This report aims to discuss the policies that pertain to the environment as outlined by the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority (GLA) and how these have been implemented, or the lack thereof, in light of other priorities that the said office has had of recent. The discussion shall examine both the proposals and the progress of the environment policies to date among others and shall seek to analyse and evaluate both the methodologies and the acceptance by Londoners of these plans as set by the current Mayor, Mr Boris Johnson making use of publications that relate to the said policies
To initiate this discussion, a brief look at what both the GLA and Mayor of London are, their powers and responsibilities as outlined by the legislation, mainly the Greater London Authority Act of 1999 and the Greater London Authority Act of 2007. Greater London Authority The Greater London Authority is a body that oversees the governing of about 610 square miles of Greater London and this body is made up of an elected mayor and an additional twenty-five members who are also voted into office. It incorporates the other major players in the capital’s development and maintenance and these are namely:
1. Transport for London (TfL) whose activities involves the management of transportation system to include rail and roads and congestion 2. London Development Agency (LDA). Up until 31 March 2012, when it was integrated to the main body of the GLA, it existed as a particular arm of the GLA and focused on bringing and sustaining economic growth for the city and its 32 boroughs 3. London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) which by definition manages and maintain fire safety 4. Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, formerly known as the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) till January 2012, provides policing via the Metropolitan Police Service.
The 25 members known as the London Assembly are responsible of holding the Mayor to account and they can approve or alter the plans and policies in terms of the budget that Mr Boris Johnson’s office may propose. They also look into issues of importance to the London populace and can in effect publish their findings as well as make recommendations to the Mayor. Mayor of London’s Powers and Responsibilities.
As indicated above, the Mayor is voted into the executive office on a four year term and is responsible for the plans policies and budget with the aim of improving the Greater London. The office can appoint members of the four main instruments of the Greater London Authority mentioned above and incumbent, Mr Boris Johnson holds a number of positions in different organisations that work closely with the GLA. “The Mayor has specific powers and duties and a general responsibility to promote economic, social and environmental improvement in London” (London.gov.uk. 2012)
The Mayor is responsible for the planning and development of the policies that will ensure that the services required by the Londoners are delivered effectively and equitably. Mr Johnson’s policies are to cover key issues like transport, housing, environmental and climate concerns and economical sustenance among others. One of the key responsibilities of the Mayor is the budget. He/she has an obligation to set out spending on a yearly basis in order to implement the plans and policies and distribution of resources to the four main participants of the Greater London Authority.
The Environmental Policies Among other important policies, the environment has been a major focus for both former Mayor Ken Livingstone and Mr Boris Johnson. A review of these policies, in summary is outlined below with also an examination of the implementation or lack thereof. Analysis of Environmental Policies 1. Air Quality Strategy In this policy the main focus is to improve the air quality by strategically implementing a number of plans. It aims at the reducing air pollution on both domestic and commercial scale and providing incentives and initiatives for the majority to follow. The London.gov.uk, as published in the Mayor’s Air Quality Strategy (London.gov.uk. 2012), identifies causes of pollution as being emissions from homes, transport, new developments and workplaces.
The outline seeks to reduce the level of pollution from the aforementioned sources by addressing transportation issues through channels like introduction of less polluting buses, widening the Low Emission Zone to cater for bigger vans and buses, encouraging the use of electric cars and cycling and the raising of general awareness of the public’s need to take part in this scheme. On domestic and non-traffic scale, the Mayor is aiming to reduce the carbon footprint by making homes and workplaces more energy efficient and this is said to be achievable by running retrofit schemes, setting new targets for boilers and heat and power systems, engaging boroughs so as to achieve less pollution from new developments and again raising public interest in the lowering of air pollution
1. The Mayor’s Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy This policy is an additional measure to the one above and it focuses on further reducing Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions with the view of contributing to the war against global climate change. The Mayor’s office intends to do this by putting into action a number of strategies that include the following:- 1. The lowering of CO2 to contribute to the global target of 50% of 1990 levels of greenhouse gases by 2050. This is said to be achievable by strategically running the retrofit programmes within London.
Taking optimum benefits of the economic gains from the transition by taking part in the £3 trillion low carbon goods market and services that expected to continue growing on a yearly basis. 3. The avoidance of a future energy gap by securing reliable energy efficient infrastructures are put in place or support for those that are already under development.