Mayor and the Greater London Authority
The 2012 London Olympics is scheduled to be one of the most spectacular games in addition to being held in one of the world’s best cities. The Olympics is undeniably one of the greatest sporting events on earth. In order to ensure that the visitors are treated to the arrays of entertainment and eventful sporting event in addition to bringing benefits to the Londoners, the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority (GLA) has put in place measures and priorities to develop London in readiness for this event. Among the most important items on the planning agenda is environmental sustainability (Stallone, 2005).
An independent body, Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, has already been established to monitor and assure the sustainability of the 2012 Olympic Games. The 2012 Summer Olympics plan for the environment is designed and focused on four main areas. These include waste management, reduction of carbon emissions, promotion of environmental awareness, and biodiversity. Other environmental measures include being committed to minimizing the construction effects to both individuals and the community. These duties and responsibilities lie at the hands of the Greater London Authority (GLA) and the Mayor of London.
Powers and Responsibilities of the Mayor and the GLA
The Greater London Authority is a strategic administrative body that is vested with powers and responsibilities aimed at the development of London. The GLA has responsibilities that are categorized in three distinct areas that include social development, improvement of the environment, and wealth creation through economic development. These powers and responsibilities cover a range of areas that include economic development, fire and emergency planning, metropolitan policing, and transport and the GLA has four functional bodies to enable it execute its responsibilities (Greater London Authority, 2011). The GLA is headed by an elected executive mayor who is charged with the responsibility of proposing policies and budgets for the Greater London Authority. The Mayor is also for executing primary responsibilities such as appointing strategic executives to functional bodies such as the London Development Agency and the Transport for London. The Mayor of London is majorly involved in managing and running the city of London (Borris, 2010). His functions include the setting of improvement strategies, creating visions, designing policies, provision of funding, and harnessing the resources to ensure that the city of London is among the best cities on Earth (Borris, 2010).
As earlier mentioned, the GLA has four functional bodies to enable it execute its functions and responsibilities. The functional bodies are the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), the London Development Agency (LDA), the Transport for London, and the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA). The LFEPA handles and coordinates emergency responses and planning in addition to administering the Fire Brigade of London. The MPA is responsible for overseeing metropolitan police functions and provides the city of London with policing services (Greater London Authority, 2011). The LDA manages economic development across the Greater London. The final functional body is the Transport for London is charged with the responsibility of dealing with majority of aspects relating to the system of transport in London and this covers a wide range of perspectives that include the provision of public transport, management of traffic, maintaining main roads, and the administration of Congestion charges.
The powers and responsibilities of the Greater London Authority were reviewed and documented in 2005 and further responsibilities were added. The GLA was awarded the responsibility of managing wastes, and house planning. Under the planning obligations, the GLA coordinates the proper use of land in London whereby the Mayor of London designs a strategic plan that is submitted to the 32 Boroughs of London for compliance (Mayor of London, 2010). Additionally, the Mayor is capable of overriding the planning decisions decided upon by the Boroughs if He believes that the decisions fail to conform to the interests of developing the city of London (Mayor of London, 2011).
The low-carbon emissions is among the major objectives to be realized during the London 2012 Olympics and hence, the Mayor has designed the Energy strategy to give him the blue prints for reducing the levels of carbon emissions. London is known for contributing nearly 7% of the total carbon emissions in the United Kingdom and majority of these carbon emissions come from commercial and housing premises, industries, and transport systems. The Mayor of London is so committed to achieving these environmental sustainability objectives and has created several agencies to aid in the realization of these objectives. These are London Energy Partnership, the London Climate Change Agency, and the Climate Leadership Group for large cities (Mayor of London, 2010). In order to ensure that majority of houses conformed to the low-carbon emission requirements, all new constructions should to be constructed using carbon-neutral materials using building techniques that consume zero energy.
Environmental Literature Review
The Mayor of London (currently Boris Johnson) possesses the executive powers of the Greater London Authority and is responsible for defining policies and work programmes to majority of the employees at GLA. Other responsibilities include the preparation of budgets for the GLA and consolidated and components budgets for the GLA groups. As such, his visions are developed to be the major issue in the work programme of the GLA. Additionally, the achievement of his ambitions will see London becoming the biggest city in the world. Majority of the Mayor’s ambitions are related to the attainment of environmental sustainability and these includes climate change issues, biodiversity, waste disposal, and air quality (Borris, 2010). The energy policies and Climate change programmes instituted by the Mayor were at aimed at the reduction of the total percentage of London’s contribution to climate change, addressing the problems of fuel shortages, and the use of decentralized renewable and low carbon technologies (Edwards, and Miller, 2008).
