The London Quality of Life Indicators 2008-2009 report finds recycling up, bird populations on the rise and carbon emissions falling.

But, it is not all good news with the authors pointing out in the executive summary that “if everybody used as many resources as are used in London we would need around three planets to survive.”

London mayor Boris Johnson said: “I welcome this snapshot of London providing a valuable resource for a wide range of organisations.

“It is good news that in many areas of life for Londoners standards are improving but this report underscores that policy makers cannot be complacent to the challenges that lie ahead.”

The third Quality of Life Indicators report is produced by the London Sustainable Development Commission (LSDC) and examines city life across 23 social, economic and environmental indicators.

The 11 environmental indicators include household recycling, travel to school, ecological footprint, waste, carbon emissions, bird populations, access to nature, air quality, traffic volumes and flooding.

The report, published last week (Tue, June 30) finds household recycling has increased 9.7 per cent from 13.3 per cent to 22.9 per cent – although this is still below the national average of 30.9 per cent.

Meanwhile, bird populations are increasing at greater rates than the rest of England rising 31 per cent in some common species.

Carbon efficiency for London has also improved more than the rest of the UK, the report says.

But it points out while emissions have fallen “much of this has been due to the trend in UK manufacturing moving overseas – so-called ‘off-shoring'”.

It adds: “This often results in more CO2 emissions being associated with the production and transportation of goods, which are still consumed in London.”

Despite the improvements London still lags behind the national average on many indicators, the report concludes, with issues for concern.

Household recycling rates may be up but waste collection has also risen.

London’s air quality has improved but remains the worst in the UK for most pollutants and has caused the first breaches of EU limits, designed to safeguard human health.

And, the number of children travelling by car to school has increased alongside a fall in the number walking from 50 per cent to 44 per cent.

The commission report, which uses data gathered between 2005 and 2009, is designed to help policy makers improve London and Londoners’ lives.

John Plowman, chairman of the LSDC, said: “This report captures the breadth of challenges facing London.”

He added: “To live up to being a truly sustainable, fair and liveable capital we want to see policy solutions which reduce social and economic inequalities, tackle London’s global environmental responsibilities and improve overall quality of life.”

The commission wants Londoners’ views on how to make progress on the 23 indicators.

For the full report go to the commission website at

David Gibbs

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