Greening London

MQT on 2016-03-16
Session date: 
March 16, 2016
Question By: 
James Cleverly
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


How have your many programmes to improve parks, trees and other green spaces helped to improve London's environment, and how important is it that these should continue in the future?


Answer for Greening London

Answer for Greening London

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Thank you, James.  This was one of the projects that really captured people’s imaginations when we got going.  I remember the Pocket Parks and Help a London Park, the ‘support your local park’ campaign that we did.  Isabel Dedring [Deputy Mayor for Transport] had the bit between her teeth on that one.  We spent a lot of money on upgrading parks and that programme continues.  We are still planting thousands of trees.  Rosie Boycott [Chair, London Food Board] has done an amazing job with all of the growing spaces around the city.  People really enjoy it and can feel the difference.


James Cleverly AM MP:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.  Have you had conversations, either formally or informally, with any mayoral candidates about future plans for greening the city of London?


Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I am aware that Zac Goldsmith - who has campaigned on this issue and is the only candidate for the mayoralty with a considerable environmental record, a green campaigner and massively popular in his own constituency for what he has achieved - has some fascinating proposals for zero-carbon fleets of vehicles and for improving air quality yet further in the way that Murad [Murad Qureshi AM] and others would like to see.  I hope that people will be made aware of them in the course of the next few weeks. 


James Cleverly AM MP:  Thank you.  Would you encourage any future Mayor of London to maintain the programme of greening and beautifying our city through open spaces, through trees, parks and so on that you have --


Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I certainly would.  By the way, they have also helped to build volunteering.  London was voted this year the European Capital of Volunteering - one of the accolades from Europe that I am very happy to accept - and that is because we have loads of people of all ages out planting trees and doing all kinds of things to make the city more beautiful. 


James Cleverly AM MP:  A personal question to finish, if I may.  Which would you personally take more notice of, the promises made by candidates during an election campaign or their track records?  For example, would you be more swayed by Zac Goldsmith’s longstanding commitment to ecology and his editorship of  The Ecologist magazine or would you be more swayed by Sadiq Khan, who when he was a Minister made regular attempts to reduce the Green Belt, as he did as Communities Minister in 2009, to make building on them ‑‑


Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  You are joking.  Are you saying that he is saying one thing now and that he did another when he was in office?


James Cleverly AM MP:  My understanding is that when he was Communities Minister in 2009 he repeatedly drew up plans to reduce the Green Belt boundary so that development could take place on the Green Belt.  These proposals were stopped only when the Coalition Government came in in 2010.


Again, I pose the question: which would you be more swayed by, what he says now or what he did when he was in office?


Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  It is chilling that there could be a candidate for the mayoralty of London who has a poor record of protecting the Green Belt.  It would be very destructive for the amenity of London and for the long‑term economic success of the city.


James Cleverly AM MP:  Thank you.