to highlight the publication of the 2017 Transfer Report. Although the overall number of trucks crossing the Alps has decreased, the statutory transfer goal has not been reached. The Alpine Initiative is therefore demanding additional measures.

October 2017

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The Swiss government adopted the general project for the construction of the second bore of the Gotthard road tunnel. The Alpine Initiative warned that the second bore must not lead to more transit traffic. It therefore is important that the capacity of a maximum of 1,000 vehicles per hour in each direction continues to be respected in the future.

September 2017

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The “whatsalp” project – a long-distance trek across the Alps, from Vienna to Nice – was successfully completed. It aimed to document the current state of the Alps and changes to them. The TransALPedes project followed the same route back in 1992. The Alpine Initiative also supported the project at that time.

September 2017

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The Alpine Initiative awarded the “Devil’s Stone” to Trivara AG, a company that imports “Fiji” water from the Fiji islands, 22,000 km away. With its “Rock Crystal” award, which was bestowed for the first time, the Alpine Initiative honoured a project by the City of Lausanne that aims to source 70% of the food used in the city’s canteen kitchens from less than 70 km away.

August 2017

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In a colourful event, the Alpine Initiative submitted its appeal for an increase in truck controls to the Federal Chancellery in Berne. 10,398 people signed the petition asking the Minister of Transport, Doris Leuthard, to reinforce controls of road freight traffic. This is important for the policy that aims to transfer traffic from road to rail, because compliance with road safety standards will ensures fair competition between road and rail.

August 2017

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In 2017, we lit our traditional Alpine bonfire above Brig, together with Cipra Switzerland, Mountain Wilderness and the “whatsalp” project, in which hikers trekked across the Alps from Vienna to Nice. The next day, Jon Pult, President of the Alpine Initiative, presented the aims of the organisation. A 10-point action plan has been drawn up to ensure that the transfer goal is reached by 2018.

May 2017

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At their assembly in Frauenfeld, members of the Alpine Initiative launched an appeal to the Minister of Transport, Doris Leuthard. They asked the Swiss government to reinforce truck controls in order to increase road safety. A level playing field in transport will increase the market share of rail and decrease the number of trucks crossing the Alps.

March 2017

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In 2016, 975,000 trucks crossed the Swiss Alps. This means that the number of truck trips fell below one million for the first time since the adoption of the Alpine Initiative in 1994. The Alpine Initiative is very pleased about this development, but will keep up its work until the goal of a maximum of 650,000 trucks per year is reached.

February 2017

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At its annual media conference in Bern, the Alpine Initiative presented a representative survey on the transfer of freight from road to rail: 80 percent of the Swiss population want only 650,000 trucks or less to cross the Alps per year. A clear majority also wants politicians to adopt new measures.

January 2017

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It took a lot of convincing by the Alpine Initiative, but the Commission of the Upper Chamber of the Swiss Parliament also rejected proposals to ease the night-time ban on trucks and increase the 40-tonne weight limit for timber transport. If adopted, these proposals would have hampered the transfer of freight from road to rail.

December 2016

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Shortly before the opening of the Gotthard base tunnel, the Alpine Initiative welcomed this pioneering project with an enormous heart. At the portal in Erstfeld, in the canton of Uri, activists released balloons with cards attached that read, “We love the Alps. This is why freight must be transferred from road to more environmentally-friendly rail.”

November 2016

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The Alpine initiative rejects the Swiss government’s bill on climate policy. In the area of freight transport, urgent measures have to be taken in order to achieve the climate goals. However, such proposals are largely lacking, although transport is responsible for 40 percent of Switzerland’s CO2 emissions.

October 2016

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The fourth “Alpine Week” was held in the Bavarian Alpine foothills. If offered participants the opportunity to exchange their experiences, challenges and ideas on the Alpine region. The Alpine Initiative informed the participants about the Freight Transfer Policy in Switzerland and its own requests.
 

September 2016

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Our work is bearing fruit. The number of transalpine truck trips is continuing to decrease. With additional measures such as a CO2 limit for trucks and the introduction of an Alpine Crossing Exchange, the goal of a maximum of 650,000 transalpine truck trips per year can be reached. The Gotthard base tunnel is available and has sufficient rail capacity.

August 2016

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This year, the Alpine Initiative lit its traditional warning bonfire on the Simplon Pass. Every day, the pass is crossed by trucks carrying hazardous goods such as fuel oil and solvents. In September, the Swiss National Council recognized the dangerous situation as such for the first time. It asked the Swiss government to examine a rail transport solution for the transport of hazardous goods over the Simplon Pass.

June 2016

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At the beginning of June, the SBB opens the new Gotthard rail base tunnel. Before it is traversed by the first commercial freight train, SBB CEO Andreas Meyer underlines the importance of this pioneering project: “What counts is not the infrastructure, but only what we make of it.” We can now finally transfer goods from road to rail!

