Zac Goldsmith today told green-minded voters that the choice at this year’s mayoral contest was “between a lifelong environmentalist with a record of delivery or Sadiq Khan, who has never shown any interest in the environment in his time as an MP”.
The Tory mayoral hopeful, who is vying with Mr Khan to succeed Boris Johnson, made his remarks as he unveiled a list of policies which he said would “make London the greenest city on earth”.
One of the Richmond MP’s key pledges is to use “the platform of the mayoralty” to ensure London’s councils tackle the problem of fly-tipping.
Mr Goldsmith says he would do this by publishing data on local authority clean up rates on the London Datastore, ensuring that he and local communities “have solid evidence with which to hold councils to account”.
He’s also pledged to simplify recycling across London, claiming the current “unruly jumble” of rules in London boroughs, each of which has different collection arrangements and accepts different types of waste, is partially responsible for London missing its recycling targets.
Although the aim is for 50% household waste to be recycled, the city currently only recycles around one-third.
Goldsmith says “recycling in London should not require you to master a new set of rules every time you move house” and has promised to “work with the boroughs and with Resource London to move towards a ‘London Guarantee’: a common set of London-wide collection standards.”
The Tory mayoral hopeful also pledged to ensure that “everything” purchased by City Hall and its agencies, including the Met and Transport for London, is “recyclable or re-usable as soon as is practical”.
Earlier this week he announced that developers would be forced to include green space in all new projects and promised that any new public space created as a result of planning obligations will be open to the public, “not fenced-off and ignored.”
On air quality he’s committed to building “at least 100 Pocket Farms” in London schools and campaign aides say more measures to clean up London’s air will be announced as part of a forthcoming transport manifesto.
Mr Goldsmith said: “London’s living environment is what makes our city special.
“As Mayor I will stand up and make London the greenest and cleanest city on earth, protecting and extending our green spaces, backing biodiversity, cleaning up our parks and streets and decarbonising London.
To win the mayoral election a candidate needs to secure more than 50% of the votes cast.
In each of the contests held to date this has only been possible by winning the second preference votes of Green and Liberal Democrat supporters plus those who backed smaller parties and independent candidates.
With recent polls suggesting Labour’s Sadiq Khan is on course to take the majority of preference votes and scoop the mayoralty, Goldsmith will be hoping that today’s announcement will convince Green party supporters and environmentally aware voters to rally behind his campaign.