The pledge

At the HRH Prince Charles’ May Day Summit on Climate Change, the Mayor of London announced that the London Development Agency (LDA) would provide £3m to develop 10 flagship Low Carbon Zones (LCZ). Six new LCZ will join the existing four pilot projects in Elephant and Castle, Mitcham, Wembley and Barking, with each zone expected to receive £200,000 from the LDA as well as funding from third party investors.

Low Carbon Zones

Currently, more than three quarters of London's carbon emissions are produced by homes and commercial buildings. The Mayor has committed to reducing London's carbon emissions by 20.12% in 2012. The overall goal is to reduce carbon emissions by 60% in 2025. If these targets are met, they will demonstrate what must be done to reduce emissions by 80% in 2050. The 10 flagship LCZ will showcase how this can be achieved using the latest energy efficiency technologies.

In order for effective implementation of the LCZ initiative, the local authority will work together with the community, local businesses and major energy providers. Funding of these projects will need to provide innovative ways to bring together the latest energy efficiency technologies to cut carbon emissions. Homes and commercial buildings in the chosen zones will benefit from a range of carbon preventative measures such as:

  • home insulation;
  • smart meters to help people regulate their energy use;
  • decentralised energy plants to produce heat and electricity locally;
  • renewable energy sources such as solar panels; and
  • facilities to use waste as a clean fuel source.

The zones will be spread out across central and outer London and will include a range of buildings, tenures and businesses. Each LCZ could be as small as a street or could even be an area of over 1000 buildings. The idea behind spreading out zones of varying sizes is so that they will catalyse an uptake around the rest of London for the LCZ initiative.

GLA'S support

The GLA are asking Boroughs who want to set up a LCZ to build a Consortium. The Consortium should bring together energy suppliers, members of the Local Strategic Partnership and local delivery and community partners. Together, they will bring about carbon saving measures to the public, local businesses and public sector buildings.

A realistic goal?

Energy suppliers such as EDF and British Gas as well as the Energy Saving Trust have welcomed and indicated their support for the injection of funding into the LCZ initiative by the Mayor. Peter Hofman, EDF Energy Director for Sustainable Future Responsibility, commented that:

'Everyone has a part to play in tackling climate change. That is why we welcome the announcement by the Mayor of London of the creation of Low Carbon Zones across the city …. We are extremely supportive of schemes which help to encourage people to consider and reduce the environmental impact they may have.’

Not only are the LCZ intended to reduce carbon emissions, they are also intended to stimulate employment by creating an estimated 15,000 jobs for the initiative and to reduce energy bills.

However, some commentators have indicated that the proposed funding will fall far short of what is required to make the zones truly carbon friendly. The Green Party's Darren Johnson welcomed the proposals, but warned that they were seriously underfunded. He commented:

"Given that it takes an estimated £11,000 for a home to achieve the 80 per cent cut in emissions needed, it is very disappointing that the mayor is only offering £3m…Unless much more is invested, only about 280 London homes will be made truly carbon friendly."

In order to solve the potential funding problem, the Mayor has agreed to encourage the private sector to become involved in the initiative and will continue to lobby for their financial support in the run up to applications deadline on 31st July 2009.

Timetable

The guidance from the GLA provides a timetable for application and implementation of the LCZ's:

Click here for table