Brian Paddick on greening London
The Lib Dem candidate for London Mayor shares his environmental vision with edie.Cutting greenhouse emissions is the responsibility of political leaders at every level of government. I will make major efforts to cut car use through keeping the existing Congestion Zone (minus the Western Extension) but adding a new Greater London Congestion Charge.
This will be aimed at deterring long distance commuters by charging non-London registered vehicles £10 a day to enter the city, but will include measures to protect shopping centres and businesses on the city's periphery.
This will be coupled with ambitious plans to expand our public transport network and increase its capacity.
During my first term I will begin a vast expansion in trams. Traditional 'heavy' trams and new Ultra Light Rail will connect Deptford, Stratford, Camden and Brixton with the city centre, whilst plans will be drawn up to replace the remaining eight bendy bus routes with new ULR lines.
Both ULR and the traditional trams have the advantage of reduced rolling resistance of wheels on tracks and of being popular with the travelling public.
The new system, however, will be both more energy efficient because of its light weight and will produce less emissions because it will initially run on Liquid Petroleum Gas, before being converted to bio-diesel once certain technological issues are resolved.
Cleaner fuels will also be explored for London's iconic Black Cabs with funding provided for trials of hybrid engines, and on London Underground with a commitment that all its power will be derived from renewable sources.
At the same time, support for non-polluting modes of transport like cycling shall increase.
I will be working in conjunction with local authorities to raise awareness of this greener travel alternative in schools and businesses, as is being trialled in Sutton with the Smarter Travel Sutton experiment, and to make cycling safer with 20mph speed limits and more cycle lanes. I shall also introduce a cycle hire scheme similar to Paris' Velib.
Household energy use, which makes up approximately 38% of overall energy use, will be targeted. £3.5 million will be spent on giving free insulation to the tenants of 10,000 Registered Social Landlords in the poorest areas of London.
Regulations will ensure that major new building developments will be self-sustaining in energy, waste, and water consumption.
For London as a whole, recycling bins will be installed in all housing estates and at all major transport interchanges plus there will be a large-scale increase in communal composting bins.
I will begin the long process of re-establishing truly local communities with the goal of everyone working, shopping, and enjoying leisure time closer to where they live.
The independent traders that make up most of our local high streets will be supported by the abolition of Ken Livingstone's 'Low Emissions Zone', which his own transport advisors admit will only improve air quality by 0.3% and yet imposes enormous charges on deliveries which these small businesses can ill-afford.
Finally, I will seize the initiative and invest money in the technologies that we will need to help us combat global warming.
A Green Eco Centre will host university research teams and will be a point of information for councils and citizens on how to make their lives more sustainable.
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