Greater London Authority makes 100 environmental recommendations

The Greater London Authority’s (GLA) Environment Commission has released its first action programme for the next four years, focusing on sustainable development and improving the health of Londoners.

Darren Johnson, Chair of the GLA’s Environment Commission and a Green Party member, has made 100 recommendations to develop the five environmental strategies of Mayor Ken Livingstone’s manifesto: waste, air quality, noise, energy and biodiversity.

On waste, Johnson called for ambitious targets of at least 50% for office paper recycling as well as the setting of targets to compost London’s organic waste and return it to soil. There should also be a strategic network of aggregate recycling schemes and a tonnage-based waste disposal levy system, rather than the current Council Tax-based levy, as well as investigation into the health impacts of incineration, the report says.

On transport and air quality, new building developments must encourage the viability of shops, public services, recreation and other facilities within walking distance of homes or a short journey by cycle or bus to contribute to reducing car journeys with bicycle hire facilities available at main stations, the Committee says. Additionally, it recommends that the Mayor should apply congestion charges, investigate the benefits of implementing a Low Emission Zone as part of his Transport and Air Quality strategies and urgently develop a programme facilitating cycle routes and encouraging car-pool (or taxi-share) schemes, and should create an annual award for local community sustainability initiatives, the Green Neighbourhood Award.

“This report makes radical recommendations to improve the environment in the capital,” Johnson said. “I want to see London making a contribution to reducing greenhouse gases that cause climate change; and, as a first step, to initiate a study on the impact it will make on London. Because of fears about the effects of climate change we also advocate areas most at risk from flooding should be protected from inappropriate new building. We want to look at the construction of new buildings in the capital and promote zero energy developments, buildings that operate with maximum energy efficiency and do not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.”

In the same week, Livingstone drew up the first Air Quality Strategy for London (see story in same section).

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