Key Influences on Londons Energy Policy

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There are several factors influencing both the content and form of London's Energy Strategy and the mayor's energy policy decision-making. First and foremost is the tremendous influence of Parliament and central government. Since 1855 Parliament has abolished and then reformulated regional government in London four times. Travers attributes this to ongoing struggles over who should control the destiny of the UK's capital city (Travers 2004) . During the crafting of the GLA Act 1999, he noted Whitehall bureaucrats deliberately authored the legislation in a way so their own powers were not diminished. The implications for the GLA's renewable energy policymaking have been profound.

Some of the most significant impacts relate to the division of authority between regional government and the 33 boroughs that make up Greater London. Although the mayor retains planning control powers over the 250-300 largest development schemes proposed in London each year ( Government Office for London 2004), 5 the boroughs are responsible for many more, totalling tens of thousands of planning decisions each year. Thus, their decisions can support, ignore, or contradict the mayor' s energy goals. The work of London Renewables was a direct consequence of the mayor's relatively weak position on local authority planning decisions. First, the stakeholder survey ( Brook Lyndhurst 2003) was intended to defuse potential opposition by local authority officials claiming Londoners do not care about renewable energy.6,7 Second, the guidance for local authority planners is particularly detailed, educating them about all aspects of renewable energy, energy

5 The Town and Country Planning (Mayor of London) Order 2000 states that the Mayor of London has significant powers in relation to individual planning applications of strategic importance to London. Boroughs receiving planning applications meeting these detailed criteria must notify the mayor, who has the option of deciding whether to comment on and support these applications, or, if he deems it necessary, direct the borough to refuse planning permission. The mayor cannot direct boroughs to approve applications otherwise opposed by the borough.

6 Personal communication with GLA Energy Team (21 July 2003).

7 The Brook Lyndhurst study found that Londoners are big supporters of green power with 81% believing renewable energy is a good idea, a figure in line with previous national surveys.

conservation, and green building design so they can both understand the need for effective energy planning and assess how well new planning applications address such matters. The mayor's on-site renewables requirement for projects subject to his approval is reviewed in detail in the guidance.

Another key area where central government exerts significant control over the GLA is in the budget arena. The budget controlled by the GLA is quite large, principally because the GLA budget includes the huge budget of Transport for London, the local mass transit agency. In general, however, the GLA's fiscal powers are quite limited. The mayor can raise funds only through a precept charged to local authorities, through miscellaneous service charges, and through direct grants from the government. The GLA does not have the powers to directly levy income, property, or sales taxes on London residents or businesses (Loveland 1999). Even the size of the precept charges can be constrained, if central government sees them as excessive (HMSO 1999). The bottom line is the GLA has little of its own funding available to spend on renewable energy projects. The mayor could allocate funds to such projects directly out of the general GLA budget, but these funds would displace funding for other GLA activities and services and be subject to scrutiny by the London Assembly, where its value would be compared to other expenditures. As a result, the mayor rarely imposes energy requirements on the GLA functional bodies, more often than not using exhortatory language (e.g. the mayor encourages the GLA functional bodies . . ., the mayor requests . . ., etc.) rather than outright mandates.

The new Climate Change Agency presents the mayor with one vehicle for circumventing this funding problem, through its capacity to provide direct energy services delivery. As previously noted, the Thamesway model on which the LCCA is based recycles financial savings attributable to past energy system investments into new projects. The level of renewable power system investment pursued by a GLA-affiliated ESCO could be huge, given the large number of buildings owned by the GLA, the various functional bodies, and the 33 local authorities around London. Because Thamesway was so effective at deploying renewable energy systems in Woking, Allan Jones may similarly prioritize the deployment of renewable power systems in London.

Political influences on the new Energy Strategy have come from several different sources. In the run-up to the first GLA election in 2001, several green groups attempted to develop an environmental agenda for the city. In this election manifesto, the Sustainable GLA Coalition explored how an environmental approach to economic development could bring jobs and wealth creation opportunities to London (Sustainable GLA Coalition 2001). The report examined urban regeneration, transport, energy, waste, eco-technologies, and biodiversity, advocating specific policies and programs the Coalition believed could improve the quality of life in London, create jobs, lower the cost of doing business, and address social exclusion. Less than a year later, energy-related business creation was identified as a core theme of the mayor' s Energy Strategy, and a key focus of the various public/private partnerships the mayor has established to deliver his strategy. Mayoral staff hedge when asked to ascribe credit for the mayor's focus on energy job creation, noting his strong personal commitment to these issues (Sawer and Bar-Hillel 2004) .8 More evidence of the mayor's personal commitment is his decision to partner with former US President Clinton' s charitable foundation to establish the Large Cities Climate Leadership Group. This group will provide information and technical support to advance climate change

8 Personal communication with John Duffy, Director of Environment, Greater London Authority (19 May 2004).

mitigation and adaptation initiatives in large cities around the world (Eilperin 2006); London was instrumental in getting this project off the ground.

Several commentators have made note of the growing influence on the business community on policymaking in London (Travers 2004; Thornley et al. 2002). Among local groups, London First has the strongest record of action on local energy policy matters, publishing a report on the mayor's congestion charge plan (London First 2002); a footprint study examining London ( s global environmental impact (London Remade/London First 2003); and providing feedback on all of the mayor's strategies. London First also partnered with London Renewables to launch the release of new guidance documents for developers, consultants, local authority planners, and councillors (London First 2004).

Evidence of London First's influence on the development of the Energy Strategy can be found by examining how the mayors mandate regarding on-site renewables generation changed between the early and final drafts. By the time Green Light to Clean Power was released, the mandate had been softened by the addition of the modifier 'where feasible', reflecting London Firsts contention ( . . .that the generation of at least 10% energy needs is not viable in all cases in the short term. Renewable Energy does not as yet provide an entirely reliable constant energy supply, nor is it always feasibly installed in all locations of this size'(London First 2003). GLA Energy Team members confirm this change was largely due to business community arguments that these requirements could put London at an economic disadvantage compared to other UK and European cities.

Thus far, London First' s concerns appear somewhat overblown. Despite ' grumbling from developers when they first submit their applications', development of large projects

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