Labour’s Mayoral Candidate Sadiq Khan has unveiled ambitious plans which he claims will make him the “greenest mayor London has ever had”.
During the Greener London Hustings event organised by think tank Green Alliance last Friday, Mr Khan said he wants to make the capital “the world’s first national park city” and establish a non-profit energy company that will take the lead on green energy.
He told ELN: “I was against the government cutting the subsidies they give to solar energy, to onshore wind. What we need to do is realise in London it’s really sunny. We currently only generate 1% of the energy via solar. We can generate up to 20% of the energy via solar. I’ll set up an ‘Energy for Londoners’ which will do an audit of public land and see if we can have solar panels.
“Why don’t we think of some of the land we’ve got to be used for solar panels? Why don’t we bulk buy energy from community energy schemes? We’ve got to be far more innovative going forward than we’ve been in the past.”
The energy company would ensure new developments have solar and low carbon designed in and would work with local authorities and housing associations to increase energy efficiency measures and renewable generation.
The MP for Tooting also pledged to make London a zero carbon city by 2050 and tackle the city’s air pollution levels, which is currently in breach of EU rules.
Mr Khan said: “One of the first things we’re going to do is say no to the new runway at Heathrow Airport. There is an alternative which causes far less problems: a new runway at Gatwick Airport.
“We’ve got to make sure during the first term of the mayor we plant two million more trees near schools in particular. We’ve got to make sure we pedestrianise Oxford Street, in peak hours there are 300 buses using Oxford Street. We’ve got to ensure when it comes to procurement, the next generation of buses by 2020 they’re either electric or hydrogen powered.”
He is calling on the government to introduce a diesel scrappage scheme to clean up the capital’s air. That would mean providing financial support to those with the most polluting cars, vans and lorries to help replace them with cleaner and greener vehicles.
“At the moment people aren’t going to get rid of diesel cars because it’s too expensive to buy a replacement that’s clean,” he said.
The 2016 London mayoral election will be held on 5th May.