May 2016

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Three months after the adoption of the second bore, the Alpine Initiative asks the Swiss Minister of Transport, Doris Leuthard, to transfer goods from road to rail. Its General Assembly in Schwyz adopts a resolution that requests the increase of the HGV charge and negotiations on an Alpine Crossing Exchange with the EU and the Alpine countries.

February 2016

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After an intensive referendum campaign, the Alpine Initiative has to accept defeat on 28 February 2016. 57.0% of the Swiss electorate vote in favour of a second bore for the Gotthard road tunnel. This makes it all the more important for the association to dedicate itself to the long overdue implementation of the transfer goal.

February 2016

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At its annual media conference, the Alpine Initiative illustrates, using a study by Heinz Pulver, that all goods can be transported across the Alps by rail. Rail capacity suffices both to reach the transfer goal and to set up a temporary piggyback transport system during the renovation of the Gotthard road tunnel.

January 2016

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At the beginning of January, the “No to a second bore at the Gotthard” association launches its referendum campaign with a media conference. In the broad alliance against the second bore, the Alpine Initiative joins forces with 50 other organisations. Together, they want to prevent Switzerland descending into transit hell and undermining the investment made in the new Gotthard rail base tunnel.

December 2015

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By failing to increase the HGV charge in the past, the Swiss government has squandered a total of 2.75 billion Swiss francs, or rather, given them away to the truck lobby. In the new transfer report, it finally promises the long overdue increase in the HGV charge.

November 2015

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At a media conference, the Alpine Initiative presents a study that deals with the climate impact of transalpine heavy goods traffic in Switzerland. It concludes that in order to reach its climate goals, Switzerland must on no account compromise its transfer goal, but instead needs to become more restrictive.

October 2015

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For the fifth time the Alpine Initiative awards the “Red Devil’s Stone” for absurd transport. This time to the Coca-Cola company. Its beverage cans are filled in Italy and trucked to Switzerland via the Gotthard road tunnel. Meanwhile, Coca-Cola is producing the same drinks in Switzerland and highlighting its commitment to sustainability. Such absurd transport has a negative impact on humans and the environment, as well as the road infrastructure.

September 2015

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Together with the “No to a second bore at the Gotthard” association, the Alpine Initiative organises a protest at the mythical Devil’s Stone in Göschenen UR. Exactly 35 years after the opening of the Gotthard road tunnel we say: Another pact with the devil – i.e. a second tunnel – no way!

August 2015

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Around 150 people responded to the Alpine Initiative’s appeal and participated in the traditional, annual bonfire for the protection of the Alps. This commitment once again shows that the protection of the sensitive Alpine area concerns people, especially so at the Gotthard, and that there is huge resistance to the planned second bore for the Gotthard road tunnel.

May 2015

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Various Alpine crossings are to be developed into transit routes. The Alpine Initiative opposes this. It adopted a corresponding resolution at its AGM in Bellinzona (Ticino). The same resolution was signed by the organisation Initiative Transport Europe (ITE) in Cuneo (Italy).

March 2015

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The “No to the second Gotthard bore” association sent an invoice for 125,573 Swiss francs to the Swiss Transport Minister, Doris Leuthard. In theory, we should not have needed to collect any signatures against a second bore, because a second bore creates new capacity on a transalpine route. Such an increase in capacity is banned by the Swiss constitution, which means that a second bore would necessitate a change to the constitution. Such a change, in turn, would have to be approved by the people. However, the Swiss government is using the proposed change in law to avoid a vote on the constitution.
 

February 2015

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At its annual media conference, the Alpine Initiative presented a study by the University of Fribourg’s Institute for European Law. It confirms that current road traffic volumes due to transalpine freight clearly violate both the constitutional and the legal mandate to transfer traffic from road to rail.

January 2015

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The “No to the second Gotthard bore” association, in which the Alpine Initiative plays a central role, submitted 152,573 signatures in Bern, 75,731 of which were authenticated. “Marmots”, “ibexes” and “chamois” as well as many directly concerned inhabitants from the cantons of Ticino and Uri provided an evocative musical background.

January 2015

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After nearly 20 years as Secretary and Transport Policy Director of the Alpine Initiative, Alf Arnold retired at the end of 2014. The Board elected Lucia Lauener-Zwyer as the new Secretary and Manuel Hermann as the new Alpine Protection Policy Director. This internal solution involving proven staff guarantees continuity in the Alpine Initiative’s political work and the reliable management of the Association, explained President Jon Pult.

October 2014

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After both chambers of the Swiss Parliament voted in favour of a second bore for the Gotthard tunnel (the Council of States in March and the National Council at the end of September), the Alpine Initiative, together with 50 other organisations, founded the “No to the second Gotthard bore” association and launched a referendum against Parliament's decision.

