London Mayor marks ULEZ as key in green ambitions
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has recognised climate change as the defining issue of our generation and called Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) key in making a huge difference.
The comments came from the Mayor’s key note speech, delivered at the Centre for London’s virtual event to discuss London’s green recovery. The Mayor marked out the improvement in air quality that has already come about as a result of implementing the London ULEZ.
He said, “We’ve already seen how the Ultra-Low Emission Zone is making a huge difference to both air quality and our climate: Reducing pollution levels in central London by a third; Cutting carbon emissions in the zone by 13%; Boosting our attempts to make London zero-carbon by 2030 and making London a more economically competitive city in the process.”
In addition, the Mayor highlighted the opportunity now present to London’s recovery with a green agenda. He commented, “If the right choices are made to kick-start and support our economic recovery – with a major stimulus programme and high levels of public investment – then we have a real opportunity to accelerate our society’s transition to a new, low-carbon model.
“To do this, however, we need to make clear that a strong recovery and a ‘green recovery’ are not mutually exclusive, but one and the same.
“This is because a green recovery would enable us to enact the policies – and make the investments – that are not only necessary to protect our environment, but to create the jobs and prosperity our country needs.”
He continued, “My Green New Deal for London – announced prior to the pandemic – is about growing our economy, creating the jobs of the future for Londoners and supporting the green industries that are crucial to meeting our city’s climate targets.”
The Mayor further called on government to seize the opportunity and make this not only a London-centric idea, but one that should be rolled out across the UK. He added that an industrial and regional policy that tackles the climate emergency and stimulates the economy while delivering “green-collar jobs” should involve:
- Running economic bailout packages through a “green lense” and attaching “green strings” to bailouts.
- Channelling public spending into green energy projects, infrastructure and job-creation schemes.
- Devolving greater powers to enable cities and regions across the country to implement targeted, local green recovery packages.
He further warned government that without a national action, it will be harder to “realise the full potential of a green and strong recovery in London” and the country. In addition, he added that the same mistakes as made with a slow response to COVID-19 should not be made, else the consequences would be too high and the human cost too great.
“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rebuild our cities and our economies so that they’re cleaner, greener, more sustainable and better geared towards meeting the needs of our citizens. Let’s seize it, not squander it,” he concluded.