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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Next mayor should make London the greenest capital in the world - IPPR

A new report calls for London to become a National Park City and the creation of a London energy company to cut household bills and emissions.

London faces huge environmental challenges and tackling them should be one of the next Mayor’s top priorities, according to a new report by think tank IPPR – called ‘London: Global Green City’.

Around 10% of households in London are classified as fuel poor and London has some of the most energy inefficient housing in Europe. More than 215 hectares of green space was lost in London between 2009 and 2012, equivalent to Hyde Park and Battersea Park combined, and nearly 2 million Londoners live more than 1 kilometre from a green space. Air pollution in the capital is estimated to have shortened lives by 140,000 years in 2010, or the equivalent of more than 9,400 deaths.

The report looks at how the next mayor can integrate the environment into all policy areas to make London a ‘global green city’, and recommends:

• Creating a new energy company – Energy for London – to reduce household fuel bills, tackle fuel poverty and cut emissions by boosting solar and other renewable energy and energy efficiency.
• Designating the capital as a ‘National Park City’ to promote the protection and enhancement of nature and green space.
• Creating a ‘Clean Air Zone’ by merging the current congestion charging and ultra-low emissions zones, ensuring the bus fleet meets air pollution standards by 2019 and expanding the electric vehicle charging network.

A new energy company for London: Establishing a new municipal company to supply electricity and gas could reduce household bills, tackle fuel poverty and increase investment in solar and renewable energy. It could also support community energy enterprises, help businesses and households become more energy efficient and help London meet its climate change commitments by becoming a zero carbon city by 2050.

London as a National Park City: Making London a National Park City would provide the overall framework to increase biodiversity and boost green space. The report recommends the new Mayor appoints a Green Infrastructure Commissioner to ensure the priority of green space in planning and housing plans.

Air pollution: The report notes that London’s air pollution impacts disproportionally on lower income groups and children. Nearly 25% of school children are exposed to levels of air pollution that break EU and World Health Organisation legal and health limits. The problem is likely to get worse because, by 2030, London’s traffic is estimated to increase by 43% on 2013 levels. Tackling air pollution needs to be one of the Mayor’s top priorities.

Laurie Laybourn-Langton, an IPPR research fellow, said:

“London needs to think of itself as a global green city, a place where all Londoners can enjoy green space with all the health and wellbeing benefits that flow from this. Our vision of the capital is one with a worldwide reputation as a city where the environment enhances quality of life for all.

“Our report provides a comprehensive programme to ensure the environment is integrated into all policy areas. This includes a call for the next Mayor of London to establish a new London energy company, as a way of cutting fuel bills and carbon emissions, and for the capital to be designated a national park city, as part of a raft of policies to protect and enhance London’s natural environment. The green agenda is not an add-on: it should be one of the Mayor’s top priorities.”

Contact:

Tim Finch, t.finch@ippr.org, 07595 920 899
Sofie Jenkinson, s.jenkinson@ippr.org, 07981 023 031
Lester Holloway, l.holloway@ippr.org, 07585 772 633

Notes to Editors:

The report ‘London: Global Green City’ will be available on IPPR’s website from 00:01 on Wednesday 6th April, on: http://www.ippr.org/publications/london-global-green-city

The report is supported by the Berkeley Group.

Event launch: The report will be formally launched on a clipper boat trip along the Thames, on Wednesday 6th April, departing Westminster Pier at 09:30 to Royal Arsenal. Event concluded by 11.30. Good audio and visual opportunities for broadcast. For information: http://www.ippr.org/events/london-global-green-city-a-plan-for-the-new-mayor

In November, IPPR published a briefing called ‘Zero Carbon London: A Plan For The Next Mayoral Term, which is available here: http://www.ippr.org/files/publications/pdf/zero-carbon-london_Nov2015.pdf?noredirect=1 Our new report builds on this work.