September 2014

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At the invitation of the Alpine Initiative, a group of French people interested in transport policy met in the canton of Uri to discuss Switzerland's policy of transferring traffic from road to rail. It is important to strengthen co-operation between Alpine countries and regions in order to alleviate transit problems in Alpine valleys from Mont Blanc to the Brenner Pass. The Alpine Crossing Exchange was proposed as a suitable means of efficiently transferring freight to rail.

August 2014

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This year, the Alpine Initiative's traditional warning bonfire was lit in Tenero TI. A total of 30 bonfires were lit across the Alps, taking a stance against the second bore of the Gotthard tunnel and the destruction of the sensitive Alpine ecosystem.

June 2014

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In an open letter, the Alpine Initiative asked Doris Leuthard, the Swiss Minister of Transport, to finally implement Article 84 of the Federal Constitution. This clearly defines a maximum of 650,000 transalpine truck crossings per year, and neither Parliament nor the Swiss government is empowered to change the Constitution.

May 2014

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The politician Jon Pult, from the canton of Graubünden, was elected as the new President of the Alpine Initiative, succeeding Fabio Pedrina. In a resolution, the Alpine Initiative called for politicians and industry to have a fundamental rethink about mobility.

February 2014

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On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Article for the Protection of the Alps, the Alpine Initiative thumped the table. With a demonstration in front of the Swiss Parliament, it once again demanded that freight transport be transferred from road to rail and the number of trucks crossing the Alps be reduced to 650,000 per year.

January 2014

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A study commissioned by the European region Tyrol - South Tyrol - Trentino confirms that there are no legal obstacles to the introduction of an Alpine Crossing Exchange (ACE). The only thing lacking in the Alpine states is political will. No other alternatives would ensure the transfer of freight traffic from road to rail as effectively as an ACE. The study was written by Astrid Epiney, Director of the Institute for European Law at the University of Fribourg.

November 2013

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The Alpine Initiative was disappointed by the Swiss government’s freight transfer report. Although clear legal goals have been set and the government had explicitly been asked by Parliament to increase the pace of the transfer of freight from road to rail, virtually no change has been observed on transalpine transit routes since the last report in 2011.

October 2013

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The ambassadors of EU countries in Switzerland were invited to the Gotthard region by the Alpine Initiative and the Lithuanian Embassy for a briefing on the Swiss freight transfer policy and transalpine freight transport. They visited the Ripshausen heavy goods centre and the construction site for the Gotthard base tunnel in the canton of Uri, and showed great interest in the idea of an Alpine Crossing Exchange.

September 2013

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The Alpine Initiative has initiated the establishment of a centre of excellence for a transport-efficient economy. Its aim is to study freight transport flows in greater detail and show how journeys could be prevented and distances shortened. Representatives from science, industry, associations and public administration met in Altdorf to discuss possible business models for such an institution.

September 2013

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The Swiss Government adopted its message for a second bore at the Gotthard tunnel. It did so despite the fact that the Alpine Initiative had demonstrated repeatedly that a second bore would cost 3 billion Swiss francs more than a temporary transfer of the tunnel’s traffic to rail during renovation works. Moreover, a transfer to rail would neither isolate Ticino nor undermine the transfer of freight from road to rail.

August 2013

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With two traditional bonfires in Ticino and Western Switzerland, the Alpine Initiative again asked politicians to continue to protect the Alps and to pursue a moderate transport policy, without a second bore at the Gotthard road tunnel.

April 2013 – Submission of petition

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For about three months, the Alpine Initiative toured Switzerland to collect signatures against a second bore at the Gotthard tunnel. Ultimately, 68,023 signatures were submitted to the Swiss Parliament. Together with other organizations, the Alpine Initiative thus set a clear example for the protection of the Alps. It also showed that it can collect the 50,000 signatures necessary for an official referendum against the tunnel at any time.

March 2013 - Consultation

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The Alpine Initiative took part in the consultation into changing the Federal Freight Traffic Transfer Act and asked the government to refrain from constructing a second bore at the Gotthard road tunnel. A second bore is unnecessary, would sabotage the transfer of freight from road to rail and cost more than any other renovation solution.

January 2013 – petition

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With a popular consultation (petition) launched in Lucerne, the Alpine Initiative aims to get the Swiss government and parliament to scrap plans for a second bore for the Gotthard road tunnel. Such a tunnel would not only violate the Swiss constitution, but would also be a bad move from a transportation and financial point of view. Signatures are being collected until April 2013.
 

December 2012 – eyewash

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The Alpine Initiative drew attention to the fact that the Swiss government had miscalculated the costs of a second bore for the Gotthard road tunnel. The proposed piggyback solution is cheaper than claimed by the government, while the construction and maintenance of two road tunnels is significantly more expensive. This means that transporting trucks via a piggyback solution would actually be 2.8 to 3.4 billion francs cheaper than building a second tunnel.

