Livingstone’s London Plan to come under fire

Greens have been outspoken critics of the Mayor ’s London Plan and its implications for London’s sustainability.

Discussions with transport and environmental organizations suggest that there will be crucial objections to the Mayor’s policies to promote London as a business dominated world city. There is a consensus of concern that this will increase the gap between rich and poor and lead to a massive deterioration in London’s environment.

Darren Johnson, an outspoken critic of the Plan said, “The financial services sector on which the Plan relies so heavily is currently faring badly and may continue to do so in the longer term. In the event of a recession, it will become apparent that the London Plan’s dependence on this sector will be at best misplaced and at worst disastrous for London.

“The Plan proposes massive growth for London with a major new round of roadbuilding, significant airport expansion and new office accommodation the equivalent of an additional seventy-five Canary Wharfs. Londoners should question whether the huge growth envisaged in the Mayor’s Plan can be accommodated in a sustainable way.”

Darren Johnson continues,“Greens believe the London Plan is built on sinking sand and needs to be fundamentally re-thought, so that risks are spread more evenly, both geographically and across economic sectors.

This process will throw up many serious concerns about the narrow focus on the financial services sector. It will not only be Greens who will be critical of the Mayor’s concentration on central London’s economy at the expense of the local. Who seriously believes that the promised new jobs in financial services are really going to go to the poor and unemployed of east London? More likely, they will attract even more wealthy commuters into London from the South East and beyond.”

Greens are opposing the Mayor’s London Plan on the following grounds:

· It will add to London’s transport problems It supports new road-building and major airport expansion and there is a lack of policy objectives to reduce need to travel, reduce volume of traffic, and improve local accessibility.

· It does not adequately protect London’s natural environment Open space protection is not strong enough in the Plan, leaving room for much remaining open space to be developed, including sites with nature conservation value.

· It is a tool of the City and big business. It puts financial services and ‘the city’ at the centre of London’s economic development, at the expense of other, more appropriate, forms of development. The new jobs in financial services are unlikely to go to those currently deprived of jobs and opportunities and will only lead to yet more commuters on to London’s already overcrowded transport system

· It will fail to improve the quality of life. London is currently blighted by poor transport, high levels of pollution, long commuter journeys, expensive facilities, and threatened open space. Planning which overheats London’s economy will continue these trends.

· It does not prepare for sustainable population levels. The Mayor’s Plan projects population growth the equivalent to a borough the size of Islington being added to London every three to four years. Green’s argue the Plan does not properly take into account the impact of population growth on the environment, transport system and the demand for new housing and office space.



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