London Assembly Member, Murad Qureshi, has expressed his shock as the huge cost of Boris Johnson’s latest environmental failure was revealed. New figures reveal that a report by consultants Ernst & Young on the potential of London’s low carbon economy cost Londoners £85,000.
Murad said: "It is appalling to think that Boris has asked private consultants to produce a report that could have been written in-house while his own environment team face the threat of job cuts. It’s just outsourcing for outsourcing’s sake.
"This expensive report says nothing new – it’s merely a re-hash of information already in the public domain and could have been put together as a student project. I’m surprised and disappointed that the Mayor is willing to put this out as a credible policy document."
Specifically, the report:
- Fails to assess the interventions of the London Development Agency (LDA), the Mayor’s economic arm in the GLA group, into the low carbon economy.
- Fails to mention that the LDA have under-spent £12.9 million on important environment projects since Boris took over last year. *
- Gives undue emphasis to the financial sector rather then the real economy in London and thus does not acknowledge that London’s aspiration to be the global centre of carbon trading and appropriate business services will depend on the capital’s ability to limit its environmental footprint.
Murad added: "If we’re going to get this right, we need to be pressing ahead with a whole range of measures like, for example, building energy from waste plants, having a decentralised energy network and making London’s buildings a lot more energy efficient – not to mention developing London’s green manufacturing sector.
"This expensive report fails to acknowledge the internationally renowned work undertaken by the previous administration at City Hall. Ken Livingstone’s administration had a clear action plan. It set up the London Climate Change Agency (LCCA) and was instrumental in setting up the C40. We’ve lost that impetus under Boris.
"Boris says he wants to cut costs and seems to think we don’t need environment experts at City Hall, but shelling out over £85,000 for a single report is hardly good value for money. You could fund a senior policy officer for over a year for that money and get far more than a single report from them."
1. Murad Qureshi AM is a Londonwide Assembly Member. He is Labour’s spokesperson on the environment and Chair of the Assembly’s Environment Committee.
2. City Hall has recently revealed that in the current round of job losses the environment team will be reduced from 37 posts to 20 and merged with the transport team.
3. The cost of the Low Carbon report was revealed in a written answer from the Mayor here http://www.london.gov.uk/mqt/public/question.do?id=26058
* Performance and Monitoring Report to LDA Audit, Risk and Performance Committee, 12th March 2009, reports a £12.9 million under-spend on Environmental projects.