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Green light for clean power in London

Commenting on the Mayor’s Draft Energy Strategy launched on 21 January, Victor Anderson, Environment Advisor to the Mayor said, "I want to see the Mayor using his planning powers to turn down all planning applications for new office blocks in London powered by yesterday’s polluting fossil fuels.”

Victor added, “The Mayor’s Draft Energy Strategy is radical and far-reaching. We can stop climate change from getting worse by developing new energy technologies such as solar panels. But this will only happen if the Mayor uses his power over planning applications to put the words in the strategy into practice. I hope that developers are registering the message.”

Two key targets for 2010 set by the strategy are:
• A 20% reduction of emissions of carbon dioxide, the most important greenhouse gas
• 14% of London’s needs to be from the generation and purchase of renewable energy.

New planning requirements will be used to push for renewable energy generation in London, harnessing sun and wind to produce electricity, or heat water. All planning applications referred to the Mayor will have to generate at least 10% of the power and heat they need from renewable energy. For example, plans for the old London Stock Exchange to be renovated with prestige cladding will now have to consider cladding with solar cells.

If the Mayor’s proposals go through, Councils will also be requiring applications for new commercial and industrial developments of over 1,000 square metres in size, and new residential developments of ten dwellings or more to generate on site 10% of their energy needs.

In addition, each borough will be expected to set up a showcase renewable energy scheme in its area to raise the profile, and increase demand for renewable energy. There are already exciting examples such as the Bed Zed Zero Carbon housing development in Sutton where solar panels on the roof generate electricity for electric cars used by residents.

Deadline for comments on the Draft Strategy is 22 April. The finalised version is expected in September.

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