London mayor Sadiq Khan has unveiled the details of his new draft environment strategy, which aims to make the capital a zero-carbon city by 2050.
The plan includes a raft of measures such as a £9m Greener City Fund to create and improve green spaces.
Under the proposals, local groups can apply for the first £1m of grants to plant neighbourhood trees and maintain green community areas.
The draft document also includes a commitment by the mayor to use planning regulations to protect the green belt and incorporate more green roofs, rain gardens and wildlife habitats into new developments.
There are also plans to introduce an ultra-low emission zone in 2019 and cleaning up London’s bus fleet.
The strategy commits to more than double London’s solar energy generation capacity by 2030. Among the measures being proposed are a new community energy grant scheme and a ‘reverse’ solar auction to help cut costs for Londoners who want to install solar panels on their homes.
A new fuel poverty action plan is proposed to help Londoners struggling to heat and power their homes affordably.
This includes support through £10m energy efficiency delivery programmes, targeting the worst performing homes, as well as benefits uptake campaigns, referral services and programmes that provide direct advice and support to the fuel poor, and providing support to improve enforcement action against landlords who do not meet legal requirements.
It also includes proposals to set 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.
‘I’ve set out my plans to improve London’s environment by fighting pollution, tackling waste and promoting cleaner energy so we can make London a healthier city that adapts to the impacts of climate change,’ said the London mayor.
‘I want to hear your views and ideas about how we can make London the greenest city in the world.’
Strategy shows ‘real leadership’
The chair of London Councils’ transport and environment committee, Julian Bell, welcomed the strategy’s ambition for the capital to become a zero carbon city by 2050.
‘I am particularly pleased with the strategy’s approach to improving London’s green infrastructure,’ said Mr Bell.
‘A greener London will not only be more pleasant to live in but will address the huge air quality problem London faces, support healthier lifestyles and help the city adapt to climate change.’
And the head of policy and external affairs at the Renewable Energy Association, James Court, said the draft strategy showed real leadership.
‘Issues such as zero waste to landfill, extending district heating networks and modern planning conditions for zero carbon homes are all excellent priorities and are areas where the UK’s growing green industry can assist,’ said Mr Court.
‘We see decentralised energy generation as a means to address a range of the issues identified in this strategy, reaching from producing green gas from unavoidable food waste to solar and storage systems reducing bills for offices.
‘On transport, the ambition to expand the charge-point roll out is an essential requirement of the transition to electric vehicles, so we urge the mayor to go a step further by ensuring all new homes and buildings are EV-ready.’
The UK-Green Building Council’s campaign and policy director, John Alker, said: ‘This draft plan outlines a number of important and ambitious policies, including proposals for all new buildings to be zero carbon from 2019, and for new large-scale schemes to be air quality positive.
‘The draft also proposes a new “urban greening factor” for new developments.
‘These aspirations highlight the growing trend: it is our cities that are leading the way in the absence of policy ambition and clarity from central government,’ added Mr Alker.
The draft environment strategy is out to consultation until 17 November.
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