As part of RTCC’s London Week, the leading candidates in the city’s Mayoral election have explained to us how they would cut emissions and make London a greener place to live.
Labour candidate and former Mayor Ken Livingstone will set out his stall tomorrow, with Brian Paddick and Boris Johnson making their case later this week.
First Jenny Jones of the Green Party explains how planet friendly solutions can solve the problems of a major industrialised city.
Tackling environmental problems and ensuring a greener future for London is at the heart of everything we want to do.
Where elected, Green politicians have relentlessly pushed an environmentally focused agenda in their local area in an attempt to tackle the big problems we face.
In London, our assembly members have consistently pressured the Mayor on issues such as air pollution and cycling safety.
We want to see a cleaner, greener, fairer London and we will stop at nothing to achieve it.
For too long the Government and the Mayor Boris Johnson haven’t grasped how serious threats like climate change and air pollution are to London’s future.
Their investments in solutions to the problems have been tiny and too slow. In contrast the Greens would tackle these problems head on.
We will aim to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 90%, reduce our ecological footprint by two thirds and make London a zero waste city by 2030.
We wouldn’t just set ambitious targets however; we would take practical steps towards achieving them.
For example we want to develop major local energy schemes for public sector “anchors” like housing estates, hospitals, prisons and universities, and work with neighbouring businesses to plug into these new energy networks.
We also want to see boroughs collect separated recyclables and food waste on a weekly basis.
We want all new buses to be low emission hybrid, hydrogen or electric models and for the entire fleet to be run on this technology by 2016.
Moreover, we want to ensure the low emission zone is properly enforced and would introduce a new Very Low Emission Zone in central London that excludes all but the cleanest vehicles.
Green spaces and wildlife habitats are often thought of as nice-to-have after thoughts by politicians but are hugely valued by Londoners who crave space to breathe.
They are also a place where we can learn how to protect the environment and adapt to climate change instead of living in a way that destroys the planet.
London is nothing without its open spaces and we want to ensure that all Londoners are within reach of parks, play spaces and animal habitats. We would also work with schools, youth groups and disability organisations to promote access to nature.
We also recognise that there are green solutions to many of the other huge problems that we face.
That is why green ideas are ingrained in our economic, housing and health strategies. We see the creation of a greener London as an ideology, not just a buzzword.
We wouldn’t bet our economic recovery on plans to build environmentally destructive new airports that cater for global businesses. Instead we would invest in local infrastructure and concentrate on developing London’s local industries.
We recognise that housing isn’t affordable if the energy bills top £1000 a year, so we want to ensure all homes have low running costs with high environmental standards.
Furthermore we believe that tackling this city’s scary levels of air pollution would have drastic effects on people’s health.
This next year will see London showcased on an international stage.
We know that City Hall alone cannot solve all of the problems we face but with greens in power, we can make our global city a leading example of environmental self-sufficiency.
VIDEO: Jenny Jones speech at the Green Party Conference