December 2012 – Alpine Crossing Exchange

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About 25 people from Austria and Italy visited the Heavy Goods Vehicle Centre and the construction site for the new Gotthard rail base tunnel in Erstfeld. The group comprised experts from transport ministries, universities, planning offices, trade unions, political parties, environmental organizations and economic research institutes. The visit focused on the Alpine Crossing Exchange.

November 2012 – No to a second road tunnel

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The Board of the Alpine Initiative decided unanimously to launch a referendum, should the Swiss parliament decide to drill a second bore for the Gotthard road tunnel. An alternative rail solution is feasible, and Ticino would remain easily accessible. While tunnel safety would be improved slightly with a second bore, even a slight increase in traffic would increase the risk of accidents across the entire Basel-Chiasso route.
 

September 2012 – New Year’s Eve for trucks

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The Alps desperately need relief from HGV traffic. Yet more trucks cross the mountains than are legally permitted to do so. The Alpine Initiative drew attention to this fact in four towns along transit routes – in Chur, Sion, Lugano and Lucerne.

August 2012 – Fire in the Alps

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At Castello di Mesocco in Val Mesolcina in the Grisons, the Alpine Initiative and local environmental organizations Moesanovivibile and Leventinavivibile lit their traditional warning bonfire. The three organizations demanded the transfer of freight from road to rail, an Alpine Crossing Exchange and the scrapping of the planned second bore for the Gotthard road tunnel.

June 2012 – Misguided decision by the Swiss government

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The Swiss government has decided to build a second bore, with one-way traffic in each bore. This decision is irrational because all the studies undertaken by the relevant authorities to date show that it would be feasible and also cheaper to renovate the tunnel without constructing a second bore. According to the Swiss Council for Accident Prevention (bfu), a second bore would not necessarily improve safety.

June 2012 – Parliament wants Alpine Crossing Exchange

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The two chambers of the Swiss parliament showed their support for the Swiss transfer policy and again asked the Swiss government to negotiate an Alpine Crossing Exchange with the EU. They also demanded the building of a north-south rail corridor that can transport semitrailers with a height of up to 4m and urged the government to use its discretion to increase the kilometre-based HGV tax.

April 2012 – noise study

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On International Noise Awareness Day, the Alpine Initiative presented a study that shows that noise pollution in the Leventina and Reuss valleys would decrease significantly if fewer or no trucks were to drive through these areas. As of 2016 (when the Gotthard base tunnel opens), piggyback trains could transport HGV transit traffic during the renovation of the Gotthard road tunnel and maybe also subsequently.

March 2012 – south-north-coalition

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The “For a sustainable and reliable south-north-link” coalition made its first official appearance in Bern. It comprises 14 organisations from the Swiss canton of Ticino as well as numerous individuals, and is coordinated by the Alpine Initiative. Their common goal is to maintain Ticino as a canton worth living in and to protect it from a further increase in HGV transit traffic. The coalition also explicitly supports the renovation of the Gotthard road tunnel without the construction of a second bore.

November 2011 – Dimitri

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November 2011 - Der bekannte Clown Dimitri, Mitglied der Alpen-Initiative, hat sich nach den nationalen Wahlen mit einem offenen Brief an die Mitglieder des Nationalrats und des Ständerats gewandt. Die Parlamentarierinnen und Parlamentarier sollen doch bitte dafür sorgen, dass die Alpen vor den Transitlastwagen geschützt werden.

The well-known clown Dimitri, a member of the Alpine Initiative, addressed members of the National Council and the Council of States (Lower and Upper Chambers of the Swiss Parliament) in an open letter after the national elections. He asked Members of Parliament to ensure that the Alps were protected from transit traffic.

November 2011 – Franz Hohler

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The author Franz Hohler has been supporting the Alpine Initiative for many years now. In 2011, he wrote a total of five articles on his hikes and treks for the Alpine Initiative’s “Echo” magazine.

May 2011 – Uri says no to a second road tunnel for the 3rd time

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The people of Uri reject both an initiative by the Young Swiss People’s Party (56.9% of votes) and the counter-proposal by the cantonal government (68.6% of votes). Both proposals requested a second Gotthard road tunnel. The Alpine Initiative fought against both proposals, instead asking the Swiss Federation to introduce rail transport for both cars and trucks to take account of the regions’ concerns.

February 2011 – NRLA – piggyback transport for trucks!

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The Alpine Initiative proposes to introduce a permanent piggyback transport solution for trucks in the Gotthard base tunnel. At the same time, only trucks for local transport are to be permitted in the renovated road tunnel. This concept will enable a “lightweight” renovation, freight transfer in line with Swiss legislation and will lead to increased safety.

