Climate Change and the London Plan

Developers opposed to high targets in CO2 emissions

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Climate change was debated at the Examination in Public of the London Plan on 15th July.

The London Plan is a hugely important for London and Londoners.  It determines to a great extent how London will develop and grow over the next 20 years and what contribution it will make to climate change. Planning policies and therefore individual planning decisions are much affected by what the London Plan says.

London Mayor Boris Johnson, represented by officers of the Greater London Authority, proposes a target of 60% cuts in CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions by 2025.

This challenging target was supported by London councils, West London Friends of the Earth and various amenity and community groups including Just Space.

Nic Ferriday, spokesperson for West London Friends of the Earth, said in his submission “We support this ambitious but achievable target. Climate change is, quite simply, the most important issue on earth.  If the issue of climate change is not addressed, all of the social, economic and many of the environmental objectives of the London Plan will ultimately fail. London, if it seeks to be a truly world class city, should be in the vanguard of action on climate change.”

Unfortunately, strong action was opposed by the developers, who were represented by the Consortium of London Developers, the Home Builders Federation and Hammerson UK plc.             

While the developers were at pains to say that they supported action on climate change, they gave no real support to the Mayor’s strong target and opposed many of actions needed to achieve it.

Nic Ferriday commented: “The division between developers and others was stark indeed.  But it is not hard to see why.  The Mayor, the councils and the amenity and environmental groups all represent the people of London and they care deeply about its future. But for developers, London is merely an opportunity to make a large profit from new buildings.  Building to low environmental standards would be cheaper and more profitable for developers than the high-quality, energy-efficient buildings that the rest of us want to see.  We hope for the sake of Londoners that the Mayor's climate target and building standards are not watered down.”  

July 23, 2010