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Local Policy

8.6 million people live in London and 10.3 live in its metropolitan area. The Greater London area produces a $836 billion GDP. The administration of London, the Greater London Authority was among the first urban administration to plan for climate change mitigation. The Greater London Council has planning competence over the area of London in terms of spatial planning, environmental and housing and social policies. In 2007, Ken Livingstone (Mayor of London from 2000 until 2008) launched  the first Climate Change Plan for London.



Delivering London’s Energy Future: climate change mitigation strategy[1] for a 10 years period was launched in 2011 under John Osborn’s mandate. The plan is targeting a 60% emissions reduction by 2025 compared to 1990 levels and a 34% emissions reduction by 2050 compared to 1990.

The plan is based on public programs tackling major sectors, with the target to include the private sector in the process. Stakeholders are using public-private partnerships to support the mitigation plan. For transports, the public authority is working with the taxi manufacturing industry to design a zero emission taxi by 2020. Enhancing the low carbon economy is a top priority for policy makers. As the City beneficiates from its position in global finance,  the goal is to create economic opportunities on the global market for low carbon goods by creating green funds. London established the London Green Fund, £100 million has been invested by the public sector in the London Green Found, in order to attract £100 million from private sector funding. The Fund aims to leverage further funding from other government sources and development banks to achieve a £500 million target. It will provide a substantial support to the mitigation plan.


The plan projected that the reduction target of 60% by 2025 will require overall £40 billion of investment. The GLA’s contribution to this should reach £14 billion. London beneficiates from several programmes funded by the national government. It nevertheless continues to seek for grants to help the city with the climate change strategy.  The mitigation plan includes projections of emission reductions with and without further government financial help. To achieve the 60% reduction target, the document assumes that nationwide participation is necessary. Furthermore, London is seeking for an increase by at least £368 billion of the market for low carbon per year through to 2030[2], if global CO2 emission targets are met.

Best Practice

London and Bogota created a network of 26 cities who have all signed the C40 Clean Bus Declaration[3]. They have committed to buying 40,000 clean buses from 2015 to 2020 and to utilized clean buses for 75% of the total 2020 bus fleet . This joint statement aims at mitigating emissions but also supporting the hybrid bus market. In the past, even if cities have individually been buying low emission buses, as the sales increased, no reduction in price was observed. Following a collaboration with manufacturers, the problem of a lack of commitment to new technologies by a critical mass created by a sufficient number of cities was identified. The Clean Bus Declaration has a collective goal of 40,000 hybrid and electric buses by 2020, which would save 880,528 tons of CO2 annually (32% of reduction each year compared to the “do nothing” scenario)[4]. London plans to turn all 300 single-deck buses in central London to zero emission capable and all 3,000 double-deck buses to hybrid, with an investment plan of $510 million until 2020. Since the initiative was launched in March 2015, the average price for hybrid bus has declined by 10%.



Managing Risks and Increasing Resilience, The Mayor’s climate change adaptation strategy was also launched in 2011 in London. The plan is closely connected to national programmes on adaptation issues (the Thames Estuary 2100 plan, 2012; or the National Heatwave Plan, 2004). The London Climate Change Partnership, LCCP, is the centre for expertise on climate change adaptation and resilience to extreme weather in London. LCCP is comprised of public, private and community sector organisations that have a role in designing and implementing plans and preparing London for extreme weather and climate change. Direct climate risks include intense precipitation, drainage and flash flooding, drought and water efficiency, heat waves/urban heat islands, and wind/storm damage. 15% of the city’s surface area lies on the floodplains of London’s rivers[5]. Indirect impacts include biodiversity loss, migration/differential social impacts, and increased health and disease problems. Therefore, London set up adaptation goals such as building a system of flood defence and drainage, urban greening campaign, addressing the Underground vulnerability to flooding, waste management, etc.


The GLA and a range of stakeholders from the wider GLS GROUP have funded the planning phase. The personnel costs of implementation will be shared by GLA (50%) and a larger GLA group. Single measures are based either on private contributions to public infrastructures (flood defences), entirely private initiatives (water saving, climate proofing of buildings, and urban greening), or on public procurement (urban greening and climate proofing of public buildings).



[1] Leah Davis et al., “Delivering London’s Energy Future: The Mayor’s Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy” (London: Greater London Authority, October 2011).

[2] Alex Nickson et al., “Managing Risks and Increasing Resilience : The Mayor’s Climate Adaptation Strategy” (London: Greater London Authority, October 2011). (link)

[3] “C40 Cities Clean Bus Declaration of Intent” (C40 Cities, 2015).

[4] “Cities100 : 100 Solutions for Climate Action Cities” (Sustainia: C40 Cities, 2015).

[5] Ibid, p.13