Monday 20 July 2020 11:49 am

The road towards a greener, cleaner Square Mile

As the UK starts to rebuild its economy in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, it is crucial that the plan is developed with tackling climate change at its heart.

We need to shape a greener, fairer and more resilient City. And we want the whole Square Mile to play its part.

That’s why last week we launched an online survey asking City residents, workers and businesses for their views on climate change.

We’re inviting people to say what the City of London Corporation should do to counter the threat of future weather conditions, and what action they would like to see taken to make City buildings more environmentally friendly.

It’s part of our plan to launch a Climate Action Strategy later this year which will outline what we will do to make sure the Square Mile becomes net-zero emission and climate resilient in the future. 

We want to reduce the City’s carbon emissions and to lead others to take similar measures.

As the governing body of the Square Mile, we have a leading role to play in ensuring that London and the UK are both resilient to risks presented by climate change and able to capture the opportunities in the transition to a low carbon economy.

We have already taken some major steps to reduce our carbon footprint. These include protecting and conserving 11,000 acres of green space in London and south east England, running on 100 per cent renewable electricity since October 2018, and offsetting carbon emissions from business travel flights.

One of our top priorities is tackling air pollution in the City. And thanks to our efforts, air quality is already improving. 

We are piloting the UK’s first 24/7 zero emission street at Beech Street and we will turn other parts of the Square Mile into zero-emissions zones by 2022.

We have already banned the purchase of diesel vehicles from our own vehicle fleet, where there is a clean market alternative, and we are leading a London-wide crackdown on drivers who leave their engines idling when parked.

And our CityAir app provides over 30,000 Londoners with low pollution travel routes across the capital, while our Emissions Reduction Bill aims to give the capital’s local authorities tough new powers to tackle air pollution caused by boilers, construction machinery and diesel generators. Overall, we want to make sure that 90 per cent of the City will meet World Health Organisation guidelines for nitrogen dioxide by 2025.

More generally, we are driving forward the green finance business agenda by establishing the Green Finance Institute alongside the government, the principal forum for public and private sector collaboration in this burgeoning sector.

All of these actions will help make a difference. But we need to do more — and that’s why our Climate Action Strategy will be crucial. Radical action is needed if we are to make Square Mile more climate resilient. I’m urging all Square Mile residents and businesses to get involved in this important survey, and have their say on how to ensure a cleaner, greener City.

Main image credit: Getty

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.