Assembly says no to fracking

05 November 2014

A motion agreed today[1] concludes that the Mayor needs to do much more to tackle London’s environmental challenges, including:

Improve air quality for Londoners

Expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)

Increase London’s decentralised energy capacity and tackle carbon reduction

Murad Qureshi AM, who proposed the motion, said: “When the history books are written Boris Johnson’s failure to meet the major environmental challenges facing London will rank as one of his greatest shortcomings. “When the Mayor came to office his rhetoric and hyperbole were unparalleled. I’m going to “make London the greenest city in the world” he said. Six years and lot of broken promises later, we have illegal air pollution levels which prematurely kill thousands of Londoners, a cold homes crisis as people are told to put on extra layers to beat the rise in fuel costs and a serious threat that the lights might go out if London can’t generate more of its own energy. London is and should always be a no-fracking zone. “Londoners will never forgive the Mayor if he doesn’t put right this mess before leaving them for the bright lights of Westminster.” Stephen Knight AM, who proposed an accepted amendment of the motion, said: “There is a chasm between the initial plans for the Ultra Low Emission Zone and what is now being put forward by the Mayor. "Only last year the Mayor's 2020 Vision stated that his plan for an Ultra Low Emission Zone would restrict central London only to those vehicles which have zero or near-zero tailpipe emissions." "Sadly the Mayor has dropped this commitment and seems content to allow highly polluting vehicles to enter central London for many years to come.” The full text of the motion is: “This Assembly denounces the Mayor for his abject failure to tackle the biggest environmental challenges facing London. On every single issue from air pollution to carbon reduction and decentralised energy, the Assembly is appalled by the toxic environmental legacy the Mayor will leave Londoners. Before he was elected the Mayor vowed to “take action to make London the greenest city in the world”. Six years later, London is set to face fines for illegal levels of air pollution whilst the evidence grows of how toxic pollutants are damaging young Londoners’ health. Despite this, the Mayor rejected calls to use his 2014-15 budget to retrofit London’s bus fleet with the latest emission reducing technology, which could significantly improve air quality in the capital. This Assembly is further disappointed by the Mayor’s current proposals for an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which have gone back on his earlier commitment to restrict central London “only to those vehicles which have zero or near-zero tailpipe emissions. [2] The Mayor’s initial ULEZ proposals should form only the first stage of a programme to eventually be expanded beyond the initial Congestion Zone boundary, and outline a specific target date for a total ban on polluting vehicles entering central London. Meanwhile, in energy security the Mayor is ‘missing his targets’ to build up London’s decentralised energy capacity, a vital measure to ensure future security of supply. [3] On tackling carbon reduction the Mayor received only 4/10 on progress to date following the Environment Committee’s latest audit. [4] The Mayor’s attacks on renewables and support for fracking are symbolic of his regressive approach to London’s environmental challenges. Given this, the London Assembly does not support any fracking activities within the boundaries of Greater London. This Assembly calls on the Mayor to use his remaining time in office to re-focus his efforts and ensure the GLA’s Environment Team have the resources necessary to make London a more sustainable city.” Notes to editors:

The motion was agreed by 15 votes for to 8 against at a meeting of the full Assembly today. Watch the webcast here; https://www.london.gov.uk/webcasts/39073/asx.

Mayor of London, 2020 Vision

As stated at the Environment Committee by an officer in March.

See the Committee’s Carbon Report Card, July 2014

Murad Qureshi AM who proposed the motion is available for interviews. Please see contact details below.

As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For more details, please contact Lisa Lam in the Assembly Media Office on 020 7983 4067. For out-of-hours media enquiries please call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the Assembly duty press officer. Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit, Greater London Authority, on 020 7983 4100.