The London draft replacement contains proposals that should be followed to ensure the realization of Zero carbon emissions and the building of zero residential buildings. These are contained in Policy 5.2 of the draft replacement London Plan (Greater London Authority, 2011). The objectives contained in this plan should be addressed according to a specific hierarchical order. First, the type of energies used should lean; in the sense that the forms of energy utilizes less energy. Second, the types of energy should and be capable of supplying efficient amounts of energy. Lastly, the source of energy and the energy should be green and this will entail the use of renewable sources of energy. The overall objectives of the London Plan should be targeted towards the realization of low-carbon emissions and all the necessary would be taken to ensure that zero-carbon developments are made.
The Mayor also has an ambition providing the dream of a renewed London whereby the Londoners would have an experience of living in a cleaner and more sustainable environment. This ambition entails the development and implementation of policy objectives that provide cleaner and sustainable living conditions to the Londoners. Additionally, the Mayor’s Great Spaces initiative will see more money being channeled towards the creation and improvement of public spaces (Borris, 2010). Finances and resources will be approved through the Local Implementation Plan Programme to enable Boroughs to fund their transformation initiatives.
London is well known for its diverse transport network and the mayor aims to transform it to be well suited to the support of green transport choices characterized by zero pollution vehicles. As such, the Mayor has instituted policies and measures whereby millions of resources are invested in the transport sector to deliver a variety of minimized travel choices characterized by low emissions. The range of travel choices includes electric and hybrid cars, hydrogen buses, and motor bikes in the hire scheme. Other policies included in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy is the support of public transport, promotion of unprecedented walking levels and investment in cycling, and lastly, the promotion of efficient energy measures on buses and the London Underground system.
The Mayor has also embarked on waste management initiatives that are aimed at transforming London’s environmental look in addition to improving the quality of life. A range of programmes is being implemented to achieve a litter-free and green city. Other waste management initiatives include reduction of pollution levels through rubbish reduction, careful use of waste materials, and making the city more energy efficient. The waste management initiatives are implemented to help in making the city of London to utilize its resources efficiently, minimize the levels of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and above all, saving money and resources for future use.
The Low Carbon Employment and Skills Programme were designed by the mayor to enhance low carbon economy initiatives and as well to deliver job opportunities to Londoners. Such job opportunities would enable Londoners to benefit from the economic and environmental benefits associated with the realization of a low carbon economy (Edwards, and Miller, 2008). This has seen the creation of a Green Enterprise District, which is an area whereby priority is given to those investing in low carbon enterprises.
The Gap between Policy and What has been delivered
The Mayor has managed to achieve some of the objectives identified in his ambitions and policy objectives with respect to the environmental sustainability of London. These objectives includes the creation of a greener London environment, creation of safer public spaces, installation of energy efficient equipment, low carbon zones, energy efficient transport systems, and waste disposal initiatives among others (Miles, 2010). First, the realization of a greener London began with the proposal to plant 10,000 trees on various streets of London. By 2010, nearly 4,000 trees had already been planted showing a positive progress towards the targets of creating a 25% forest by the year 2025. Second, the creation of cleaner, safer, and entertaining outdoor environment depends with the objective of creating public spaces.
The Mayor has already invested £225 million that was directed towards the creation of 50 public space projects targeted at the creation of a great outdoor environment. For instance, the Trafalgar Square has been transformed into one of the best and loved spaces. An energy efficient lighting system has been installed in the Trafalgar Square to minimize the higher amounts of expenses that go towards light provision. £6 million has been directed towards the improvement of 11 parks in various regions across the city of London. The completion of the upgrade of these parks is scheduled to be completed by 2012 (Greater London Authority, 2011). On the other hand, the capital growth initiative was created into to transform 2,102 land pieces into food growing regions. These initiative targeted community groups and schools in will help Londoners to have regions to expand their food growing capacities (Mayor of London, 2010).
In the transport sector, the Mayor has managed to install greener traffic lights (energy-bursting LED) in more than half of the total traffic lights in London. Additionally, in addition to the promotion of cycling through the bikes for hire initiative, the Mayor has built the electric vehicle revolution. The Mayor aims to ensure that the number of electrical vehicles in London and is committed to reducing the levels of carbon emissions. The RE: NEW program has already been developed to improve the levels of water and energy efficiencies to almost 100,000 homes in London (Greater London Authority, 2011). The GLA has already retrofitted 42 of its buildings to save energy. Ten Low Carbon Zones have also been identified in the city of London and are aimed at showing Londoners the exact manner on how the levels of emissions can be reduced particularly from older buildings in the city.
