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GLA and the Mayor Essay

Greater London Authority and the Mayor’s Environmental Policies

Introduction

London is of the greatest City in the world that has been successful in terms of production and competitive economy. Arguably, it is well known for its style, entrepreneurship, innovation, diversity as well as dynamism. The Greater London Authority (GLA) is a crucial managerial body for Greater London, which was formed in 2000 through a referendum. The body encompasses an executive Mayor who is elected directly, 25 members with inspection powers and a stuff of approximately 700 individuals. Most of its powers come from the Greater London Authority Act 2007 and Greater London Authority Act 1999, (Greater London Authority, 2006). The body has powers in various areas; such as, economic development, policing, transport, as well as emergency and fire planning in London. For effective functioning of Greater London Authority, four functional bodies were established to offer services for the above mentioned areas. The four bodies are: London Development Agency, Metropolitan Police Authority, Transport for London, and London Fire and Emergency planning authority. In terms of resources, this body is funded by the government, besides the money that is collected through taxation.

Review of the powers and responsibilities of GLA and the Mayor

As a matter of fact, London is one of the largest cities in the globe. Therefore, for the wellbeing of the people of this city to be observed, GLA under the chairmanship of the Mayor was given various responsibilities which could ensure that everything runs smoothly in London. In general terms, GLA has a strategic administration responsibility of the entire Greater London. Precisely, it has been given the responsibility of coordinating Greater London’s local authorities. The body has the same local government powers that have been granted to the City of London Corporation as well as the councils of thirty two London boroughs, (Greater London Authority, 2007). The Mayor was granted powers and responsibilities of making as well as influencing policies and strategies touching various areas in the entire city. To be more specific, the Mayor has about five major responsibilities. First, he has the responsibility of setting London’s strategic direction by formulating strategies and plans for the entire city. Second, he prepares the budget and presents it to the Assembly for further discussion. Third, he represents London both at home and abroad. Fourth, he directs action to put into practice the strategies, in collaboration with other bodies in the GLA Group. Lastly, he has been given the responsibility of making appointments, to bodies that he heads and other pan-London bodies, (Dow, 2009),

Literature review on Environmental strategies and policies by the Mayor in past five years

According to the Mayor, London aims to be recognized as one of the leading cities both locally and globally in the world in improving the environment. This could be made possible through a reduction of pollution, dealing with climate change, consumption of fewer resources as well as development of a low carbon economy, (Andrew, Duncan, Jessica & James, 2008). In order for this dream to be realized, the Mayor has proposed various plans and strategies; or rather policies, to be implemented to deal with environmental issues. The first strategy is the reduction of the greenhouse gas emissions throughout the City. According to Dow (2009), about 75% of the world’s energy is utilized by cities and approximately 80.5% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the world occur in these cities. London alone contributes to these emissions in the United Kingdom up to about 79.9%, which has been approximated to be about forty four million tonnes of Carbon Dioxide. This amount is expected to increase tremendously due to the ever increasing population as well as economic development. Therefore, reduction of the emission Carbon Dioxide is one of the priorities of the Mayor. It is projected that, by 2025 carbon dioxide emission should have reduced by about 65% in this city. This could be done through three ways. Firstly, efficiency of energy will be improved. Secondly, supply efficiency would be increased; and lastly, there will be development of renewable energy sources. To further contribute to the reduction of emissions of carbon dioxide, plans have been made to ensure that construction of buildings in the city meet the standards of the changing climate, (Greater London Authority, 2010).

The second strategy is the London Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, (Greater London Authority, 2010). This strategy is concerned with three main things: identification of what and who is at risk in the current times within the city, investigation of how the change of climate will alter the risk of drought, flood and heatwave, and lastly, explanation of the actions that are required in order to manage this and those who will be responsible for it. According to scientists, it is expected that England would be experiencing hotter, drier summers and warmer wetter winters. This implies that, London is expecting to experience droughts as well as floods in the near future. As a precautionary measure, policies have been put into place to deal with these issues. For instance, the Drain London Forum has been given the responsibility of identifying areas at risk as well as coming up with plans of tackling the probable problem in these areas. A good of scholars assert that this is a visionary strategy and it will help London to be prepared for the uncertain future conditions based on the fact that climate conditions are changing fast. In fact, some parts of the world have already started feeling the impacts of Climate change.

