With the successful completion of the London 2012 Olympic games, London not only became a Legacy for future generations to see but it also set a benchmark for all the coming events in the future. The extraordinary arrangements from the Mayor’s office , the transport system by the TFL and the brilliant planning of the GLA for proper functioning in the event of an emergency has certainly made Londoners proud. People from across the globe witnessed the events live on Television and the credit of the setup and organisation goes to the GLA, London mayor and all other small and large firms and employee’s without whom this event wouldn’t have been possible.
This piece of literary work reflects on the functioning of the GLA and the London Mayor along with their powers and responsibilities. It reflects the critical points of environmental policies including substantial and theoretical findings. The aim of the report is to provide an overview and act as a stepping stone. The strategies and policies mentioned in the report will help readers gather a solid background and will lay a foundation for them to act upon it. This report is aimed at meeting some specific needs of readers. The report contains analysis and research which will help readers understand about the implementation of policies. It shows in brief, the difference between policy strategies and initiative. It’s concluded with few points which the author thinks are logical and evidence based.
GREATER LONDON AUTHORITY
Greater London authority or GLA as they say is a unique organisation, with a strategic citywide role. It is a strategic authority that works towards designing a better future of the nation’s capital. The GLA was formed from the GLA act in 1999 thorough the parliament and came to effect on July 3rd 2000.
It is a authority that presides over the following matters :
* Transport for London.
* Emergency planning.
* Promote standard of living and improve economic health.
FORMATION OF THE GLA
For greater London from 1965-1986, the highest ranked administrative body was the Greater London Council or the GLC. With the annihilation of GLC in 1986 its strategic functions were handed over to the bodies controlled by the central government. London had no elected body for 14 years. Labour party was against the abolishment of the GLC . They adopted a policy of single mayor. The mayor was directly elected together with an elected assembly which fostered the mayor. The policy was adopted so as to not resemble the policies of GLC. Finally on may 1998, a general vote was held towards the formation of GLA. The act was passed and the law called the royal assent was made in October 1999. Wikipedia..Greater London authority [Online]
A smart chart (1) below depicts the sequential process of formation of the GLA.
Chart 1 –
The mayor of London, Currently Mr Boris Johnson is a statesman who along with 25 member of London assembly is responsible for GLA,
The GLA consists of a part called London assembly which is responsible for analysing the work of mayor of London. It consists of 25 assembly member and has the right to change annual budget of the mayor and reject his draft statutory strategies .
The mayor of London has an important role to play in successful running of London. His role includes development of strategies and policies to deliver the vision. He helps provide funding and encourages people to follow the vision and turn it into a reality. Wikipedia..Greater London authority [Online]
HOW IS THE LONDON MAYOR ELECTED
The mayor of London is elected by Supplementary Voting System. It introduces the concept of preferential voting.The voter will have 2 choices to cast their votes. If a candidate wins more than 50% of the first choices, He/ she is elected as the mayor of London, but if the candidates don’t get more than half the votes, all but the top two candidates are eliminated. Second preference votes for the two remaining candidates on ballot papers of the eliminated candidates are then counted. The candidate with the most first choice and second choice votes is elected mayor.
POWERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE GLA AND THE MAYOR
The mayor, being the leader of the city of London has various roles to play. The mayor is the key person for the promotion of economic development and wealth creation , Improvement of environment and social development. The mayor takes sustained and concrete actions to promote the cost of living index, standard of Living and economic health of London. The mayor Looks after the Travel and tourism of London which also includes responsibility of Trafalgar and parliament square.
Mayor has a range of specific powers and responsibilities . The mayor is responsible for promote economic, social and environmental development. The mayor consults the London habitants before using his powers and has to promote equality of opportunity unhampered by artificial barriers or prejudices.
The mayor composes plans and policies for London. The mayor is responsible for planning and housing (spatial development strategy) ,funding services and setting budgets. The mayor also elects the deputy mayor of London. The mayor sets out policies and plans for London which includes the following * Economic development and wealth generation
* Planning and development
* London Transport
* Housing strategies
* Cultural and diversities
* Environmental issues – climate changes, ambient noise , waster disposal, air quality and biodiversity.
* Energy Policy.
