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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Mayors Sadiq Khan and Andy Street call for policy and powers to tackle environmental emergencies

Writing for an IPPR and WWF collection the cross-party mayors are amongst leading figures calling for action on the climate and nature crises

The Government must take action, and empower regions to do the same, in order to tackle the environmental crises head on. The authors argue that doing so is not just right environmentally but will also improve people’s lives and allow businesses to take advantage of the new opportunities of the green economy.

Labour Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and Conservative Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street have both written for the need for greater resources and powers, as part of what some have called a ‘green new deal’ to address climate change and restore nature.

IPPR and WWF say that this exemplifies the growing political and public consensus on the need for rapid large-scale action to build a green economy that delivers good jobs in every sector from fishing, farming to manufacturing and construction and improves the quality of life for people and communities in all parts of the UK.  

In his essay Mayor Sadiq Khan sets out his plan for creating a green new deal for London. He argues that the government should hand power and resources to the capital, so the city can lead from the front. He calls for devolved powers to improve the standards of more than 3 million existing homes in London, over half of which were built before the Second World War.

Similarly, Mayor Andy Street makes the case for a policy package and increased government funding for devolved authorities. He calls for government funding to help build the first state-of the-art Gigafactory in the UK to build the batteries necessary to transition the region’s successful automotive industry to build electric cars.

Leading economists also contributed to the collection and support this call for early and significant action to reorient the economy. Marianna Mazzucato’s says the climate crisis has the potential to be both a carrot and a stick to create a much-needed new direction for the global economy. And Dimitri Zenghelis highlights the importance of credible policy in keeping cost low and giving investors confidence to “kickstart the green innovation machine”.

The collection, which seeks to ensure discussion about a ‘green new deal’ is not limited to the left of politics, focuses on the need to put people at the heart of nature restoration and the net zero transition. It includes a diverse range of perspectives, from the TUC, NFU, to the finance sector, who all agree that fairly managing the impacts of policy on people and sectors and ensuring they secure the benefits of investment are crucial to a successful green transition for the UK.

Writing for the publication, Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said:

“We can ramp up what we’re doing in the capital through the creation of a ‘Green New Deal’ for London. This must not be a gimmick, or a bit of spin on existing activity.

“It should be a call to arms for everyone to play their part, set demanding targets for reducing carbon emissions and include clear policies that would lead to a cleaner, greener city.

“If we get this right in London then we can export our solutions and technology all over the world, creating even more green jobs, both here and abroad.”

Writing for the publication, Andy Street, Mayor of West Midlands Combined Authority, said:

““The need to tackle the climate change emergency could be the perfect catalyst for the next stage of devolution.

“There are two important aspects to the government’s role in making such a deal happen: leadership and trust. Firstly, ministers need to take ownership of the climate change issue, as had begun to happen under Theresa May, and set out ambitious and creative plans for how the country is going to become carbon-neutral.

“Then they need to trust the UK regions to deliver change. The evidence that this will work is there, and there could be no greater sign of trust than a significant devolved funding package.”

Luke Murphy, Head of the IPPR Environmental Justice Commission, said:

“Politicians from all parties now agree that the time for talking is over, we need to see a decade of action from government at all levels to address the climate emergency and restore nature.

“Crucially, people must be at the heart of the transition to a low carbon economy, ensuring that the costs, benefits and opportunities are fairly shared by all.”

Angela Francis, Chief Advisor, Economics and Economic Development at WWF, said:

“Shifting to a green economy is a huge opportunity to invest in the future of our economy, better jobs and quality of life for people right across the country. 

But change is difficult and we need to ensure the people and sectors most affected see the benefits of clean air, better public transport, warmer and more affordable homes in their day to day lives as well as receive the support they need to ensure their job or business is fit for a greener future”



Robin Harvey, Digital and Media Officer, [email protected]

David Wastell, Head of News and Comms, [email protected] 


  1. The IPPR and WWF Essay Collection Putting People at the Heart of the Green Transition, co-edited by Luke Murphy and Angela Francis is available for download at:
  2. The IPPR Commission on Environmental Justice is co-chaired by Ed Miliband MP, Caroline Lucas MP and Laura Sandys. Find out more:
  3. The collection includes essays from a wide range of authors. Writing on the vision is Ed Miliband, Caroline Lucas and Laura Sandys, Charlotte Hartley, Baroness Brown, on investing in economic prosperity is Marianna Mazzucato, Dimitri Zenghelis, Ann Pettifor, Steve Waygood, Jon Williams, on improving well-being and quality of life is Colin Hines, Farhana Yamin, Tony Juniper, on building the business of the future is  Beth Farhat and Paul Nowak, Richard Unsworth, Minette Batters and on empowering places is Sophie Howe, Sadiq Khan, Andy Street, Sophie Sleaman and Aaron Smith.
  4. IPPR is the UK’s pre-eminent progressive think tank. With more than 40 staff in offices in London, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh, IPPR is Britain’s only national think tank with a truly national presence.