18 March 2021
London’s next Mayor must create a greener, healthier and more resilient capital city, a group of leading environmental organisations has urged today (Monday, 16 March), with the launch of a joint manifesto outlining ambitious programmes of action needed to reduce pollution and waste, improve health and wellbeing, secure nature’s recovery and increase resilience to climate change.
The manifesto calls for London to play a leading role in tackling climate and nature emergencies. It cites major challenges currently facing the capital’s estimated nine million residents, such as poor air and water quality; barriers to walking and cycling; loss of green spaces; noise pollution and poor access to affordable fresh food.
With growing public support for the environment making it an increasingly important issue for voters, this new manifesto – A more natural capital: an agenda for the new Mayor of London – sets 24 targets for the next Mayor, including:
- Establishing a London-wide ‘green living’ social prescribing programme to connect people with local green and blue spaces.
- The formation of a London Climate Emergency Alliance to help achieve zero carbon emissions by 2030 or sooner.
- The creation of 100 new low traffic neighbourhoods and the creation of at least six new, high quality green walking routes linking London’s green spaces
- Developing a ‘nature recovery network’ to restore and enhance species and wildlife habits.
The organisations who have created this joint manifesto are: Butterfly Conservation, CPRE London, Greenpeace, London Food Link, London Living Streets, London National Park City, London Parks & Gardens Trust, London Wildlife Trust, The Orchard Project, the Ramblers, RSPB, Sustain, TCV (The Conservation Volunteers), Trees For Cities, Wildlife and Countryside Link and Woodland Trust.
* Please see ‘Notes to editors’ for a list of further organisations who are also supporting this manifesto.
Speaking on behalf of all of them, Neil Sinden, Director of CPRE London said: “This is an agenda to improve the lives of all Londoners. London’s environment has seen important improvements since its first directly elected mayor took office 20 years ago -- such as the restoration and enhancement of certain ‘flagship’ parks and landscapes; the introduction of the congestion charge; the creation of 3,000 new community food growing spaces; and the introduction of low traffic neighbourhoods to support walkers and cyclists. But there is still much to be done if London is to lead in tackling the climate and nature emergencies and improve public health. At present, London’s most disadvantaged communities tend to suffer the poorest environmental conditions. We are ready to work with the next Mayor to deliver the changes Londoners need now, and which will enable future generations to inherit a healthier, greener, fairer and more liveable capital city.” All Londoners can support the new manifesto’s vision for a greener, healthier and more resilient London by asking candidates for Mayor of London, the Greater London Assembly and friends and family to support its proposals, or join one or more of the participating organisations in their campaigning to make London the Nature Capital of the world (#amorenaturalcapital).
Tom Platt, Director of advocacy and engagement for the Ramblers said: “We face a climate emergency, catastrophic nature loss, and widening health inequalities. We’re calling on the next mayor to make London a greener, healthier and more resilient city for everyone. Green spaces encourage people to get outside and get active – whether it’s an urban park, a canal towpath or local streets filled with trees and parklets. Good quality green spaces improve our health and happiness and benefit local communities. We’re calling on the next Mayor to act now and improve the lives of millions of Londoners”.
* Please see Appendix for quotes from other participating organisations.
Notes to editors
Further media contact details for participating organisations:
This manifesto also has the support of Amphibian and Reptile Conservation; A Rocha UK; Badger Trust; Born Free Foundation; British Mountaineering Council; Institute of Fisheries Management; Four Paws UK; London Friends of Green Spaces Network; Open Spaces Society; Tranquil City and the Wildlife Gardening Forum.
Appendix: further quotes from participating and supporting organisations:
- London Living Streets: David Harrison, Vice Chair, said: “We are confronted by a series of environmental and health catastrophes: climate, air pollution, obesity, and social exclusion. A key part of the solution has to be a huge shift from car use to active travel. There are so many short journeys which could be walked or cycled but we will need to create a city which makes this the easiest option. We call on the Mayor to make this happen through a range of measures, including the creation of 100 new low traffic neighbourhoods and funding for the Central London Walking Network.”
- London National Park City: Paul de Zylva, Chair, said: "Londoners' desire to live in a greener, healthier and wilder city are shown in London being the world's first National Park City. With more people living in cities than ever before, how cities operate matters. London's next Mayor will be in office when make-or-break decisions are made about keeping our climate safe and restoring nature."
- London Wildlife Trust: Elaine Sullivan, Chair, said: “Everyone has a right to get the benefits of nature close to where they live, and we believe the Mayor can play a key role in targeting action to where it’s most needed, so that London’s birdsong and wildflowers can help beautify the city’s greyest neighbourhoods.”
- The Orchard Project: Abby Cremin, Head of Operations and Programmes, said: "We are pleased to support this manifesto that offers practical solutions for making London a greener and healthier city. It has never been more important to take bold steps for the future of our planet, and we think that London can lead the way with these initiatives, with the support of the next London Mayor."
- RSPB: Nick Bruce-White, Operations Director for Southern England, said: “The planet is in the midst of both a climate and nature emergency, and the UK is no exception. The State of Nature 2019 report presents an overview of how the nation’s wildlife is faring, with 15% of species assessed at risk of extinction from Great Britain. Urbanisation is among the most significant pressures acting upon our wildlife, yet it need not always result in biodiversity loss. As one of the world's greenest cities, London’s green space has potential to provide quality wildlife habitats, which mitigate and adapt to climate change, and provide a healthier environment for both nature and local communities. A recent rise in public support for the environment suggests that this is also an issue that is of increasing importance to voters, and we urge the newly elected Mayor of London use their leadership role to tackle these environmental challenges across the city.”
- Tranquil City: Grant Waters, Chief Executive, said: “We proudly support this manifesto, as it demands that the balance between the needs of people, nature and climate is top of London's agenda."
- Wildlife and Countryside Link: Richard Benwell, Chief Executive, said: “Around the world, cities and Mayors are growing in green leadership, improving human life and wildlife, and building national ambition from the bottom up. We are challenging all of the Mayoral candidates to set out ambitious plans to make London a leader, playing its part in the national Nature Recovery Network, reducing the footprint of the city's consumption, and cleaning up air and water for the benefit of everyone who lives there.”
- Woodland Trust: Bridget Fox, Regional External Affairs Officer – South East, said: “London’s trees and woodland have a vital role to play in fighting the climate and nature crises. We look to the next Mayor to take a lead in protecting ancient woodland and significantly increasing tree canopy cover to help tackle air pollution, provide urban shading and make our capital a healthier, greener city.”