Zero carbon target for London (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
January 17, 2019
Question By: 
Leonie Cooper
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Thank you very much, Chairman.  Mr Mayor, I just wanted to come back to the motion that we passed only at the end of December [2018] on declaring a climate emergency and to thank you for taking that forward so quickly and making that declaration.  I am still very concerned - and I gather that you are as well from your reply to Assembly Member Russell - that the Government is not taking this seriously enough in terms of a 2050 target, let alone bringing forward the action that is needed.  The Committee on Climate Change has also been making its view of the Government’s laxness in this area very apparent.

 

Would you agree with me that it is absolutely essential that we stick by what you have been saying around not having fracking in London, that we should try to make sure that the Government sees the foolishness of this across the rest of the country, that instead of messing around with feed-in tariffs it should be establishing a firm system to encourage Londoners and other people around the rest of the country to continue to install solar - we have our own Solar Action Plan - and that we need to be pushing ahead with what we are doing to set up Energy for Londoners, which I know is coming soon and hopefully coming this year [2019]?  Can you confirm that that is the case?  This is really urgent and we are doing what we can and hopefully your team is pushing the Government as far as possible on this matter as well.

 

Answer

Zero carbon target for London (Supplementary) [1]

Zero carbon target for London (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Can I, Chairman, thank the Assembly Member for her question and the way she put it?  I am as ambitious as the next person, but it is really important that our plans are ambitious, realistic and achievable.  I could very easily publish a document that gets us there by 2030, but it is not realistic and it is not achievable, and probably very few of us will be around in 2030 to be proven to have broken the promise.

 

What is really important is that we do what we can, but there is a danger of us going backwards.  Put aside the fact that we are not going as fast as we need to be.  I am as frustrated as you are and as others are in relation to the lack of assistance given to us by central Government.  You are right that as a consequence of some of its policies we are in danger of going backwards rather than accelerating progress to achieve some of the goals we have to achieve.

 

In addition to being a world leader, as has been recognised when you look at the C40, if you compare us to the other world leaders - Paris, Barcelona, New York - we can be really proud of where we are.  I also look at what other cities across the country are doing.  I am examining what Manchester and Bristol have said recently.  If it is the case - it has not so far been the case - that their plans are more ambitious, achievable and realistic than ours, I will pinch their ideas.  Why would I not?  At the moment, though, their top-level target detail is not as much as our detail and our plans are very good and very robust.

 

In relation to some of the things that we have already announced we are going to do, I am keen to make sure we do those and I am keen to continue to make sure we work with civic society.  One of the great things that you have been doing is working with civic society.  Let me be quite frank.  If the wrong person wins the mayoral election in May 2020, we will go backwards rather than pushing me to go forwards.  That is why it is really important that we carry on working with civic society and with Londoners to put pressure not just on me as the Mayor but on the Government to do much more.

 

Leonie Cooper AM:  Mr Mayor, you mentioned us being at the forefront and being really ambitious.  I just wanted to mention the Government’s newly launched Clean Air Strategy.  Along with its failure to give us access to the Clean Air Fund, would you agree with me that its Clean Air Strategy does not show the ambition that we need and is not really stepping up to the level that we in London are stepping up to?

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I just do not accept that [Rt Hon.] Michael Gove [MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] has seen it.  Michael Gove has been so distracted by all the Brexit stuff and supporting his leader that he has not been focused on his daytime job.  There is no explanation for the talk he talks and the walk that is walked in this Strategy.  This Strategy is a long way away from what has been said in the past.

 

However, I am confident that once he gives his attention to the Strategy it will be improved.  The officials at City Hall are talking to the officials at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) because this Strategy does not give us the powers or resources we need to take the steps that the Secretary of State accepts need to be taken.  I genuinely think that once he focuses on this it will be improved.  We will work with Defra to make sure they improve it.

 

Leonie Cooper AM:  Let us hope he does.  Thank you.

 

Tony Arbour AM (Chairman):  Thank you for that, Mr Mayor.  Thank you for your attendance, Mr Mayor, and thank you for your answers.  This part of the meeting is now over.