May 2010 – German transport politicians and the Alpine Crossing Exchange

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At the invitation of the Alpine Initiative, a group of transport politicians from the German Parliament visited the NRLA (new rail link through the Alps) building site and the heavy goods transport centre in Erstfeld. This enabled the Alpine Initiative to familiarise the group with both Swiss transport policy and the Alpine Crossing Exchange project.

February 2010 – Expert report

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Together with a group of experts, the Alpine Initiative worked out a traffic management proposal for the renovation of the Gotthard road tunnel. All traffic is to be transferred to the Göschenen-Airolo rail tunnel (cars) and the new Erstfeld – Biasca base tunnel (trucks). This has now become the official proposal of the Swiss Federation.

December 2009 – World Climate Summit in Copenhagen

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During the journey from Brussels to the World Climate Summit in Copenhagen on the international Climate Express, the Alpine Initiative presented European railway stakeholders with its policy ideas for transferring freight from road to rail. The climate-neutral journey was initiated by the International Union of Railways (UIC) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

December 2009 – The Alpine Initiative in Brussels

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On International Mountain Day, the Alpine Initiative let the tones of an alphorn resound around the European Parliament and served dishes from the Alpine area with the help of the canteen chef. In addition to culinary specialties, the information stand also presented a tempting new recipe for the “Alpine Crossing Exchange”.

August 2009 – Alpine bonfire in Basel

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The Alpine Initiative’s huge torchlight lettering on the old DB goods rail yard drew attention to the threat of megatrucks. At the same time we helped to organize a major anti-megatruck-coalition, recruiting more than 40 members. Cantonal initiatives against megatrucks were organized in about a dozen different Swiss cantons.
 

May 2009 – Big celebration for a sustainable future

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About 250 guests celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Alpine Initiative and the 15th anniversary of the Article on the Protection of the Alps in Flüelen on May 9th. Many prominent figures honoured our event with their presence. We will nevertheless remain a thorn in their side and persistently work towards implementing the Article on the Protection of the Alps.

December 2008 - A smart idea for the Alpine Crossing Exchange

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From 14 December 2009 onward, the Intercity 543 from Salzburg to Vienna will be named „Alpentransitbörse“ (Alpine Crossing Exchange) for two years. The name will be announced at each stop and be mentioned in the train timetables, the train information leaflets distributed on the trains, on the train displays and also displayed on the train itself. 

September 2008 - S-Cargo Helveticus is trying hard...

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To win over National Councillors (Members of the Swiss Parliament) for the transfer of freight traffic from road to rail, the Alpine Initiative sweetened its request with delicious S-Cargo Helveticus chocolates.

July 2008 - Keep an eye on the protection of the Alps

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With ironic postcards addressed to the National Councillors (Members of the Swiss Parliament), supporters of the Alpine Initiative reminded their politicians of the Article on the Protection of the Alps and demanded a consistent transfer of freight transport from road to rail. This action was to remind the National Council of the will of the Swiss people during the upcoming parliamentary debate on the Freight Traffic Transfer Act in September.

October 2007 - The moment of truth has come

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In a symbolic action, members of the Alpine Initiative distributed sausages, which are a symbol of the moment of truth in German-speaking countries, to parliamentarians in front of the Swiss Pparliament. They did this to highlight their request to the Council of States (Small Chamber) to adopt the Alpine Crossing Exchange and transfer transalpine freight traffic from road to rail.

August 2007 – Alpine bonfire on the Furka pass

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More than 200 people joined an “Alpine warning bonfire”. With the bonfire and the closing of the pass for vehicles, the Alpine Initiative, together with the FreiPass association, took a stance against the further postponement of the transfer of freight from road to rail. 

January 2007 - Alpine Initiative is awarded Prix Watt dOr

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The Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) awarded the Prix Watt d’Or to the Alpine Initiative for its innovative idea of an Alpine Crossing Exchange.

November 2006 - Popular Consultation on freight transfer from road to rail

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During a “popular consultation” of the Alpine Initiative, more than 40,000 citizens demanded that the Federal Council (Swiss Government) finally does its job properly.

April to October 2006 – “forza 2009! Goods by rail – according to plan”

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With weekly activities over a six-month period, the Alpine Initiative’s “forza 2009!” campaign fought against the further postponement of the transfer of freight from road to rail. 

November 2005 - Red Devils Stone for Trimmis incineration plant

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In Eastern Switzerland, waste trucks cross each other heading in opposite directions. A number of trucks transport waste from Southern Germany to Trimmis in the Swiss canton of Graubünden. At the same time, the Oberengadin Waste Management Association exports its waste from Graubünden to Niederurnen, in the canton of Glarus. The Trimmis incinerator also burns waste from Ticino.

