The Summer Budget and the Environment
This Assembly calls on the Mayor to seek an urgent meeting with Government Ministers to discuss ways of mitigating the worst effects of the Government’s summer budget and to lobby for stronger national policies that will facilitate a cleaner, greener London. Looking ahead to the Paris Conference in a few months’ time, this Assembly believes the budget was a historic missed opportunity to set out an agenda for a change and show real leadership amongst the world’s leading economies.
It is increasingly cities around the world that are leading the charge against the biggest environmental challenges of our age. However, London, like other global cities, can only act in the parameters of the policies set down by national governments. This budget is the latest in a long list of retrograde steps since reports appeared in the press of the Prime Minister calling for an end to “all this green crap”.
The decision to abandon the commitment to zero carbon homes, which was due to come in next year, will severely limit the ability of the Mayor to meet his carbon reduction targets and deliver sustainable homes in the capital. London already has an uphill battle in making its existing housing stock energy efficient, following this announcement it is likely that many new homes being built today will require retro-fits in the near future.
This Assembly also notes with concern the changes to Vehicle Excise Duty, which will dis-incentivise consumers buying low emission vehicles. These changes will create policy uncertainty at the very time when London needs to up its game in tackling poor air quality. Given that it is low emission vehicles that is driving growth in the UK new car market, this policy change will damage business and consumer confidence.
The attacks on renewables outlined in the Budget, such as the changes to the Climate Change Levy, will result in renewable electricity effectively paying a carbon tax, a measure described as “totally bizarre” by Friends of the Earth. It is deeply disappointing that London’s domestic solar power generating capacity is the lowest of any region in the country and these changes will do sustained damage to industry confidence.