The London Environment Strategy was published on 31 May. Back in Autumn we consulted on the draft of this strategy through four surveys and 16 discussions here on Talk London. Almost 3,000 of you joined in to share your views.
Alongside your feedback, stakeholder organisations and community groups were consulted, and we carried out London-wide opinion research including representative polling.
This feedback has helped shape the final strategy, the first of its kind to bring together approaches to every aspect of London’s environment - from clean air and green space to tackling waste and promoting cleaner energy.
Thanks to all of you who took the time to respond. We’ve summed up some key parts of the strategy, your views and how you made a difference.
One focus of the strategy is on strengthening measures to clean up London’s air. We first asked you about this issue in 2016, which informed the draft strategy. 81% of Talk Londoners in the London Environment Strategy consultation feel that air pollution is a very big problem.
72% of Talk Londoners support the idea of charging owners of high-polluting vehicles. Plans for the Central London Ultra Low Emission Zone are well underway and you’ll have seen that the T-charge was introduced last year. Stay tuned to Transport for London’s website for updates on this being rolled out.
90% of Talk Londoners strongly support upgrading bus and taxi fleets to meet lower emission standards. A Brixton to Streatham route became London’s second Low Emission Bus Zone in December. There will be 12 Low Emission Bus Zones in place by 2020.
Engine idling proved a hot topic in our discussions. The Mayor has added a proposal to work with government, boroughs, bus and coach operators, manufacturers and other organisations to tackle emissions from unnecessary engine idling throughout London. There will be a focus on parked buses, coaches and taxis, as well as problem areas e.g. around schools, transport interchanges and major tourist attractions.
It is anticipated, that with additional and targetted measures in the strategy, the whole of London will be compliant with the EU's legal limit for NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) limits by 2025. The Mayor is requesting more powers from government, to achieve the legal limit sooner and to adopt the tighter WHO (World Health Organisation) recommendations for particulate matter (PM 2.5).
Protecting, improving and adding to our green spaces is another key focus. In our discussions, the majority of you supported plans to make London a National Park City, with more than half of the city green by 2050. There will be a National Park City week from 21-29 July, with a range of activities across the capital including guided walks, talks, community clean-ups and improving spaces for wildlife.
Since the launch of the strategy consultation, the Mayor has established his £12 million Greener City Fund to improve and create new green spaces. So far, this has funded nine major projects to increase greening of the built environment, 54 community green space projects and 27 community tree planting projects. The Mayor has also funded six large-scale projects to enhance parks and green spaces with improvements such as a new swimming lake and new walking and cycling 'greenways'. If you’d like to get directly involved, community groups can apply for Community Tree Planting Grants until 18 June.
The strategy also covers tackling waste. Most of you strongly agreed with plans to reduce single-use plastic bottles in London, with 80% of you feeling that businesses should do more to help this. In March, the Mayor launched a pilot of the Refill London scheme in five areas of London. It encourages businesses, shops and cafes to offer people free tap water refills. He has also committed to delivering up to 20 new water fountains across the city this year, so that reusable bottles can be refilled, in busy locations including Carnaby Street and Liverpool Street Station.
In our discussions, many of you mentioned the differences in waste collection across London boroughs. The Mayor wants to see 'harmonised' waste and recycling collection, where everyone can recycle the same materials no matter where they live in London.
You also wanted better food waste collection. The strategy now contains a tougher target; to cut our food waste by 50% per person by 2030.
Since the strategy consultation, the Mayor has launched a £34 million Energy for Londoners programme, which aims to make sure London’s homes and workplaces are heated efficiently and affordably, and to supply the capital with more local, clean energy. 69% of you strongly supported the setup of a new, not-for-profit energy company for London to offer fairer tariffs to Londoners. The Mayor is developing an energy supply company for London. Suppliers have been invited to work innovatively with the Mayor to deliver fairer prices, supporting fuel poor homes and offering a green tariff. Responding to consultation feedback, the Mayor is continuing to keep under review the option to move to to a fully licensed supply company in the future.
To provide more clean energy for Londoners, the Mayor would like to increase London’s current solar capacity by 20 times: by having 1GW of solar installed in the capital by 2030 and 2GW by 2050. We saw that you, Talk London members, are more likely than Londoners in general (69% of Talk London respondents as opposed to 48% of Londoners in our wider polling) to take actions at home to reduce your own energy consumption - such as programming your heating so that it only comes on when needed.
Thanks again for joining in and sharing your views!