July 2005 - Protest action against the delay of the transfer from road to rail

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In a reaction to the preliminary draft of the Transit Traffic Transfer Act, the Alpine Initiative protested against the delay of the transfer from road to rail. “Echo” magazine n° 82 contained postcards that were to be sent to the Swiss Transport Minister Moritz Leuenberger. People could also send e-cards to the Federal Office of Transport, to push for the transfer from road to rail. The action was a success, with numerous cards being sent

November 2004 - The Alps still suffer from a surfeit of trucks

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On the occasion of the publication of the second transfer report, an action by the Alpine Initiative in front of the Swiss Parliament illustrated that the Alps were still suffering from a surfeit of trucks. The speed of the transfer from road to rail remains inadequate. To achieve the transfer objective, it would be necessary to transfer 10.5 per cent of freight traffic or 108,000 trips per year. Only an Alpine Crossing Exchange, with clear limits on transit trips, will relieve the Alps from this malady.

October 2004 - Red Devil’s Stone for Délifrance SA

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The Alpine Initiative regularly draws the public’s attention to absurd transport by awarding the “Red Devil’s Stone”. In 2004, this little-coveted prize is awarded to Délifrance SA. Délifrance bread is produced in the Netherlands and then transported to Swiss shops where it is baked.

February 2004 - The Swiss people say no to the „Avanti rip-off“

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On February 8th, the Swiss electorate reject the Avanti counter-proposal with a majority of 62.8%; at a canton level the road lobby even suffers a 26:0 defeat. Shortly before the 10th anniversary of the constitutional article for the protection of the Alps, the Swiss thus clearly reject an undermining of the protection of the Alps. Contrary to a majority of the parliament, the Swiss people do not want to have anything to do with doubling the capacity of the St. Gotthard road tunnel. This success confirms the Alpine Initiative in its commitment.

October 2003 - Red Devil’s Stone for Nestlé Waters

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On 6 October 2003, activists of the Alpine Initiative present Nestlé Waters (Switzerland) with the Red Devil’s Stone at the company’s headquarters in Gland VD. Nestlé Water is a worldwide leader in the marketing of water and generates vast quantities of absurd transport by making profits out of water.

August 2003 - Demonstration against congested thinking in transport policy

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On the Gotthard Pass, the Alpine Initiative and Leventina Vivibile demonstrate against the Avanti Initiative and doubling the capacity of the St. Gotthard road tunnel. After the unveiling of a commemorative “think about it” stone in protest against congested thinking in transport policy, a bonfire is lit to draw attention to the resistance against road transport.

February 2003 - More roads don’t create more jobs

Using the example of two regions in the Swiss canton Uri, economist Pia Steiner shows that a good transport network stops neither a population exodus nor job losses. The study was commissioned by the Alpine Initiative.

February 2003 - No more polluting lorries in Switzerland

The pre-1988 “Euro 0” category of lorries is no longer allowed to use the Mont Blanc and Fréjus tunnels nor, in the near future, the Brenner Pass. The Alpine Initiative demands that these foul polluting lorries are also banned across Switzerland.

October 2002 - Commemoration of the accident in the St. Gotthard tunnel

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The Alpine Initiative uses huge candles to commemorate the eleven people killed during the accident in the St. Gotthard road tunnel a year earlier.

October 2002 - Eventful autumn in Courmayeur

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The Mont Blanc tunnel entrance is blocked once again to protest against its use by heavy lorries. The demonstration is supported by the Alpine Initiative.

October 2002 - Award of the Red Devil’s Stone

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The Swiss supermarkets Migros and Coop transport their whipped cream up to 2,000 km to have it packaged into spray cans. This nonsensical transport wins the Alpine Initiative’s first “Red Devil’s Stone” award.

June 2002 - Massive demonstrations at the Mont Blanc tunnel

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Several thousand people, including activists from the Alpine Initiative, block the entry to the Mont Blanc tunnel to demonstrate against the use of the tunnel by heavy lorries.

May 2002 - Together against noise

Together with the Swiss Doctors for the Environment, the Alpine Initiative shows how much of a negative effect permanent noise pollution has.

May 2002 - Demand for an Alpine Crossing Exchange

The Alpine Initiative proposes the introduction of an Alpine Crossing  Exchange. This is to help regulate traffic at its source.

April 2002 - Enormous success for the Alpine tunnel petition

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The Alpine tunnel petition is submitted in Bern with around 137,000 signatures.

April 2002 - Transit conference in Munich

The international transit conference in Munich discusses sustainable mobility in the Alpine region.

April 2002 - First report on the transfer of traffic

The first report on the transfer of traffic by the Swiss government shows that transport trends in Switzerland are moving in the right direction, but that there is still a long way to go.

February 2002 - Launching of an Alpine petition

The launching of the Alpine tunnel petition in Göschenen, Airolo and Thusis opens the campaign against the doubling of the capacity of the St. Gotthard road tunnel.

