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London Mayor Boris JohnsonLondon's Mayor Boris Johnson has established an ambitious program: "Leading to a greener London".  It aims to transform the city into the most clean and green city in the world, to enhance the quality of life of Londoners, to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions, and to prepare the city to meet adequately the effects of irreversible climate change.

Specific steps to be followed include: increasing of energy efficiency, increasing the efficiency of material use, increasing the share of renewable energy, converting of waste into energy, significantly reducing the impact of transport, and the very large scale planting of trees.

London is already a very green city – from a bird's eye view it appears that more than half of its area is green or blue.  Moreover, energy efficiency is remarkable – the carbon footprint of  Londoners is only half compared with the average for Great Britain as a whole.

But Mayor Boris Johnson is not satisfied. He wants much more "green" for his city as well as wanting to take advantage of the investment opportunities relating to the 2012 Olympics and Paraolympics.  Finally, he wants to achieve the maximum benefits for the city's inhabitants by making London the cleanest city in the world.

Through 2012 his program envisions the planting of  10,000 trees on London's streets and creation of 1,000 hectares of new green spaces. By 2012 new allotments of land will be provided for those who are  willing to handle gardens and grow their own fruits and vegetables. Plans also provide additional incentives for building green roofs and for expansion of green belts and parks. By 2025 a total of two million trees will be planted, increasing  the area of forested land to 25% of the total area of London, or 5% higher compared with the current percent. By 2050 the plan provides the afforestation of a further 5% of London.

Annually the city generates about 22 million tons of waste that could be used as a source of energy in the coming years – a "gold mine", in the words of Johnson.

In regard to transportation, London will continue to support the so-called "cycle revolution", plus a planned conversion of all public buses to hybrid.  Almost all vehicles that will serve the Olympic Games will be electric vehicles, and the municipality will use 1,000 electric vehicles in its own fleet. By 2012 London will add 30 kilometers of sidewalks and bicycle lanes. 

This vision for cleaner and quieter city streets provides for the number of electric cars in 2020 to be not less than 100,000.

Another specific objective pursued by the program is a 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of the city – with half of it due to measures introduced at the national level and the other half due to the city's own regulations.

With regard to new buildings, strict requirements will be put on their energy efficiency and ability to meet the challenges of climate change.

Citizens of London already know climate change effects – they experienced severe heat waves in 2003 and 2006, the exceptional drought in 2005-2006, and floods of 2000 and 2007. It is expected in the coming decades these extreme weather conditions could become annual.

To deal with them, London's authorities will carry out extensive risk assessments and require architects and developers to apply special measures to newly constructed buildings; the plan puts in focus the optimization of public infrastructure and retrofitting of existing buildings to new requirements.

For all the extensive efforts toward implementation of these measures the city of London will rely very much on the voluntary participation of all its citizens.

Read the full text of "Leading to a greener London".

See original story: Greentech-BG (translated from Bulgarian)  
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Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Aug-29-2009)   Web site
Mayor Michael Bloomberg here in New York City tried to get congestion pricing passed... but the idea was shot down.

Now I think he does a lot by stealth to avoid those problems. My favorite? Broadway is slowly being turned into a cafe/pedestrian/bicycle venue, with blocks in several places to car traffic. The funny thing is that it barely makes the news, so there is also little opposition. But when you see it, they are REAL bicycle lanes isolated from pedestrian and car traffic, and nice tables for sitting and talking, reading, or enjoying a snack. As a native New Yorker, I appreciate any changes like these, that promote a human face for the city.
Comment by:  Wavehunter (William Coffin) (Aug-29-2009)   Web site

Thanks very much for writing it. I'll be interested to read about Gavin Newsom's plans too, and even more interested to read of his achievements.

You're right about the importance of local government. Those national governments that signed the Kyoto Protocol, for example, will probably not be able to meet their targets without co-operation at the municipal level.

By the way, I made a mistake in my earlier comment. Ken Livingston, the previous Mayor of London, had planned to increase the congestion charge for vehicles emitting more than 225g of CO2 per kilometre or with engines of 3 litres or larger. The charge for these vehicles was to have been £25 (US$40; €28) per day from September 2008. It was this change that Boris Johnson scrapped to the fury of many environmentalists. There were no plans to increase the geographical extent of the zone.
Comment by:  speeva (Sevdalina Peeva) (Aug-29-2009)   Web site

Next elections in London will be held in May 2012 so it seems Boris Johnson has enough time to prove his intentions.” Leading to a greener London" is extensive 66 pages document, not just a statement.

Maybe Johnson is just a dwarf sitting on the shoulders of giants, because as he admits himself "London is already a very green city". He has a good vision how to admit problems and use existing knowledge and technologies to improve a giant city and make it more Human-friendly.

Politicians like him should be example for the rest all over the world because not all problems could be solved on personal and governmental level.

Mayors as local leaders of communities with different sizes are very important players in transition to greener world.

That is why I write about London Mayor and intend to write soon about Gavin Newsom :-)
Comment by:  Wavehunter (William Coffin) (Aug-28-2009)   Web site

Lots of good measures here but also, unfortunately, a lot of spin. 30km of sidewalks and cycle lanes in a city the size of London doesn't amount to much.

In the UK politicians from all sides vie to be 'greener than thou' and as the general election approaches each will put out a manifesto packed with green measures. Whoever wins, many of these measures will not be implemented.

Boris Johnson's "Leading to a greener London" is an attempt to win over his environmental critics, disappointed at his refusal to extend the zone in which the congestion charge applies. I think it will largely fail.

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About contributor Member: speeva (Sevdalina Peeva) speeva (Sevdalina Peeva)
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Member: speeva (Sevdalina Peeva) Sevdalina lives in Bulgaria and has been publishing in Greentech-BG since February 2008, with focus on green technologies, innovative solutions and creativity that can help transition to a cleaner, greener world.

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