The third policy that was introduced by the Mayor which relates to the environment is the Waste Recycling policy. According to, Andrew, Duncan, Jessica andJames (2008), these policy is expected to save approximately 90 pounds annually through a reduction of the waste that is being produced in the city currently. Studies indicate that, about fifty five tonnes of waste is produced in London in a single day and approximately twenty tonnes annually. Reduction of waste will be undertaken in two ways: the first one is through the implementation of the Municipal Waste Management Strategy and the second way will be through the implementation of Business Waste Strategy, (Greater London Authority, 2010). Foundations have already been implemented towards this objective. For example, in The London Plan, policies have been included which will ensure that waste reduction in London has been achieved within a given period of time. Some of the objectives that have been included in this plan are: management of waste in London as much as workable, promotion of activities aimed at managing wastes which would lead to achievement of the possible environmental advantages in terms of climate change as well as determining new reprocessing and composting objectives. It is believed that through these programs, London will be made a better place for its dwellers by reducing wastes within the country as well as reducing the cost of managing these wastes.

Air quality is also one of the environmental aspects that have taken into account by the Mayor in London. Attempts to make London clean as well as green incorporate cleaning the air within the city. Consequently, the Mayor has tried to come up with policies that would ensure that there is reduction in air pollution. Some of these policies affects transport sector, which contributes a significant share of air pollution in London. These will include investment of millions of pounds to ensure that these strategies turns out successively. One of the policies aimed at enhancing air quality is cleaning the fleet of buses in London so that they conform to the Euro IV emissions standards for PM10 and NOx. Secondly, is a policy that aims at cleaning Private Hire Vehicle and taxi fleet by introduction of age limits to eliminate older and perhaps more polluting motor vehicles from the road, (Dow, 2009).

Thirdly, is the policy that is focused on including minibuses and vans which must conform to Euro 3 standard in the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) starting from 2012. Lastly, is the introduction of a new NOx for LEZ beginning 2015. According to ( ), there are also other policies which are aimed at reduction of air pollution which are not related to the transport sector. These policies include: implementation of new standards of emission for new biomass boilers and joint power and heat systems; increasing public awareness to enlighten the Londoners the importance of reducing air pollution; and lastly, updating the practices that should be used in reduction of emissions of dust from construction sites as well as developing a Supplementary planning Guidance to motivate its implementation across London.

Lastly, Greater London Authority has categorized water conservation as one of its priorities in creating a sustainable environment for the Londoners. The Mayor once said that his major goal for London as far as water is concerned, is the creation of an environment that meets the standards of for the preservation and protection of the quality of life of the citizen. He further argued that, this could only be made possible if the water resources of the City could be safeguarded. However, he also agree that, this would be very challenging bearing in mind that the impacts of climate change have already started being felt in some parts of the major cities of the world, as well as the increasing population. The first policy in this case is concerned with water usage in London. According to the Mayor supply management will be undertaken through reducing water loss through leaking, efficient water use, usage of reclaimed water, and development water resources that contributes least to climate alteration. The second policy is aimed at encouraging citizens to learn to store water for future use. The third policy focuses on how water should be disposed. According to Greater London Authority (2006 ), wastewater should be released to a “foul sewer” and in rare cases, to the “combined sewer”. The three policies have had a significant impact on water usage in the city. Lately, people have learnt the importance of preserving water, thanks to the initiatives that the Greater London Authority.

