Livingstone leads on lowering London’s emissions levels

A coalition of political and business leaders has joined forces to lower London's greenhouse gas output with the formal launch of the London Climate Change Agency.

The establishment of the Climate Change Agency was a manifesto commitment for the London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, and was the brainchild of deputy mayor, Nicky Gavron (see related story).

It will work as a municipal company, in partnership with the private sector, focused on designing, financing, building and operating low and zero-carbon capacity. This will be a combination of combined cooling, heat and power, energy efficiency, renewables and other innovative technology in new developments and retrofit projects.

The Agency will receive substantial support from the London Development Agency – the Mayor’s business arm – and top UK and global companies. It should be a key force in reducing emissions and help meet the Mayor’s Energy Strategy target of a 20% reduction in CO2 equivalent by 2010.

“Climate change has become a problem the world cannot ignore. Large, major energy consuming cities like London have both a responsibility to reduce their carbon emissions, and, by virtue of a high density of population, the greatest opportunity to take advantage of new energy systems and renewable energy,” Mr Livingstone said.

“Today’s announcement shows that in London we will provide the strong political leadership to make this happen, as we led the world in tackling traffic congestion. The sponsorship of some of Britain’s biggest firms demonstrates that the private sector is also ready to take up this challenge.”

The Agency will be run by Allan Jones MBE who was appointed Chief Development Officer to set up the Climate Change Agency in October 2004. Mr Jones pioneered work to tackle climate change in a local authority context while working at Woking Borough Council.

Between the period 1991/92 and 2003/04 Woking Borough Council achieved a saving in carbon dioxide emissions of 77.4%, while the emissions for the whole of the borough were reduced by 17.23% through the Council’s action.

Woking now has nearly 10% of Britain’s total solar energy photovoltaics and is home to the first fuel cell CHP system in the UK.

The new London Agency has the backing of both Tony Blair and Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett.

Margaret Beckett said the Agency would help the whole country meet its carbon dioxide emissions targets: “Seventy per cent of London’s carbon dioxide emissions come from buildings. The Government is already tackling energy use in buildings through the revision of the Building Regulations, the Sustainable Buildings Code and through the implementation of the Energy Performance Buildings Directive. But there is scope to do more and I look forward to seeing the results of the Agency’s leadership in this very important area.”

The creation of the Agency should stimulate markets for renewable energy and energy services in London and provide huge economic development opportunities.

The LDA will now set up the London Climate Change Agency to work with them on all major future projects, such as the Olympic bid, to ensure energy efficiency and to reduce emissions.

By David Hopkins

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