Lammy and Khan commit to divestment if elected as London mayor

Boris Johnson has come under increased pressure to move the capital's finances out of fossil fuels, as Labour party's Sadiq Khan and David Lammy both committed to do so if they are elected as London mayor next May.

“We’ve got hundreds of millions of pounds invested in all sorts of things. I’m going to lead by example and say we’re not going to invest anymore in fossil fuels,” Khan said in an interview with Guardian columnist Owen Jones on Monday.

David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, tweeted on Wednesday: “If Boris was serious about tackling pollution he’d stop investing in fossil fuels. That’s what I’ll do as Mayor.”

London mayor Boris Johnson has dismissed calls to divest City Hall’s £4.8bn pension fund from oil, coal and gas companies, despite the assembly voting in favour. He called divestment “a sudden cliff edge” arguing that the UK needs to push ahead with fracking.

With Lammy and Khan hoping to be Labour’s choice of candidate, the two are vying for election on a green ticket. Both MPs have criticised London’s high levels of air pollution and pledged to increase investment in cycling.

Both have committed to restricting heavily polluting heavy goods vehicles from central London and investing in energy efficient homes. Tooting MP Khan has committed to creating segregated cycle lanes, while Lammy has said he will expand electric car hire and create an energy co-operative for the capital.

Khan has also pledged to pedestrianise Oxford Street and to campaign against a third runway at Heathrow, citing recent research that revealed that 9,500 Londoners die as a result of air pollution every year. He has said he supports a second runway at Gatwick instead.

“You can’t have a new runway at Heathrow when you want to improve air quality … There are children whose lungs are underdeveloped in certain parts of London because of air quality … it’s a killer, it makes people unwell and it’s illegal,” he told the Guardian.

In April, the supreme court ordered the government to draw up plans to tackle the UK’s high levels of air pollution, which have been in breach of EU limits for years. Lammy has pledged to bring London’s air pollution in line with EU standards by 2025.

The fast-growing global fossil fuel divestment campaign launched by and backed by the Guardian, has so far persuaded more than 220 institutions to divest, including faith organisations, pension funds, philanthropic foundations and local authorities.

Emma Howard

This article first appeared on the Guardian website

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