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Greens badger Ken over headline-grabbing gimmicks

Darren Johnson is holding firm to his accusation that the Mayor is ‘squandering’ London’s wildlife budget. The row ensued after the London Assembly Green Party Group proposed to cut the Mayor’s subsidy for London Zoo and switch the money to practical nature conservation work.

It emerged that only £51,000 of the Mayor’s environmental budget is being used for hands-on biodiversity work whilst a staggering £372,000 has been allocated for subsidising free trips to London Zoo.

The Green Party Group in the London Assembly therefore tabled an amendment to the Mayor’s Budget proposals to cut £250,000 from the Mayor’s Zoo scheme and switch the money to practical nature conservation work instead.

Darren Johnson commented, “It’s proof, once again, that Ken Livingstone is more interested in headline-grabbing gimmicks rather than the serious policy work needed to make London a greener place.

“The Mayor has a legal responsibility for protecting green space and local wildlife in London. His Biodiversity Strategy contains 72 different proposals yet £372,000 has been allocated for trips to the zoo whilst only £51,000 is being spent on implementing the Mayor’s other 71 proposals.”

Darren continued, “Greens want children to be able to enjoy London’s wildlife on a local and regular basis rather than as just a one-off trip to the Zoo to find wildlife in captivity.”

“In his Biodiversity Strategy the Mayor talks of the need to protect and conserve our natural open spaces but you can’t achieve that if you only pay peanuts. We can’t afford to throw hundreds of thousands of pounds at the zoo whilst essential biodiversity work is not being done.”

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