Other achievements include waste management projects whereby the draft strategy was created with objectives of saving £90 million annually inform of managing and reducing wastes. This entails the use of recycling materials and improved and efficient use of resources. The cleaning up of the air also falls under the cleaner and greener initiatives. This objective was included in the Mayor’s Air Quality Strategy that included the introduction of hybrid vehicles, promotion of the recycling revolutions.
Despite the realization of the above objectives, still other policies and objectives are yet to be achieved by the Mayor of London and GLA. For instance, majority of initiatives in many policies are targeted to the 2012 London Summer Olympics, which are a year away but it seems that it would be possible to achieve such objectives within this time. A low carbon London is the mayor’s 2025 vision of making the city one of the biggest and greenest cities on Earth. Currently, the city is still relying of carbon and fossil fuels and therefore the low carbon ambitions are far from being realized. The current transport system might be efficient but it is yet to be fit-for-purpose for the environmental conservation. The realization of a strong, diversified, and resilient economy characterized by job delivery and efficient transport system might take time to be realized.
A survey of Opinions regarding Mayoral Policies
The Mayor’s ambitions, visions, and strategies targeted towards the realization of a greener London have received varied interpretations and opinions from different members across the globe. Many have believed that the strategies that have been put in place by the Mayor will indeed facilitate the objective of reducing the contributions of London towards the Global climate change and promote economic development. The GSM students believe that the plans and objectives outlined by the Mayor will indeed bring real and long-term benefits. The Mayor has set five ambitions giving priorities about the key areas that need reformations. Furthermore, each of these ambitions has strategic plans detailing how the objectives will be realized. These are described as plans from vision to reality (The Greater London Authority Strategic Plan 2010-2012). The rules and responsibilities of the Mayor cover a range of responsibilities such as economic development, transport, development and planning, and environmental issues and climatic change issues.
The functions of the Mayor includes the determination of budgets for GLA and GLA groups and therefore, the Mayor has outlined objectives for each group, the rate of budget, and a timeline from which the objectives will be achieved. The Mayor has even gone to an extent of identifying partnerships to enable him fund the initiatives. Many believe that the Mayor has all it takes to transform his ambitions and visions to make London among the friendliest and greenest cities in the world. The Mayor consults with the local Londoners in the promotion of opportunities and equality towards the development of London (The Greater London Authority Strategic Plan 2010-2012). The plans undertaken by the Mayor of London have also been believed to be the blueprint that will enable the city to contribute positively to the sustainability and development of London.
The GLA and the Mayor of London have been responsible for creating visions, policies, and strategies for the development and improvement of the City of London. With the 2012 Summer Olympics being underway, London is on the world map and is expected to provide an entertaining and spectacular atmosphere for holding the games. The GLA and the Mayor, among other priorities, have identified the environment as being a crucial factor that needs improved in order to enable it to achieve its objectives. Among the most important items on the planning agenda is the objective of realizing environmental sustainability.
Through their powers and responsibilities, the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority have managed to achieve effectiveness in the implementation of the planned strategies and policy objectives. For instance, the GLA uses the four functional bodies to enable it execute its functions and responsibilities. Other objectives that have since been achieved by the GLA with respect to environment include attainment of environmental sustainability on measures such as climate change issues, biodiversity, waste disposal, and air quality. The energy policies and Climate change programmes instituted by the Mayor are aimed at the reduction of the total percentage of London’s contribution to climate change, addressing the problems of fuel shortages, and the use of decentralized renewable and low carbon technologies.
The Mayor’s ambitions, visions, and strategies have enabled him to achieve a number of measurable results that includes the creation of a greener London environment, creation of safer public spaces, installation of energy efficient equipment, low carbon zones, energy efficient transport systems, and waste disposal initiatives among others. The Mayor has even gone to an extent of identifying partnerships to enable him fund the initiatives. Many believe that the Mayor has all it takes to transform his ambitions and visions to make London among the friendliest and greenest cities in the world. The Mayor consults with the local Londoners in the promotion of opportunities and equality towards the development of London. Finally yet importantly, the environmental sustainability initiatives will also bring increased economic advantages to the people of London in addition to making London a clean and conducive place to live. Undeniably, the measures and strategies that have been put in place will ensure that the 2012 Summer Olympics will be a success.
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Edwards, P. and Miller, C., 2008. Changing the atmosphere: expert knowledge and environmental governance. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press
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Priorities of the Mayor and Assembly. Greater London Authority, London
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Stallone, J. E., 2005. Fair Games For All: How Sports Can Promote Development. Oxford University Press
The Greater London Authority Strategic Plan 2010-2012. Part 11-From Vision to Reality. The GLA and the Mayor of London