Proposed Upgradation of London

by Jason Shaw


With the recent unprecedented increase in population within major cities across the globe, there is a need for the upgrade of the existing physical, economic as well as the socio-political infrastructure. London is one of the major cities that have experienced concerted efforts that are solely geared towards upgrading status to reflect its position as a leading global destination. Among the major policies that have been developed to oversee this upgrade include the Greater London Authority Act that was first established in the year 2000 and later re-introduced again in 2007 with added functionalities in areas such as housing, planning, climate change, waste, health and culture. The leading areas of focus include:

  • Economic development and wealth creation.
  • Social development.
  • Environmental development.

Executive Summary

Generally, the main concern that necessitates the upgrade of modern cities is the need to accommodate the ever-growing population especially around the bigger cities. One of the causes for this increase is the rapid rural-urban migration. The main cause for this migration is the pursuit for job opportunities and better housing facilities among others. There is a need to upgrade the existing social amenities to match this rate of migration in order to avert the major social problems that are associated with any unprecedented rise in population. London has been on the fore front in ensuring that the general infrastructure of the city is developed to ensure that the city retains its global position despite the sudden rise in urban dwellers. The other reason for the upgrade is to address recent global areas of concerns associated with the urban areas, top among them being the global warming menace. Most authorities have realized that the current global race towards industrialization has led to an upsurge in environmental degradation in levels never seen in the recent past.

Keywords: urbanization, global warming, infrastructure, energy, renewable energy, sustainability, waste management.

Proposed Upgradation of London


There has been a high motivation to improve on the development of London over the recent years. The Greater London Authority (GLA) is an authority whose role is to seek development in a brighter future for London. GLA is made up of members such as the Mayor, London Assembly, and staff. Other functionalities existing include London Development Agency, Metropolitan Police Authority, Transport and London Fire and Emergency authority.
Therefore, the report seeks to expound on environmental improvement in London

Powers and Responsibilities of the GLA and the Mayor

The Mayor of London is a very important figure as he sets the strategy used to focus on development, procedures to be used as well as the policies to be followed to realise the vision of making London the biggest and best city or choice of destination in the world. This involves the areas described above such as economic development and wealth creation, social development and finally environmental development.

The work of strategizing the London vision is a responsibility of London’s Mayor. The mayor comes up with the best strategies that will be used to implement and fulfil the vision for the future. The Mayor of London also seeks to establish working relationships with key parties such as organisations. This will see to it that essential lines that will enable London to move easily to the strategized vision for its future can be drawn.

According to the Mayor of London, Johnson Boris insists that he wants to bring about the changes that most Londoners have always aspired. Some of these changes include remodelling the general outlook of London so that it reflects a cleaner city with safer streets. There is also a need to introduce modern transport system as well a state-of-the art housing facilities. This will play a crucial part in attracting local, as well as foreign visitors to this great city.

The Mayor of London also works with the boroughs on matters such as funding improvements in public places, the transport system, sewerage and litter and finally crimes in London. The goal behind this is to make London better for the Londoners themselves and also for non residents. There exists 33 London boroughs where each in run by a local council who are in charge for the borough and, in addition to that they also, convey public services. For example, housing, refuse collection and schools.

Bigger Picture of How London Should Look Like

Some of the Mayor’s powers include: The power to argue for the raise of development funding. With regard to issues related to environmental waste, the Mayor has the power to plan efficiently over waste facilities where existing waste authorities will be in-charge of implementing the Mayor’s Municipal Waste Management Strategy.

The Mayor also has the power to determine what waste applications are important and ultimately the Mayor will lead the London Waste and Recycling Forum.

Analysis of policies introduced by the Office of the Mayor of London that are concerned with environmental issues. These were introduced by the Office of the Mayor within the last five years. They include the review of environmental literature that relates to environmental literature such as the following:

  1. An analysis of the policies in both academic and media sources
  2. In-depth analysis of the information provided by the different sources of literature used

London has often been ranked among the greener cities in the world. As a result, it has tourist attractions such as animal parks, wildlife and beautiful natural landscapes. Reduced pollution levels and their methods of dealing with climate change are outstanding.
Some of the environmental issues and the first strategy catered for mostly are climate change where according to the Core GLA Environment Policy on climate change,

Human activities have the ability to upsurge the emissions of greenhouse gases. These gases contribute greatly to the rise in global warming. The GLA policy aims at curbing the emission of these gases by exploring different ways of acquiring green energy for consumption within the GLA property portfolio. It also discourages the use of other gaseous and non-gaseous pollutants. Instead, it greatly advocates for the use of environmentally friendly substitutes, which have very little potential to accelerate the rate of global warming. There is also the campaign on cutting the emissions of carbon-related gases from motorcycles and large industrial plants (Core GLA Environment Policy, 2004).

