Sadiq Khan calls for more powers to make London world’s greenest city

The mayor of London has set out his stall to make the capital zero-carbon by 2050 but has called on the government to provide more powers and resources to attain bold ambitions.

Sadiq Khan has pledged to "protect, improve and add to our outstanding green spaces" in his final Environment Strategy, which was presented to the London Assembly ahead of its final publication in the coming weeks.

The strategy, first released for consultation last summer, strives for London to become a “zero carbon” city by mid-century, boasting cleaner air and more green space. The final strategy has been published after responses from almost 3,000 Londoners and 370 stakeholders.

It sets out bold targets of reducing CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020, increasing London’s current solar PV capacity by 20 times by 2050, and introducing zero-emissions zones in some town centres by 2020. 

Commenting on the Environmental Strategy, Khan said: “I’m delighted that so many Londoners have got involved and given their feedback on the future of London’s environment. In order to protect it for future generations, we must take tough action now - we have already done some fantastic work, but there is lots more to do, and we need all Londoners, and the Government, to play their part.”

Efforts like ensuring energy efficient buildings, cleaner transport modes and increasing recycling are all central to making the city a greener, cleaner and healthier place. The mayor has also targeted making the capital a National Park City by summer 2019 and at least 50% green by 2050. 

There is renewed calls to government to support the mayor's environmental leadership, ensuring London can access clean air funding, increasing its investment in clean energy and energy efficiency measures and funding London boroughs to install much needed recycling infrastructure. The report also calls for powers to limit non-transport emissions to be devolved to Khan.

Executive director of C40 Cities, Mark Watts, said: "Tackling climate change and unleashing the economic, social and health potential of a low carbon future requires radical and urgent action. The London Environment Strategy is setting the standard for just how bold mayors can be in delivering the transformational climate action that humanity needs. I congratulate mayor Khan and the team in London for being amongst the first cities globally to publish a plan set to deliver the highest ambition of the Paris Agreement. London is providing inspiration to cities around the world."

Some of the components within the strategy:

  • Carbon budgets aiming to reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted in London for the next 15 years. The first aims for a 40 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions from 1990 levels in 2018-2022
  • Ambition to increase London’s current solar capacity by 20 times, by having 1GW of solar installed in the capital by 2030 and 2GW by 2050
  • Working with the National Park City Foundation and other partners, Sadiq aims for London to be declared a National Park City in summer 2019
  • A tougher target to cut London’s food waste by 50 per cent per person by 2030
  • A new definition of green infrastructure to ensure rivers and wetlands are recognised as critical components of the green infrastructure network
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