June 2013: The Mayor has set out priorities for the capital over the following decade in a new publication 2020 Vision – The Greatest City on Earth:Ambitions for London. Examples of some of the challenges highlighted in the accompanying press release include that “London’s population will hit ten million by 2030. London also needs 400,000 new homes in the next ten years alone.”
Despite the Mayor stating in the report that “The country as a whole is facing an energy crisis” (see below), disappointingly, across the 84 pages of the report, little is said in relation to practical measures the Mayor will undertake in helping secure London’s energy requirements to 2020 and beyond. There is also no specific reference at all to climate change in the report or how the capital may need to adapt to changed weather patterns. The ‘Securing our Energy Supplies’ section (p44) sets out many of the problems – but few future actions:
“New homes and new transport links will put pressure on other forms of infrastructure, notably water, sewage and energy. The country as a whole is facing an energy crisis, as nuclear power stations reach the end of their lives and as coal fired stations are closed to comply with EU regulations.
For too long London has been reliant solely on the National Grid and we need six new £40m substations urgently. It is time to take much bolder steps towards self-sufficiency. We are reducing wasted energy – retrofitting tens of thousands of buildings and helping to reduce fuel bills.
London’s CO2 emissions have actually fallen by 13.7 per cent since 2000, and are now back at 1990 levels. Our retrofitting schemes have so far improved the efficiency of 111 public buildings and 82,000 homes.
By 2020 we must have in hand a project to retrofit every badly insulated home in the city, and every badly insulated office -not just to save energy, save CO2 but to save Londoners’money in tough economic times. As they have discovered in Germany, these retrofitting schemes can be formidable creators of employment.
A building the size of the Shard can use as much electricity as Colchester – and so we need to meet London’s energy needs as independently as possible. By 2025 we intend to supply 25 per cent of the city’s power from decentralised energy generation within London itself – and it is clearly right that these plants should run, as far as possible, on renewable fuels.
It is a little known fact that TfL has its own power station in Greenwich, and we are now working with the private sector to convert that station to provide heat and power from low carbon energy sources; and this could be the first of many.” (for more on this see here and here)
There is, not surprisingly, a strong emphasis on the creation of new jobs for Londoners running as major thread through the report. The Mayor has previously highlighted the opportunity presented to London through the adoption of low carbon programmes – a 2011 study for the Mayor suggesting up to 14,000 jobs could be created. Boris’s 2012 Mayoral election manifesto stated that 4,300 ‘green’ jobs could be created through his retrofitting and decentralised energy programmes alone. Despite the mention in the report (see above) on how Germany has managed to boost employment by adopting major energy efficiency retrofit schemes, though there are 55 references to jobs in the ‘2020 Vision’ document, there is no single specific mention to how ‘green jobs’ will be further promoted.
Finally, the odd factlet stated in the report comparing the electricity use in Colchester to The Shard (see above) was first used in a column the Mayor wrote in the Daily Telegraph in December 2012…and was disputed soon after.