21st Century : Environment : Investing In A Capital Future
Investing In A Capital Future
SUSTAINABLE development is about ensuring a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come – and in the United Kingdom’s capital huge efforts are being made to ensure that vision.
Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs is one of the main aims of the Greater London Authority. In pursuance of these goals the London Development Agency was set up by the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone.
London is a city of contrasts - it has the UK’s highest productivity rate, the world’s fourth largest economy and a gross value added of more than 160 billion pounds sterling a year. Its global transport links are second to none, the skills and diversity of its people are world class, and the educational institutions in the city have global reputations.
The capital also faces challenges: population expansion, rising costs, housing shortages, insufficient and outdated transport infrastructure, and the highest child poverty rate in the UK.
These are the challenges that the London Development Agency (LDA) must tackle head-on. Being the mayor’s agency responsible for driving London’s sustainable economic growth, its job is to ensure that the capital remains a global success story - in the next year, the next decade and in the next century. It works to deliver the mayor’s vision for London to be a sustainable world city with strong, long-term economic growth, social inclusion and active environmental improvement.
To help do this, it produces the mayor’s economic development strategy for London that sets out Livingstone’s vision in detail and also sets the context for the work. The strategy is based on four basic themes that all connect. They are:
:: Investment in places and infrastructure to deliver more effective infrastructure for future growth and create healthy, sustainable, high-quality communities. It is investing in the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games as part of efforts to regenerate the Lower Lea Valley and the wider Thames Gateway.
:: Investment in people to tackle the barriers to employment that still affects too many Londoners. On 10 March the LDA rolled out the diversity works campaign to tackle discrimination in all its forms - against disabled people, older people, women, and people from minority communities.
:: Investment in enterprise will tackle the barriers to enterprise start-up, growth and competitiveness. The LDA wants to maintain London’s position as a key enterprise and trading location; to support new business start-ups and medium-size business growth.
:: Investment in marketing and promotion is about harmonising the way the LDA promotes the capital to the rest of the UK and the outside world. It aims to maintain and develop London as a top international destination and the principal UK gateway for tourism, education and investment.
Recently Mr Livingstone said: “I am conscious of the GLA’s own impact on London’s sustainability and have made sustainable development a key part of everything we do.”
He went on: “People struggle with the concept of sustainable development which is about improving quality of life for all of us, now and in the future. If it is to continue to prosper as a world city, London needs to address social inequality, improve the environment, create more jobs, improve housing standards and enable people to live healthy lives.”
Only last year (2005) British Waterways became the 400th company to sign up to the mayor’s Green Procurement Code run by London Remade. British Waterways has pledged to work with London Remade to increase its recycling rate and to build sustainability into their procurement procedures.
The green code was launched by the mayor in 2001 to ensure that companies based in the capital had help in identifying best practice for the recycling of waste and buying products made from recycled materials.
Since then, it has gained international recognition and audited a 33 million pounds spend on recycled products by its signatories. British Waterways joins all of the London boroughs plus organisations from the private sector including high-street names in retail, construction, banking, the information technology/telecoms industry and the community sector as signatories of the code.
London Remade is an innovative recycling programme aimed at increasing markets for recycled products and driving the development of an entrepreneurial recycling supply chain. It is a unique partnership between the business, community, public and not-for-profit sectors,
London Remade uses recycling as a vehicle to drive economic and social regeneration and is principally funded by the LDA to deliver green procurement and business-support programmes. London Remade is sponsored by Office Depot, Bywaters Recycling and Waste Management, Valpak, M-Real and Brother.
Mayor Ken Livingstone said: “The Green Procurement Code has begun to change the way many companies think about the environment. London Remade has worked really hard so that the 400 signatories are now looking at sustainability as the way forward. Reaching the 400 mark is a real achievement and the basic message is if you are not buying recycled goods you are not recycling.”
As well as buying more recycled products, British Waterways is looking at ways to recycle more of the waste it removes from its waterways. For example, it is researching the potential to turn duckweed collected from the River Lee into compost. It is also working with Transport for London and other partners on plans to transport recyclable materials by barge, in a bid to reduce traffic congestion and pollution on London’s roads.
British Waterways cares for and manages 160 kilometres (100 miles) of canals and rivers and 44 hectares (110 acres) of docks in London. As a not-for-dividend public corporation it works with a broad range of public, private and voluntary sector partners to unlock the potential of the inland waterways for the benefit of the millions who visit and care for them.
Mike Lewis, British Waterways London’s procurement manager, said: “By signing up to the code, we want to play our part in developing the market for recycled products, saving money and the environment at the same time. We aim to become increasingly sustainable with the ultimate goal of buying - where possible - recycled products from companies who have taken in our waste materials.”
By Ray Cooling, London Press Service
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