Lord Whitty said Mayor Livingstone’s Energy Strategy and recently formed London Climate Change Agency were important local initiatives designed to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but said that the capital’s decision-makers and planners needed to make a better built environment if they were to keep reducing emissions.

“Improving the quality and energy efficiency of buildings, existing as well as new, is a high priority for us in meeting our climate change goals. Energy use in buildings accounts for around half of our domestic carbon dioxide emissions, mostly from heating and lighting,” Lord Whitty said. “Changes in the way we design, construct and use buildings will be needed to adapt to the impacts of climate change. There may be more significant effects on the built environment – increased flooding and subsidence, more structural damage to buildings, added pressure on water supplies, and potentially a greater need for cooling rather than heating.”

He added that new government measures such as revised building regulations to raise minimum standards for the energy efficiency of new buildings, the Sustainable Buildings Code and the Energy Efficiency Action Plan will all have significant effects.

“Central government is committed to only procuring buildings with the highest energy performance standards and we want to see local and regional partners make similar commitments,” he added.

London’s Deputy Mayor Nicky Gavron, speaking alongside, said: “As a world city, London needs to take a lead in working to tackle climate change and act as an example to the rest of the country. We are determined in London to play our part in meeting the targets to cut carbon dioxide emissions through the energy strategy and the Climate Change Agency.”

By David Hopkins

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