Barker, the Conservative MP for Bexhill and Battle, is being tasked with helping to accelerate the growth of low-carbon industries across the capital and tackling the environmental challenges posed by a rapidly-increasing population.

The London Sustainable Development Commission, which was established in 2002 to advise the Mayor on key sustainability issues, has also appointed a new deputy chairman in the form of Paul Turner – the Sustainable Business Director for Lloyds Banking Group.

Centre for excellence

Johnson said: “Greg’s experience in Government at the forefront of the UK’s response to climate change, coupled with Paul Turner’s extensive background in business, means they are the ideal candidates for these very important jobs.

“They have the opportunity to play key roles in meeting the challenge of our rapidly growing population and helping our green businesses to thrive.”

The overall aim of the Commission is to help London earn an international reputation as a ‘centre for excellence’ in the use and development of clean technologies.

Before stepping down from Government in July, Barker hit back at claims that the coalition Government has failed to deliver on its promise to be ‘the greenest ever’, insisting that David Cameron’s administration is actually ‘delivering like no other’ on climate change. In September, Cameron appointed Barker as his climate change envoy, just days ahead of the major Climate Summit in New York.

In his new post, Barker will face the challenging backdrop of a London population that is set to increase by 37% to more than 11 million people by 2050. 

Clear brief

Speaking of this new appointment, Barker said: “The Commission has a vital role to play in securing London’s sustainable economic future. Under my leadership we will be working hard to advise on putting plans and policies in place to unlock the jobs and investment potential in our green economy, embed sustainability in the Mayor’s long term economic plan and ensure London is at the cutting edge for global green innovation.”

Deputy chairman Turner added: “With such a clear brief from the Mayor, we aim to implement sustainable business solutions to improve the quality of life for people right across the capital. A sustainable green business sector is no longer a luxury, it is absolutely vital to secure the long term success of our great capital city.”

The announcement comes towards the end of the year that saw London criticised for high levels of traffic pollution, with harmful nitrogen dioxide levels expected to significantly exceeded EU limits until 2030. A ‘report card’ issued by the London Assembly Environment Committee awarded Johnson a 4/10 on his progress to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency across the capital.

Luke Nicholls

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