November 2001 - President of the Alpine Initiative demands Alpine Crossing Exchange

After the disaster in the Gothard tunnel, Swiss national councillor Fabio Pedrina, the President of the Alpine Initiative, suggested restricting truck transit trips, based primarily on safety and health factors. He also launched the introduction of an Alpine Crossing Exchange. (Postulate 01.3773).

November 2001 - Mountain manifesto

Together with 93 other environmental and transport organisations from across Europe, the Alpine Initiative launches the mountain manifesto, a catalogue of demands for an international policy on Alpine transport that is environmentally friendly and socially compatible.

October 2001 - Accident in the St. Gotthard road tunnel

Eleven people die in a tragic accident in the St. Gotthard road tunnel

October 2001 - International Action Day

Before the reopening of the Mont Blanc Tunnel, a big demonstration is held on and near the Fréjus motorway. A dozen solidarity actions are also held in France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

September 2001 - Ban on Mont Blanc Lorries

At a press conference in Bern the Alpine Initiative supports the demand of the population of the Chamonix valley, who demand that lorries are no longer allowed to use the Mont Blanc tunnel after its reopening.

August 2001 - Warning fires in the Alps

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During the night of Saturday, 11 August 2001, numerous warning and resistance fires are lit across the entire Alpine region from Vienna to Nice

Juily 2001 - Alpine Express

The Alpine Initiative asks the railways to increase their provision and make it more attractive and to thus make a contribution to reducing traffic jams at the St. Gotthard tunnel

May 2001 - Solidarity at the Mont Blanc tunnel

The Alpine Initiative shows solidarity with the population of the Mont Blanc area and demands that the tunnel must not be reopened for lorries. Instead, the government should push through the transfer of freight traffic to from road to rail.

March 2001 - Transit conference in Locarno

The international transit conference in Locarno addresses the dangers of transporting hazardous material.

February 2001 - Kilometre-based HGV taxes for the whole of Europe

The Alpine Initiative asks for a European-wide introduction of a kilometre-based tax on heavy goods vehicles along the lines of the Swiss model.

November 2000 - Submission of the Avanti Initiative

The Avanti Initiative which, among other things, asks for a second bore for the St. Gotthard road tunnel, i.e. the doubling of its capacity is submitted to the Swiss authorities. The Alpine Initiative, together with 20 other environmental organisations, gets organised to fight this push for new roads.

August 2000 - 20th anniversary of the St. Gotthard road tunnel

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On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the St Gotthard road tunnel, the Alpine Initiative dresses the devil’s stone near the motorway in red, erects a commemorative sculpture by Fredy Odermatt and holds a demonstration party to draw people’s attention to the problem of increasing transit traffic.

July 2000 - Alpine Initiative in Liechtenstein

The Liechtenstein population is asked to vote on an initiative similar to the Swiss model. It targets the increasing transit traffic from Germany via Lake Constance and Liechtenstein in the direction of the San Bernardino Pass.

May 2000 - Breathless

An in-depth study by the Alpine Initiative demonstrates the effects of Alpine transit traffic on air pollution and thus the quality of life in Alpine valleys.

April 2000 - Change of Leadership

A new president for the Alpine Initiative: Fabio Pedrina replaces Andreas Weissen.

March 2000 - Transit conference in Chamonix

The transit conference in Chamonix addresses the tragic accident in the Mont Blanc tunnel and the explosive growth in traffic.

February 2000 - Alpine Initiative demands piggyback transport

Shortly after the catastrophes in the Mont Blanc and Tauern tunnels, the Alpine Initiative asks for piggyback transport of lorries on the St. Gotthard railway between Göschenen and Airolo to reduce the risk of accidents in the St. Gotthard road tunnel.

December 1999 - Signing of the transport agreement

The Swiss government and the EU agree on a bilateral land transport agreement. In a joint press release, the environmental and transport organisations Alpine Initiative, VCS, Greenpeace, Pro Natura and WWF and the railworkers’ trade union SEV warn of the negative effects of the treaty and explicitly ask for accompanying measures within Switzerland.

October 1999 - St. Gotthard motorway blocked

A rock concert on the Saint Gotthard motorway blocks the road for about an hour.

June 1999 - Demand for a European kilometre tax for heavy goods vehicles

Together with other environmental organisations, the Alpine Initiative launches an international petition to the European Parliament in which it asks for the introduction of a kilometre-based HGV tax for the whole of Europe.

March 1999 - Disaster in the Mont Blanc Road Tunnel

A transit lorry catches fire in the tunnel. 39 people are killed.

February 1999 - Transit conference in Arles-sur-Rhone

The fifth international transit conference takes place in Southern France. It debates the regional economy, transport infrastructures, citizens’ participation and a kilometre-based vehicle tax for the whole of Europe.

November 1998 - Switzerland accepts financing of public sector projects

The Swiss people accept the law on the construction and financing of infrastructure projects in the public transport sector with a majority of 63.5%.

