London gets climate protection

London Mayor Boris Johnson has revealed a package of initiatives that will help protect the city from some of the unavoidable effects of climate change.

The London Climate Change Adaptation Strategy looks at how carbon already emitted will impact on the city and concludes that as things stand, we are far from prepared for the inevitable.

The report comes just weeks after the Government’s chief scientist warned that the UK needs to adapt to a global increase of four degrees.

The strategy reports to a failure to cope with extreme weather events in recent years, from the heatwave of 2003 to the widespread flooding of last summer.

It says that London can look forward to warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers with an increased frequency of extreme events.

The key plan in the strategy is in keeping with what is becoming a recurring theme of the Johnson administration’s environmental policy – more an improved green spaces.

In this case, by promoting green spaces and green roofs, the strategy aims to provide natural heat sinks, better drainage and ‘soft’ flood defences which will protect the city from the predicted rise in tidal surges and rainfall.

Mr Johnson said: “We need to concentrate efforts to slash carbon emissions and become more energy efficient in order to prevent dangerous climate change. But we also need to prepare for how our climate is expected to change in the future.

“The strategy I am launching outlines in detail the range of weather conditions facing London, which could both seriously threaten our quality of life – particularly that of the most vulnerable people – and endanger our pre-eminence as one of the world’s leading cities.

“London is not unique – all major cities such as New York and Tokyo are at risk from climate change. By producing this strategy, we put London in a position of strength.”

The strategy was launched at the Thames Barrier – a symbol of the city’s defences against extreme weather.

Robert Runcie, the Environment Agency’s Thames regional director, said: “London’s world class city is currently protected from the increasing risk of tidal flooding by the iconic Thames Barrier, which will see us into the next century as the people and businesses of London move forward in adapting to meet the challenges of climate change.

“We welcome the Mayor’s strategy and will be playing our part in helping deliver the solutions such as planning for London’s future tidal flood defences.”

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Sam Bond

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