Mayor of London publishes draft London Environment Strategy

London mayor Sadiq Khan has published a draft London Environment Strategy. The strategy aims to bring together all approaches to London’s environment in a comprehensive strategy and a consultation on it will run until 17 November. 

The draft environment strategy includes a number of proposals to improve air quality. A T-charge will be introduced from October this year and an Ultra Low Emission Zone by 2019. The T-Charge (aka the Toxicity Charge) is a £10 levy on older vehicles entering the centre of London. It will apply to all vehicles which do not meet Euro 4 emissions standards – typically those registered before 2006

The whole of London’s bus fleet will be made zero emission by 2037 and fossil fuels will be phased out in the taxi and private hire fleets. The mayor will work with government and other partners to seek reductions in emissions from aviation activity in London and the south east particularly from Heathrow and he will also seek reductions in emissions from rail transport and at stations.

Better information will be provided about air quality, especially during high and very high pollution episodes and the planning system will be used to help ensure that new schools and other buildings that will be used by people who are particularly vulnerable to pollutants are not located in areas of poor air quality.

The mayor will also promote and prioritise more sustainable travel in London including walking, cycling and public transport, as part of his Healthy Streets approach.

The introduction of a new Air Quality Positive standard is also being considered so new building developments contribute to cleaning London’s air by funding the implementation of air quality plans that will help at least 50 schools in some of London’s most polluted areas reduce their pupils’ exposure to poor air. The mayor will also seek powers so London can enforce controls on air pollution from construction machinery, the river and other sources.

Other headline policies from the draft strategy include:

  • Green Spaces: A new £9 million Greener City Fund for London to create and improve green spaces to help make London the world’s first ‘National Park City’
  • Energy: Ambition to make London a zero-carbon city by 2050. London’s first solar action plan which sets out the Mayor’s actions to more than double London’s solar energy generation capacity by 2030.
  • Fuel Poverty: A new fuel poverty action plan. This includes support through £10m energy efficiency delivery programmes,
  • Waste: Setting minimum recycling standards to meet the mayor’s target to recycle 65% of London’s waste by 2030 and help cut food waste by 20% per person by 2025.

Sadiq Khan said: “London is home to outstanding green spaces that I want to protect, invest in and improve as we aim to become the world’s first National Park City. We can also increase the amount of greenery in the city by installing many more green roofs and making our streets greener. From our famous Royal Parks, to our much-loved community gardens and urban nature reserves like Woodberry Wetlands, this ‘green infrastructure’ is a vital asset that improves air quality, boosts quality of life, conserves wildlife and attracts thousands of visitors.”

Commenting on the new strategy, Matthew Farrow, director of the Environmental Industries Commission, said: “We welcome the draft London Environment Plan. It is ambitious and comprehensive and we will be looking at the detail and responding to the proposals. The determination to address the full range of environmental issues (for example non-transport as well as transport emissions on air quality and the green spaces and natural capital agenda) is encouraging as is the ambition to go beyond legal requirements for example on recycling rates and particulate levels.

“There are also some good examples of recognising the complexity and inter-connected nature of environmental challenges - such as the identification of schemes to simplify waste collection routes which also improve air quality. The recognition of the economic contribution of London’s environmental businesses is also welcome.

“The challenge will be implementing such an ambitious agenda when so many environmental powers are split between Whitehall, the mayor and individual boroughs. On emissions from construction site machinery for example, the plan recognises that it’s aim to improve enforcement of relevant regulations is hampered by lack of powers. The intention to use GLA Group internal policies and procurement practices to compensate for this makes sense, but will not be the whole answer.”

Click here to view the draft London Environment Strategy and take part in the consultation.

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