September 1998 - Switzerland adopts a kilometre-based heavy vehicles tax

A kilometre-based heavy vehicles tax is adopted by the Swiss people with an unexpectedly decisive majority of 57.2%.

Autumn 1998 – the Alpine Initiative supports the FPT

Under the leadership of the SEV trade union, the Alpine Initiative, together with the SGB trade union and the VCS transport association, committed itself for a yes vote in the referendum on the financing of infrastructure projects in the public transport sector (FPT). 

Summer 1998 – Alpine Initiative demands kilometre-based HGV tax

Together with Greenpeace, the SEV (Swiss rail workers trade union), the SGB (Swiss Trade Union Federation) and the VCS (Swiss Transport Association), the Alpine Initiative played a leading role in the campaign for a yes vote in the referendum on the introduction of a kilometre-based HGV tax.

December 1997 – 10th anniversary of the Alpine Initiative

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The Alpine Initiative celebrates its 10th anniversary.   

October 1997 - A night ban for the whole of Europe

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On the occasion of an international action day, the Alpine Initiative demands the observance of the night ban in Switzerland and its extension to the whole of Europe.

June 1997 - One third of the deadline has expired

A third of the ten-year period set by the people to the authorities to shift freight transit to rail has elapsed. In memory of this, three blue Alpine ibexes made of wood stand on the A2 in Uri and in Ticino.

March 1997 - Giezendanner vs. Alpine Initiative

Swiss people’s party (SVP) National councillor and haulier Ulrich Giezendanner wants to “correct” the Article on the Protection of the Alps by means of a parliamentary initiative.

February 1997 - Transit conference in Innsbruck

Innsbruck hosts the fourth international transit conference which discusses the topic of true costs.

October 1996 – Alpine Initiative demands push for rail

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The Alpine Initiative’s “Mehr Zug!” rally in Flüelen, demanding a push for rail, puts pressure on the Swiss government. 

June 1996 - First blockade of the St. Gotthard motorway

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The St. Gotthard action committee “Transfer Now” blocks the St. Gotthard motorway.

March 1996 - No doubling of the St. Gotthard road tunnel

Parliament clearly rejects the parliamentary Borer initiative (second bore of the St. Gotthard road tunnel).

October 1995 - Parliament supports Alpine Initiative

The parliamentary Schmidhalter initiative (which aims to annul the Alpine Initiative) is rejected by a roll call of the National Council.

February 1995 - An Alpine Initiative for the whole of Europe

The participants of the second international transit conference in Lucerne demand an Alpine Initiative for the whole of Europe.

July 1994 - Call for a new vote

The general secretary of the Swiss ministry for transport, Fritz Mühlemann, wants to put the Alpine Initiative to the vote once again.

June 1994 – Green light for the N9 motorway

Parliament gives the green light for the construction of the N9 motorway in the Upper Valais. 

20. February 1994 - The Alpine Initiative is adopted

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The Alpine Initiative is adopted by the Swiss people with a majority 954,433 votes (52%). 19 of the 26 cantons adopt the first popular initiative originating in the Alpine region.

September 1993 - First international transit conference

The Alpine Initiative organises the first international transit conference in Basel.

June 1993 - Committe against the Alpine Initiative

The Council of States (small chamber of the Swiss Parliament) rejects the Alpine Initiative and 100 parliamentarians form a committee against the Alpine Initiative.

December 1992 - National Council says no as well

The National Council (big chamber of the Swiss Parliament) rejects the Alpine Initiative.

February 1992 - The Swiss government says no

The Federal Council (the Swiss goverment) rejects the Alpine Initiative.

August 1991 - The first tranche of Alpine resistance fires

For the first time, alpine fires are lit all over the Alpine arc as a sign of resistance against the pollution of the Alps.

May 1990 - Submission of the initiative

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The signatures of the Alpine Initiative are submitted to the Swiss authorities. The initiative has been signed by 107,570 people.

May 1989 - Launching of the Alpine Initiative

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The historic Schöllenenschlucht gorge hosts the inaugural festival of the popular initiative “for the protection of the Alpine region from transit traffic” (the “Alpine Initiative” for short). It includes a press conference and the performance of a modern version of the famous myth of the devil’s bridge.

December 1987 - First meeting

Environmental supporters and left-wingers from the Swiss mountain cantons hold their first transport meeting in Andermatt.

Alpine Initiative

The Alpine Initiative is a Swiss association. In 1989 the association launched the popular initiative "for the protection of the Alpine region from transit traffic", that was accepted on the 20th February 1994 by a majority of both the Swiss population and the cantons. 
 

Alpine Initiative
Hellgasse 23
CH-6460 Altdorf UR
phone +41 41 870 97 81
Donations: CH4109000000190062469