Independent study shows Ken Livingstone’s tough policies are setting benchmark for local authorities

The mayor of London’s energy strategy is a success according to a new report which says the policies implemented by Ken Livingstone have helped to save 135,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.

The independent study by London South Bank University found there had been a strong upward trend in cumulative CO2 savings since the introduction of the London Plan in 2003, representing a 26% saving overall.

Livingstone said the report confirmed the success of the GLA’s energy initiatives. “It shows the value of setting tough policy to drive innovation and the adoption of energy-efficient building design, efficient energy supply and renewable energy technologies. This study shows that the development industry in London has made a dramatic change in its approach to energy and climate change over the past four years.”

The mayor added: “As the evidence of accelerating climate change continues to build, I look forward to working with London’s construction and development communities to meet my targets for building new low-carbon homes.”

Renewable technology has played a lesser role than energy efficiency measures in the reduction of London’s carbon footprint. The South Bank study suggested 21% of the carbon savings could be attributed to energy efficiency and 5.8% to on-site renewables.

Solar hot water, biomass and photovoltaics were the most commonly used renewable technologies but CHP, biomass and ground source heat pumps, in that order, provided the greatest savings, mainly because they were used in large installations.

The study recommends that as the 10% renewables target is now being routinely met, the mayor should impose a new higher target for renewable energy while ensuring that it does not limit the diversity of technology solutions.

The report also says that with the future tightening of the Building Regulations, the GLA should consider using a new methodology of setting a target of 20kg CO2/m2 for energy efficiency and 4kg CO2/m2 for renewables.

Douglas Parr, policy director of Greenpeace, said that other UK authorities should follow the GLA’s lead: “London has shown that strong local policies can make developers and builders change the way they work to reduce carbon emissions.

“They need to be made standard across the country, while progressive authorities and the Greater London Authority can continue to drive standards towards zero-carbon building,” Parr said.

n The Greater London Authority Act received Royal Assent on October 23, giving the body more strategic powers to tackle climate change, planning and waste.