Second policy contain three factors: identification of the most vulnerable groups within the city, research on the effects of climate change, flood etc and plan on how to manage these challenges.
The third policy is the Waste Recycling policy expected to reduce the pile-up of wastes around the city. The cutback on waste shall be implemented in two ways: first through the Municipal Waste Management Strategy and lastly, through the adaptation of a more viable Business Waste Strategy, (Greater London Authority, 2010).

The 2011 London Plan includes measures to guarantee that the city’s waste reduction targets are met within a certain timeframe. The objectives involved are the management of waste in London and sponsorship of actions to manage waste in the city.

Fourth is the policy of conforming to the Euro 3 standard with regard to Low Emission Zone (LEZ). This will occur from 2012. In the London Plan of 2011; The Mayor indicated his willingness in tackling air pollution problems. This aims to improve the quality of air surrounding London as well as safeguarding the health welfare of its inhabitants. This will be accomplished by streamlining the existent climate, design and transport policies in line with the Air Quality and Transport policies. This initiative will greatly lower emission of environmental pollutants and minimize the exposure of people to hazardous emissions.

 An evaluation of the gap between policy development and its enactment. This is in relation to documented information concerning the changes achieved through the Mayor’s intervention.

Lots of policies have been developed in London, considering the Environment, some of the policies include reduction of air pollution through conforming to the Euro 3 standard with respect to Low Emission Zone (LEZ), water sustainability, Waste recycle plans, climate policies and changes. Although these policies are going to bring tremendous benefits in London and also realize the urban greening vision, there is so much to be attained, and that is why there is a reasonable gap between the development of policy and its implementation initiatives.

Climate change is a global challenge that requires intervention from a multi-faceted level. The impacts of this global problem have been felt from all corners of the world. Its main major cause is the accumulation of greenhouse gases that cushion the radiation of heat waves back into space. This leads to a steady rise in global temperatures that pose a high threat to the existence of flora and fauna. There are worries that a tipping point may soon be reached, and the earth’s natural cooling systems may be overcome by this phenomenon. The result will be rapid climatic changes with devastating effects (London Plan, 2011). It is worth noting that London is already the effects of this global challenge. The main cause for concern is because London is among the countries that face an imminent threat of enormous flooding, in the near future if rapid measures are not taken to address global warming. Indeed, the effects of climate change could seriously alter the quality of life, especially the health and social well being of London’s inhabitants and visitors (London Plan, 2011).

In order to curb the threat of global warming, immense resources need to be marshalled. For example, the proposed policy projects for achieving 60 per cent reduction of carbon emissions require more than 60 billion pounds. However, The Greater London Authority remains optimistic that the national government will offer the much-needed financial support in order to expedite the implementation of the proposed projects (Greater London Authority, 2009). Although some policies have been implemented, clearly lack of adequate enough resources project that there implementation of the proposed policies will be a hard task. Public awareness about the environment is another key issue. As a result, campaigns to educate people about the environment should be carried out. The importance to it lies on the fact that people will be aware of environmental policies in place, and also the public can be taught on environmental responsibility. This can be better described by urban greening.

According to the London Plan, 2011, The Mayor is required to advocate any urban greening initiative, including the planting of trees around the public places. The Mayor will thus be required to increase the amount of land under vegetation within the Central Activities Zone by not less than five per cent within the next two decades. This should be followed by a further five per cent increase by the year 2050. Involvement of the public will help achieve this by 2030. This can be achieved in a better way by 2050. Although activity is underway to make this possible, acquiring and investing cash is what is left to implement these great ideas.

Efficient waste water channels are important to sustainable life, thus huge investments are required. A clear cut planning strategy will ensure this project comes to pass.
Lastly, it is evident that London and Londoners have had remarkable changes over the past few years; however changes in all sectors of the environment are yet to be realised. Policies such as water efficiency in London are yet to be fully realised, but they may have a negative impact of bills increase.

Opinions are prone to exist, with respect to the implementation of environmental policies in London; some people believe that other policies should be made a priority than others. Some students compliment that job creation is more important that environmental issues. This can be attributed to the results endured in the economic global crisis.

For example, (Andrew, Duncan, Jessica, James, 2008), point out that city development needs to be aligned to environmental preservation as environmental policies need to be prioritized because if not, issues such as air pollution can lead to severe health problems.

A Summary of the feasibility of GLA policies and Mayor Of London’s initiatives in addressing environmental concerns.

It is important to appreciate the fact that all major projects that seek to address complex issues usually encounter a myriad of setbacks. The London Plan of 22 July 2011 is not exempted from this hard reality. The GLA and The Mayor of London have encountered numerous setbacks trying to implement the environmental plans to London. However they have accomplished some of the crucial policies that needed to be addressed.

