10 Low Carbon Zones – a good start but not enough to tackle climate change

Murad Qureshi AM, Labour’s environment spokesman on the London Assembly, has welcomed the Mayor of London’s new "Low Carbon Zones" but has expressed concern that the policy needs to reach out further to Londoners.

Murad said: "Low Carbon Zones are a good idea, so I welcome the Mayor’s announcement, which comes in the same week that the Assembly’s environment committee released a report raising concerns that poor air quality in the capital may have contributed to up to 3,000 premature deaths a year. But this scheme will only involve ten new zones, which can be as small as just two streets or 1,000 buildings. That means that only around 10,000 buildings or 20 streets will be made more efficient – out of a city of 7 million people. It’s a start but I think we need some strategic thinking on how the impact of this can be maximised and the scheme rolled out further."

The 10 new zones, which will be funded by London Development Agency money, will be instigated by London boroughs in partnership with local service providers and aim to bring together communities to bring down their carbon emissions. Measures to be put in place in the zones will include home insulation schemes, smart meters to regulate energy use, retrofit packages for public buildings and decentralised energy.

As next year’s Chair of the Assembly Environment Committee, Murad added: "I’m sure the committee will be taking an interest in how the scheme progresses, looking at local impact of the zones and will be looking at how any positive effects can be extended. This is not a new idea – I’m glad the Mayor is taking it up, but given the LDA’s £13 million underspend on environment projects in 2008/09, I wonder if they will even be able to deliver this much within their climate change programme."