London’s deputy mayor described West London as “critical” and “integral” to the Capital’s green recovery from the pandemic as she called for the city’s devolution from government.
The green growth ambitions of the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Greater London Authority (GLA) could move “further and faster” with greater autonomy from Whitehall, Shirley Rodrigues Deputy Mayor, Environment and Energy, told the Capital West London Build & Recover Summit.
Ms Rodriques highlighted how a green recovery, already in progress, would lead to a cleaner, fairer, more equal society that would tackle the climate change and ecological emergency as well as improve air quality and people’s health.
“Embedding a green recovery approach will lead to permanent changes that present a better future and better cities,” she said, “but to make this a success for our city will require action beyond local authorities and the collective efforts of all of us.
“It demands ambitious action and the devolution of powers and funding from the government to enable London to go further and faster with our ambitious green recovery plans. When cities are empowered to deliver, they are able to lead the rest of the country.”
Imperial College, West London Alliance and The Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation were all described by the deputy mayor as “absolutely critical partners and key to and integral to supporting the green recovery across West London and London as a whole”.
West London businesses such as that “creating spider-like silk that has longer term medical applications” and another that recycles coffee cup waste into different objects, were hailed as examples of those that the GLA wants “to support and expand”.
For London as a whole, the deputy mayor described how a green recovery would strengthen the existing economy where the low carbon and environmental business services sector is already worth £40bilion in sales and employs 250,000 people. The sector generates more sales for the London economy than construction and manufacturing combined.
The Green New Deal for London – which has received £3m investment from the Mayor – aims to double the size of London’s green economy by 2030, accelerate job growth and tackle social, economic and environmental inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic. It will focus on the ‘built environment’ for example, by retrofitting with low carbon tech, ‘infrastructure’ including access to green spaces and energy-efficient transport and ‘green foundations’ by supporting SMEs developing low-carbon products/services and finding new sources of finance to support the £61bn vision to make London zero-carbon. Further GLA initiatives include working with developers as the net zero carbon strategy extends to non-residential buildings and ensuring post-pandemic that people have the skills to find jobs, for example, by establishing learning hubs such as the construction skills centre.
Ms Rodriques said: “As we prepare for the next stage in the pandemic and we know the economic impacts of that are critical, our focus is really on how we can come out of that in a way that really supports all of London through a green recovery that builds a zero carbon and a fairer future for all.”