5 September 2011: The Localism Bill continues its passage through the House of Lords today, moving to Report Stage. Amongst the many changes proposed in the Bill there is a more modest, but important, clause in the Bill regarding the six environment strategies that the Mayor is currently statutorily required to produce.
Clause 212 of the latest version of the Bill calls for the Mayor to produce a ‘London Environment Strategy’ which “must contain a general assessment by the Mayor of the environment in Greater London, so far as relevant to the functions ofthe Authority or of the Mayor” containing “provisions dealing with the Mayor’s policies and proposals in relation to each of the following matters in relation to Greater London—(a) biodiversity;(b) municipal waste management;(c) climate change mitigation and energy;(d) adaptation to climate change;(e) air quality; and(f) ambient noise.”
Importantly, the Bill goes on to repeal the duty on the Mayor to publish the six separate environmental strategies. Hence it is proposed that all material/policies contained within these six individual strategies will be consolidated into the new single London Environment Strategy. The Communities and Local Government (CLG) Secretary of State may give guidance to the Mayor on the content and preparation of this new strategy and may also give the Mayor direction as to its policies. Also proposed in the Bill is a new power for the London Assembly which is the ability to reject any of the Mayor’s statutory strategies if a two-thirds majority of members vote against publication.
Despite the changes being proposed in the Bill the Mayor stated back in June that the climate change mitigation and energy strategy, the climate change adaptation strategy, the municipal waste strategy – and two further non-statutory environment strategies on business waste and water – all of which are at draft stage – will all be published by the end of the calendar year.