The spatial development strategy of the Mayor provides a vision and strategic guidance on planning matters. It sets out policies for land use and new
buildings. The mayor is responsible for annual housing budget and London’s housing strategy.
The mayor prepares annual budget for
* Greater London Authority, * The metropolitan police – under the oversight of London metropolitan police * Transport for London – London buses, London Underground, light rail services , London’s roads river services , regulates London’s private taxi services and hire services * London development agency – works with enterprises to keep capital’s role as business hub and provides equal opportunities. * London Fire brigade
The mayor is also responsible for appointing the deputy mayor and boards of directors of the London development agency, the London fire and Emergency Planning authority and TFL. The cultural strategy group of London is commissioned by the mayor to develop cultural strategies which covers sports , architectural heritage. The mayor is the co- sponsor of the museum of London and appoints half of museum’s board.
A data from a statistic from 2006 shows the London generates carbon emissions of more than 42 million tonnes which is 7% of UK’s total carbon emission. The energy policy by the Mayor plans to cut the emissions by 60% by 2060. The London Climate Change agency, the London energy partnership and founding of international large cities climate leadership group are the creation of this policies and measure are already being taken to reduce the emissions.
The responsibilities of GLA is carried out by the functional bodies described above. The GLA doesn’t carry out any work itself .The figure depicts a GLA umbrella and its functional bodies.
ENVIRONMENATL POLICIES INTRODUCED BY MAYOR – LAST 5 YEARS
From the brief review provided above, reader’s can now say that The Mayor and
GLA collectively work for the betterment of the London. GLA plays indirect role through the mayor.
The city Mayor has introduced several strategies and policies towards the progress of Nation’s Capital. GLA and the Mayor have successfully managed to plan their vision and have successfully launched new policies. These policies are not only related to economic and wealth, but they are environmental policies.
An environmental policy can be defined as the policy that manages human activities keeping environment in consideration. Any action that is being taken to reduce the harmful effects on natural resources or nature itself falls under environmental policy. It consists of two dimensions – ecological and social.
During the course of last five years a significant change has been observed in the policies of Mayor towards the environment. The introduction of energy policy to reduce the carbon emission by 60% by 2025 , introduction of London energy partnership and the London climate changes are the significant among many others. The vision of making London the greenest city on the Globe has certainly started to show its result. The mayor believes in taking bold measures to realise the vision of Greener London.
The following is the list of Environmental strategies of the Mayor
* Air quality– Clearing London’s air.
* Water– Clean water for London’s future.
* Climate change mitigation and energy – Reducing the amount of CO2 produced by London.
* Climate change adaption – Approach to manage climatic risks.
* Waste – Recycling and Reusing London’s waste.
Every year , a lump of nations budget goes to policies and strategies planned in the parliament for respective branches. The city Mayor has invested millions of pounds for measures against reducing the air pollution which includes investment to boost recycling , introduction of bike hire (Barclays), encouraging electric vehicle and launching a brand new programme for their uptake, and converting the London buses to hybrid. London’s transport system is subjected to certain plans which is going to make London greener and cleaner.
The proposals includes the cleaning up of bus fleet so that buses meet Euro 4 emission standards, Introduction of age limits to remove older vehicles , introduction of larger vans and buses in low emission zone (LEZ) , introduction of dust suppressants being one of their kind.
The water policy published by the Mayor in October 2011, being first of it type provides almost accurate picture of London’s water needs. The investment towards sewerage and water management systems to provide clean water to Londoners, The measure to save water (introduction of small toilet flush in households) reducing the bills by £90 every year, helping in reduction of greenhouse gases emissions and sharing interests with boroughs to develop opportunities to manage flood risk by enhancing the London’s Green parks are some of the highlights.
With the burning of every fossil fuel, carbon dioxide is released in the atmosphere. In an ideal carbon cycle, the carbon dioxide is re-absorbed by plans and tress but the excess usage of fossil fuels makes the CO2 trapped under the earth surface. The emission of carbon from various sources provides a gloomy picture.
The strategies published by the Mayor has been targeted towards reducing the emission of CO2 by 60% by 2025. The retrofitting programmes introduced by the Mayor namely RE: NEW , RE: FIT and RE: CONNECT are directed in this particular directions. Helping the Londoner’s cut down on their energy bills by introduction of modern technologies such as solar panels, improving the efficiencies of the commercial sectors plants , and the introduction of ten Low Emission Zones are all directed to cut down the carbon emissions.