Analysis of the gap between policy, public policy initiatives and general practice

Arguably, the effects of the policies that have been introduced by the Mayor are yet to be fully experienced. In general terms, there seems to be a gap between policy, public policy initiatives as well as general practice among the public. To begin with, for these policies to be fully implemented, a lot of resources are needed. For instance, in order to achieve a reduction of emission of carbon dioxide by 6o% by 2025, about 60 billion pounds are required for the implementation of the proposed policies. The Greater London Authority expects that the government will cheap inn by offering some financial assistance which will enable this body to attain its objectives, (Greater London Authority, 2009). However, it is not certain that the central government will provide the additional resources to facilitate the plans. Actually, this has been one of the reasons why some of the plans are yet to be implemented; while others have already been implemented but challenges are being encountered in realizing the projected outcomes.

Another thing is that, there is no enough public awareness as far the environment is concerned. Therefore, the body has a lot to do if at its policies are to have positive impacts or rather the intended objectives. For instance, the Mayor and his team should start with public awareness campaign with an objective of educating the public the importance of the environment in their lives. This will have a very significant impact when the policies are being implemented, as people will be aware of the intentions of these policies as well as strategies. Moreover, through these campaigns, the general public will be taught to be responsible for their activities in relation to the environment. As such, the policymakers will have full support of the public in carrying out their activities.

Undeniably, London is one of the developed cities technologically. However, a lot is needed in the implementation of these policies and it will need investing good amount of cash in acquiring or rather implementing the needed technology. For instance, according to the Mayor, all new homes which are to be constructed in the city as well as the current homes should be improved to become energy and water efficient. Additionally, certain types of vehicles such as the electric vehicle will be produced to lower carbon dioxide emissions. This would need application of advanced technology which will be considerably expensive. Therefore, enough study should be undertaken in order to establish how to effectively implement these policies based on the existing technology in order to reduce or rather cut down costs that will be incurred on technology.

Lastly, it is true that there has been an improvement in the living standards of the Londoners in the recent years and it is expected to continue improving. However, it should be noted that, there are significant inequalities in many facets of life in this city, which impacts selective areas as well as groups more than others, and there are chances that the situation would continue. As such, some of the policies that are intended to be implemented to promote a better environment might negatively affect other groups, (Greater London Authority, 2009). For instance, policies that are intended to improve the efficiency of water in the future days by using meters may have a negative impact on low-income groups if these policies will result to an increase in average bills.

Opinions concerning priorities and a particular policy

Different opinions have been given by various individuals as far as the Mayor’s priorities of London are concerned. For instance, certain people agree that the priorities are good but some other things could be given more priority as compared to the execution of some “environmental-related” policies. For instance, lately, creation of more jobs should be given priority as the living standards have increased. The situation has been worsened by the recent global economic crisis. As such, what is really needed is creation of more jobs opportunities for the general public. However, generally, most individuals are supporting these priorities, (Andrew, Duncan, Jessica,James, 2008). They argue that, for a better future and the wellbeing of the people of London, development of the city should go hand in hand with preservation of the environment. Thus, environmental development policies should be prioritized as compared to policies in other areas. For instance, most people agree that air pollution as been one of the biggest environmental problems in London. Therefore, the initiative that has been taken by the Mayor and his team to address this problem will have a significant impact in the lives of the Londoners. For example, it will contribute to health problems that are associated with air pollution.

Effectiveness of GLA and the Mayor of London on environmental issues

Despite of the minor setbacks that have been experienced by the GLA and the Mayor, it can be said that these body has been effective in tackling the key issues that are related to the environment. For example, some of the strategies that had been proposed have already been executed. For example, the objective of making London “a global point of reference for sustainable cities by 2020” is already being implemented by the London Sustainable Development Commission. Although, the plan to prevent the entry of high polluting vehicles to London was extended in by two years in 2010, some of policies that will enable reduction of carbon emission are already in place. For example, at one point the Mayor announced discounts on van with low emissions. This was an attempt to motivate the general public to prioritize low-emission vans to reduce emission of carbon dioxide in the City. The extension was necessary to…

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