News from Tony Arbour: Mayor ditches promise to plant two million trees by 2020
– Sadiq Khan u-turns on major environmental pledge
The Mayor of London has ditched a key election promise to plant two million trees by 2020.
Sadiq Khan’s new Deputy Mayor for Environment, Shirley Rodrigues, dropped the bombshell during her first meeting with the London Assembly’s Environment Committee this morning.
Responding to a question from London Assembly member Tony Arbour, Ms Rodrigues said the two million target would be dropped and there would instead be an attempt to 'increase tree coverage by five per cent by 2025'.
The Deputy Mayor denied the two million target was one of Sadiq Khan’s manifesto promises, claiming it ‘was not in his printed manifesto’. However, the pledge was published on his campaign website and was widely publicised in the media.
The u-turn saw Sadiq Khan’s tree-planting target chopped by more than three quarters in one morning.
According to a report last year by the London i-Tree Eco Project, the capital currently has an estimated 8,421,000 trees – plummeting the Mayor’s tree-planting target from two million to 420,000, with a five year extension.
Conservative London Assembly member Tony Arbour said:
“This is quite a staggering about turn, even for a Mayor who has already broken at least seven election promises.
“Not only is this a hugely disappointing announcement from an environmental point of view, it will do nothing for the general public’s trust in what the Mayor has to say.
“This morning’s u-turn makes it clear the Mayor is unwilling and unable to tackle what is a serious problem for Londoners and raises questions over what other issues he will attempt to dodge in the coming months and years.
“Sadiq Khan constantly claims he wants to reduce emissions in London but it seems the largest density of hot air was spouting from his mouth during the election campaign.”
Tweet of promise:
I'll plant 2m trees in London in my first term as Mayor - focusing around our schoolshttp://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/sep/24/sadiq-khan-labour-candidate-london-mayor-interview … #COP21