Introduction of the Mayor’s municipal and business waste strategies which is directed in making London recycle more than ever before. The campaigns led in local areas is directed at increasing awareness of people towards recycling, setting up a standard called emission performance standard knows as the EPS are some of the highlights. The strategy is directed towards managing of waste more efficiently and effectively
The management of climatic risks is essential. With the changing climate everyday we are always expected to have surprises. London, being one of the biggest cities in the world , faces challenges every occasion during every season. The introduction of Mayor’s Strategic approach to manage climate works in a particular direction to ensure a better quality of life and the economy.
The future of London’s climate doesn’t provide a good image. Measures against Flooding, Drought, Overheating are essential. The Mayor believes that London should be ready to tackle the most extreme flood and drought situation. The infrastructure should be resilient enough to tackle any natural disaster.
The plans and strategies proposed by the Mayor of London has started to take effects. The vision which the Mayor Boris Johnson saw in 2008 has finally brought good humour and optimism to the office. He is bringing tangible benefits to Londoners. The best use of resources provided to the Mayor has brought significant changes in lives of Londoners. The representation below compares to the actual performance with the potential performance. In brief, It summarises the changes brought during the present tenure of Mr Boris Johnson
Transport for London :
Following on the vision of the mayor, notable changes have been observed in the TFL. It includes –
* Removal of congestion charges on west London extension
* Introduction of free travel for veterans.
* The re signalling of traffic lights – traffic lights adjusts their timings responding to traffic conditions
* Extension of oyster cards on national rail and rives buses
* Promoting the electric cars and increase in the electric car charging points.
* Huge success of the London cycle Hire
Economic ,Environmental , housing and London Development agency
* Freezing of the council tax precept
* Investment of £60 million to maintain old homes and bring back to use
* Facilitation of new commissioner for Metropolitan Police sir Paul Stephenson who is more effective with his rational directions and common sense. * Completion of 12000 affordable homes.
* Modernisation of London fire brigade
* Boosting the capital’s economy by £50 million just by promotion of tourism after a successful visit to new York
* Housing scheme that promotes ownership schemes
* Freeing up the under used land by the GLA and provision of 30,000 new homes.
A research questionnaire has been carried out among the student of GSoM concerning the implementation of environmental policies in London during the last five years. During the survey the following questions were asked
Choose on the basis of Following1=strongly agree 2=agree 3 = neutral 4=disagree 5=strongly disagree a) The introduction of new dust suppressants machines are extremely helpful for cleanliness at train station * b) The new London recycling bins provided are extremely helpful in sorting out the household wastes * c) Introduction of London Bike hire ( Barclays ) is environmental friendly and easy to use * d) Removal of congestion charges from West London extension was a good decision * e) Introduction of age limits for cars was a wise decision because it reduces carbon emission * | The sample survey carried out was too small and simple and larger study needs to be carried out. Even though this survey was carried out only in GSoM its important because it highlights the basic environmental factor that effect Local Londoners daily.|
The Mayor of London and GLA have been working together towards the betterment of London. They have been tackling issued related to environment efficiently by introducing new policies and strategies. The introduction of several measure like the separate recycling bins for recyclable products has helped common Londoners to understand their roles towards the environment. It directly helps the residents of London by reducing air and water pollution. It reduces the energy usage and prevents the use of potentially useful materials. The introduction of Bike hire helped local Londoners and tourists to commute to short distance. The very easy and cheap method to pay the for renting the bike is making it more and more demanding. With introduction of new hire points and easy cash machines near them, even an international tourist with less proficiency in English can operate it.
The investment of Mayor towards the water policy (sewerage and water management systems) has helped Londoners to have clean and adequate amount of Fresh water supply. The GLA now has accurate picture of London’s water needs and is helping indirectly helping Londoners save £90 a year.
The policies towards the reduction of emission of CO2 by 60% by 2025 is certainly looking possible seeing the current statistics . The retrofitting Programmes are helping reduce Carbon emissions and are promoting greener London.
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS USED
TFL = Transport for London
GLA = Greater London Authority
GLC = Greater London Council
LEZ = Low Emission Zone
EPS = Emissions Performance Standard
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