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Denmark, S’pore share interest in green growth

SINGAPORE – Having policies and infrastructure that support cycling as a primary mode of transport are some of the lessons that Singapore can learn from Denmark, said Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew this evening (April 20).

SINGAPORE — Having policies and infrastructure that support cycling as a primary mode of transport are some of the lessons that Singapore can learn from Denmark, said Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew today (April 20).

Speaking at a reception to celebrate 50 years of Singapore-Denmark relations, Mr Lui said that while he was on a visit to the Scandinavian country last year, he was fascinated by how cycling is a primary mode of transport there, instead of just a complement to the main modes. Half of the commuters in Copenhagen move around on bicycles.

“Even in the deepest parts of winter, you see Danish people cycling tens of kilometres to their destination,” said Mr Lui at the Danish Ambassador’s residence, where the reception was held.

He added: “I am not suggesting that Singaporeans do that, but in terms of providing the infrastructure, in terms of the policies, in terms of making it a more friendly mode of commute in Singapore, that is something we are going to pick up further from Denmark.”

At the launch of the latest Sustainable Singapore Blueprint last year, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that if the Danes can cycle in the winter, so can Singaporeans in the tropics.

Besides cycling policies, Mr Lui said both Denmark and Singapore want to provide timely and accurate information of public transportation from Denmark. For example, both countries are trying to release more data on bus arrival times and crowd levels in buses to help commuters decide whether to wait for the next bus or walk to their destination, he said.

Last week, the Land Transport Authority updated its MyTransport.SG mobile application to show more accurate bus arrival information and indicate whether there are seats on a bus through colour-coding.

The reception yesterday also celebrated the birthday of Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II. Speaking at the reception, Mr Henrik Sass Larsen, Denmark’s Minister for Business and Growth, said the Danish Embassy was “working intensely” to promote new initiatives from Denmark for “Smart Cities” solutions in Singapore.

One of these initiatives are electricity-saving smart grids. Launched in 2013 by the Danish government, the smart grid combines electricity meters read on an hourly basis with variable tariffs and a data hub, enabling consumers to use the power when it is least expensive. “We are trying all the time to get better solutions by using electricity better, how to save electricity,” Mr Larsen said.

Stressing that Denmark is working with Singapore as equal partners, Mr Larsen said both countries have had a strong bond since 1965 and are cooperating in many new areas today. This includes the Danish food industry, which is becoming firmly established in Singapore, as well as architecture and urban development, he said.

Last year, the Danish and Singapore Environment Ministries signed a Memorandum of Understanding on water and environmental innovation. “We hope to expand this corporation in creating liveable and sustainable cities,” said Mr Larsen. 

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