Building & Design | Refurbishment

Mayor of London called to task over environmental record

Londoners and businesses in the capital could save up to £1 billion on their energy bills over the next four years, said Mayor Boris Johnson yesterday, but he is being called to task over his environmental record.

Johnson was speaking yesterday at the inaugural award of the £20,000 Mayor’s Low Carbon Prize at City Hall, which went to student Jonathan Pye-Finch from Kingston University for a ‘green key’ with up to date local information on living sustainably for all new residents and businesses.

He said his environmental retrofit programmes, the RE:NEW homes programme, which has made over 50,000 homes more energy efficient, and the RE:FIT buildings programme aimed schools, town halls, hospitals and other public sector buildings could save £1.16 billion on energy bills by 2016.

But Green Party London Assembly Member has tabled a question for the Mayor today accusing him of underspending the capital’s environmental budget.

According to his critics, Johnson has spent only just over half of the £84 million green budget and is this year expected to spend only £14 million of an estimated £17 million earmarked for climate change policies.

The Mayor has come in for criticism before over his energy efficiency schemes, which appear to have lagged behind targets due to a lack of investment.

Meanwhile, fellow Green Party Member Jenny Jones yesterday called the Mayor to task over slowing down the rollout of hybrid buses in the capital.

According to Jones, only 52 of 800 new buses planned to make it onto London’s road over the next financial year are hybrids, less a third of those due to have gone into service this year.

“We know that hybrid buses reduce pollution, so why is the Mayor slowing down the roll out rather than speeding it up?,” she asks.
Jones accuses the Mayor of blowing his budget on eight prototype routemaster out of “vanity” instead of 96 ‘ordinary’ hybrids.

But Johnson maintains that 50 diesel-electric hybrids were added to the fleet in 2010/11 followed by a further 147 in 2011/12. He says that by the end of the year the target of 300 hybrids in service will be exceeded. A further 15 hybrids will come into service in next March taking the total to 331.

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Related stories:
London Assembly warns Mayor’s budget fails to tackle environmental issues (27-Jan)
Mayor announces free energy efficiency makeovers for 55,000 London homes (8-Aug 2011)
Testing starts on London’s new ‘green’ bus (31-May 2011)
Mayor of London’s home efficiency programme called into question (26-May 2011)

08 March 2012