London Assembly slams Boris' green budget "failure"

The London Assembly yesterday passed a motion criticising Boris Johnson’s spending plans for 2012/13, accusing the mayor of failing to invest sufficiently in addressing the capital’s environmental problems.

The motion, which was passed by 13 votes to 11, claims the draft budget fails to address many of London’s key priorities, including policing, affordable public transport, jobs, housing and environmental problems.

Green assembly member Darren Johnson, who seconded the motion put forward by Labour assembly member John Biggs, said the budget needed to be revised to increase investment in green projects.

“The mayor’s budget delivers unaffordable fares, environmental inaction and puts public safety at risk,” he said in a statement. “We want to see his budget focus on the real priorities of Londoners, clean air, safer neighbourhoods and reasonably priced transport.”

Specifically, the motion calls for the mayor to revise the budget to provide “a higher level of continuous sustained investment for measures to address London’s environmental challenges, including air pollution and energy efficiency, and be clear about where funding is coming from to meet the mayor’s stated targets”.

Johnson has faced consistent criticism from green businesses and campaigners over his environmental record, with attacks particularly focusing on the continued failure to bring the capital into line with EU air quality standards, cuts to a number of environmental programmes, and the decision not to extend the city’s congestion charging scheme.

Johnson has insisted that environmental improvements remain a top priority, announcing a series of measures designed to improve air quality, roll out more efficient buses, and support electric and hydrogen powered cars.

The final budget will be put before the assembly on February 9 when it can table amendments that will require a two-thirds majority to be adopted.

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