Two stories today hint at Ken Livingstone's overall strategy for tacking emissions. Firstly, TfL announces that today is that last day that businesses using heavy goods vehicles can realistically expect to get the necessary filters put in place so that they are not charged when the scheme comes into force on the 4th Feb 2008.
Secondly, a report carried by the FT details Livingstone's approach in the business world, allowing companies to buy into an independent carbon auditing programme:
The "Green 500" aims to persuade 500 of the capital's biggest businesses to sign up to independent carbon audits and develop a programme to slash emissions in line with a target of 60 per cent reductions by 2025.
Whilst LondonUnlocked applauds any attempts to cut emissions, we believe that this approach is short sighted. More and more vehicles are driving in London, despite the congestion charge and the Conservatives on the GLA have even gone so far to say that vehicle usage is at pre-Congestion Charge levels again. Indeed, even the Mayor's much trumpeted increase in bus usage has been cast in doubt once emissions are considered.
The Mayor, and his opposition in the race, need to consider a greater use of containerisation - getting large vehicles off our streets for good. Money raised from carbon emissions schemes should be pumped into research and development for transport schemes which actually lessen the number of people driving through choice, rather than pricing them off the roads and making their lives more difficult.
London is great because of its vibrancy and the choice which comes with that. In moving to a low emission transport agenda there definitely needs to be more carrot and less stick.