London Assembly Warns Mayor’s Budget Fails To Tackle Environmental Issues

The London Assembly has passed a motion calling on Mayor Boris Johnson to revise his latest budget, warning that it fails to address the capital’s environmental problems.  The £14.6 billion spending plans for 2012/13 fail to address environmental problems like air quality, housing shortages and energy efficiency, affordable public transport, rising unemployment and policing, warns the Assembly.

The Assembly calls on the Mayor to revise the budget to provide a higher level of investment on environmental issues like air pollution and improving the energy efficiency of London’s housing stock.  The Mayor has set ambitious targets for improving the energy efficiency of the capital’s homes, but the Assembly wants to see clarification on where funding is coming from.

The Assembly has questioned the Mayor’s actions on energy efficiency previously. While nearly a quarter of the capital’s homes are affected by fuel poverty, the Mayor’s RE:NEW scheme to help homeowners make their properties more energy efficient has struggled to find financial support.

The Mayor has set a target of helping 200,000 homes by the end 2012 with measures such as low-energy light bulbs, cavity wall and loft insulation, but less than a tenth of that number have been treated, according to figures last year.  But the Mayor’s office simultaneously announced that its RE:FIT scheme, which aims to improve the performance of public buildings in the capital, expects to reach the target of 100 buildings by May 2012.

According to the announcement, work on 86 buildings is already or very close to completion and detailed preparations are underway with a further 297 buildings to start work over the coming year.  The buildings that have already been treated with energy saving measures will save an estimated £1.3 million a year on energy bills, while the scheme could ultimately lead to savings of some £6 million and reduce emissions by 36,000 tonnes annually.

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