On 11 August Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, published his draft London Environment Strategy. The Mayor is taking a range of actions to improve the environment now, setting London on the path to create a better future.
The Mayor's public consultation on these plans is now open until 17th November – they are asking citizens of London to take part and give their views.
The state of London’s environment affects everyone who lives in and visits the city – it helps Londoners to stay healthy, makes London a good place to work and keeps the city functioning from day to day.
Today London is facing a host of environmental challenges. Toxic air, noise pollution, the threat to our green spaces, and the adverse effects of climate change, all pose major risks to the health and wellbeing of Londoners.
We need to act now to tackle the most urgent environmental challenges facing our city as well as safeguard London’s environment over the longer term. We need to ensure that London is greener, cleaner and ready for the future.
This is the first strategy to bring together approaches to every aspect of London’s environment. It is divided into the following areas:
- Air quality
- Green infrastructure
- Climate change mitigation and energy
- Adapting to climate change
- Ambient noise
London's Environment Today
London’s environment connects every aspect of life in the city. It is the air Londoners breathe, the water they drink and the parks where they meet and spend time. The state of London’s environment affects everyone who lives in and visits the city – it helps Londoners to stay healthy, makes London a good place to work and keeps the city functioning from day to day.
In many ways, London’s environment is improving, but in others it is far from what it should be. London’s air is so badly polluted that it is responsible for the early deaths of thousands of people every year, and for the poor health of many thousands more. Almost half of Londoners have poor access to public open space, and water demand is set to outstrip supply by 2025. Carbon dioxide emissions are too high, and in some areas the city’s electricity infrastructure is approaching full capacity.
As London gradually grows to be home to over 11 million people by 2050, many of these problems will get worse if action is not taken now. Climate change is already leading to higher temperatures, greater risk of flooding and a greater chance of energy shortages. All of these issues must be addressed if Londoners’ quality of life is to be maintained and enhanced.
Improvements to the city’s environment have the potential to make sure that London’s growth is good growth – transforming Londoners’ health and wellbeing, allowing the city’s economy to thrive and bringing communities together. To realise London’s full potential now and in the future, the city needs to think about its environment in new ways.
Transforming London’s environment
For the first time, this strategy brings together approaches to every aspect of London’s environment, kick starting action that will improve the city’s environment right away, while taking the most ambitious view of what is possible in the future. Recognising that the environment has a big influence on the quality of Londoners’ lives, it has people and their experience of living, working and spending time in the city at its heart.
London’s environmental problems cannot be solved overnight, and creating the environment Londoners deserve will require everyone to work together over many years. This strategy sets out a vision for London in 2050 that will realise the potential of London’s environment to support good health and quality of life and to make the city a better place to live, work and do business.
Ready for the future: Water, energy and raw materials for the products we consume will be less readily available in the future, and climate change will mean higher temperatures, more intense rainfall and water shortages. The Mayor will make sure the city does not waste valuable resources, is prepared for the future and is safeguarded for future generations.
Action will be taken now to plan for new flood defences and a new water resource for London, as well as to help transport, water and other infrastructure providers better prepare for the changing climate. New smart meters will be rolled out to help Londoners use less energy and water, higher recycling standards will cut waste, and Londoners will be helped to use less packaging. This will help London send zero waste to landfill by 2026 and recycle 65 per cent of its waste by 2030.
Making this vision a reality will require new approaches that ensure the environment is properly considered by everyone who is working to make London a better place.
Products, energy and other resources will need to be designed and recycled to keep them in use for as long as possible – moving towards a low carbon, circular economy. The full range of benefits of green spaces will need to be properly considered when people are deciding what to invest in. Streets and other public spaces will need to be designed for people to make use of and enjoy the environment around them, rather than just for cars and other vehicles to move through.
This strategy sets out the Mayor’s vision for London’s environment in six areas, each of which contributes to the functioning and improvement of London life in important ways. Many of them are interconnected, and a solution in one area may provide valuable benefits in many others. By tackling them all and making connections between them, going beyond business as usual to enhance our environment, Londoner’s health and the city as a whole will be improved dramatically, helping to create a future London that is fairer and works better for everyone.
Aims for 2050
- Climate change and energy London will be a zero carbon city – with a zero emission transport network and zero carbon buildings.
- Waste London will be a zero waste city. 65% of London’s municipal waste will be recycled.
- Adapting to climate change London and Londoners will be resilient to severe weather and longer-term climate change impacts, such as flooding, heat risk and drought.
- Green infrastructure More than half of London’s area will be green, and tree canopy cover will increase by ten per cent by 2050.
- Air quality London will have the best air quality of any major world city by 2050, going beyond the legal requirements to protect human health and minimise inequalities.
- Noise The number of people adversely affected by noise will be reduced, and more quiet and tranquil spaces will be promoted.
- All Londoners should be able to enjoy the very best parks, trees and wildlife. Creating a greener city is good for everyone – it will improve people’s health and quality of life, support the success of businesses and attract more visitors to London.
- Londoners want their city to be clean, attractive and healthy – living in a big city does not mean they should accept a dirty and polluted environment. The Mayor will clean up London’s air, water and energy in a way that is fair, protects the health of Londoners, and contributes to the fight against climate change.
Ready for the Future
- Greener Cleaner Outcomes Climate change and energy London will be a zero carbon city – with a zero emission transport network and zero carbon buildings. Waste London will be a zero waste city. 65% of London’s municipal waste will be recycled. Adapting to climate change London and Londoners will be resilient to severe weather and longer-term climate change impacts, such as flooding, heat risk and drought. Water, energy and raw materials for the products we consume will be less readily available in the future, and climate change will mean higher temperatures, more intense rainfall and water shortages. The Mayor will make sure the city does not waste valuable resources, is prepared for the future and is safeguarded for future generations.