The policy of conforming to the Euro 3 standard with regard to Low Emission Zone (LEZ) is one that has already taken into action. London Sustainable Development Commission has also implemented the “global point of reference for sustainable cities by 2020”.


In conclusion, the table below summarises the major policies highlighted in London Plan of 2011, and the expected impact of their implementation to the city and the country at large;


No Key Performance Indicator Target Relevant Plan Objectives*
1 Open up more for development, both commercial and residential. Increase the volume of residential and commercial property to at least 96 per cent. 1, 5, 6
2 Increase the availability of new homes for occupation by the increasing population. This should result to the establishment of at least 32,210 new household units per annum. 1
3 Lowering inequalities in the health sector. This will result in streamlining the general life expectancy between people living in developed areas and those in the developing areas of the city. 2
4 Establish enhanced income-generating activities. Increase the proportion of the working class in London. 2
5 Accelerate the developmental capacity within the established office market. The rate of issuing permits for stock outlets to be increased three-fold over the next three years. 1
6 Increase the amount of employment land available within the city. This should correspond to the release of approximately 1000sq.miles of land for the said purpose. 2
7 Raise the employment opportunities for the youth, women and other vulnerable groups. This will help lower the gap between the said groups and the other advantaged groups in the job market. The net result would be to close the job divide between the traditional white population and the Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic groups. This would greatly decrease the difference between single parents seeking income assistance in London and the overall rate for London and Wales. 2
8 Improving the availability social infrastructure and other similarly related services This is geared towards lowering the average class size in public schools, and hence raises the standards of education. 1, 2, 3
9 Advocate for minimal reliance on private cars, and instead advocate for the adoption of car pooling policy and the use of public transport. This will not only help in increasing the use of public transport per head, but also help in minimizing the release of harmful carbon wastes into the environment. 4
10 Develop policies for the protection and care of the general biodiversity habitats within and around the city. This will reduce the current loss of natural biodiversity a well as ensuring the conservation of the gazette Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation 5
11 Increase the amount of waste recycled by the municipal authority, and encourages the elimination of all waste in form of landfill, by the year 2030. This is aimed at ensuring that about 45 per cent of all waste is recycled by 2015 and even greater per cent by the year 2030. 4, 5
12 Enact policies for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. This should correlate to sustainable carbon dioxide emissions savings that will progress towards zero carbon emissions within the industrial, residential and commercial set-ups by the year 2016. This is also expected to be raised towards zero carbon emissions within all developments by the year 2019. 5
13 Explore the production of energy from other renewable sources By 2026, the aim could be to produce 80 percent of electricity from sustainable sources. This strategy should be measured in the sense of a well-defined Regional Sustainable Energy Evaluation program. 5

All the above policies are geared towards achieving the following set objectives

  1. Enhance the competitive ability of the economy
  2. Improve the general environment surrounding the city and the country at large.
  3. Improve transport access and infrastructure.
  4. Attract both local and foreign tourists thus raising revenues for the city.
References List
  • Greater London Authority. Greater London Authority. [Online] Available at: <> [Accessed 12 December 2012]
  • Greater London Authority. London Boroughs. [Online] Available at:<>
  • Sergeant Mike, 2012. London mayor election: Candidates, issues and powers. [Online] Available at: <>
  • London Metropolitan University, 2007. The Mayor of London’s new powers. [Online] Available at: <>
  • Robertson Hayley, London Metropolitan University. Extension of the Mayor of London’s Powers. [Online] Available at: <> [Accessed 12 December 2012]
  • Greater London Authority. Greater London Authority. [Online] Available at: <> [Accessed 12 December 2012]
  • Robertson Hayley, London Metropolitan University. Extension of the Mayor of London’s Powers. [Online] Available at: <> [Accessed 12 December 2012]
  • Core GLA Environment policy, 2004. Core GLA Environment policy. [Online] Available at: <>
  • Greater London Authority, 2011-2012. LONDON PLAN ANNUAL MONITORING REPORT 2010-11. [Online] Available at: <…/AMR8%20March%202012_1.rtf>[Accessed 12 December 2012]
  • Greater London Authority, 2011. The London Plan July 2011 RTF. [Online] Available at: <> [Accessed 12 December 2012]
  • Greater London Authority. Urban greening. [Online] Available at: <> [Accessed 12 December 2012]
  • Guardian News and Media Limited, 2012. London mayor blog – Jenny Jones live Q&A and green politics. [Online] Available at: <> [Accessed 12 December 2012]
  • London Elects. What the Mayor of London and the London Assembly do. [Online] Available at: <> [Accessed 12 December 2012]

Related Content