On 6th May most Londoners will be eligible to cast their votes for the next Mayor of London. Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has served five years, as the election was postponed from last year, is seeking re-election to represent the Labour Party. We will also be able to vote for 25 London Assembly members (for 14 geographical constituencies, and 11 pan-London roles).
The election this year has an unprecedented number of candidates; 20 for the Mayor and from 18 different parties for the London Assembly. Every household will be sent a booklet setting out the detail of the ballot process (e.g. two votes for the Mayor, two for Assembly members), and all the candidates/parties, with briefs of their manifestos.
The environment is one of the areas for which the Mayor of London has some leverage, through planning policy & guidance, funding, advocacy and leadership. Embedding the Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation into the London Plan, implementing the Congestion and Ultra Low Emission Zones, and the commitments to increasing urban greening and tree canopy cover are examples from current and previous Mayoral terms.
London Wildlife Trust has always had a presence in key elections, and for this election our manifesto asks included
- developing a Nature Recovery Network plan for London;
- funding programmes to enhance and create green spaces for key habitats and species;
- funding an updated ‘state of London’s gardens’ study (last completed in 2009);
- establish a biodiversity planning advisory resource to assist London local authorities in making the appropriate decisions in respect of biodiversity impacts;
- implement measures to create a pesticide-free London by 2030;
However, as we haven’t had the capacity to really drive this forward by ourselves, The Trust has joined with a coalition of environmental partners to publish a manifesto of ‘asks’ we’d like to see the next Mayor implement; A More Natural Capital was published last month and has been circulated to all Mayoral and Assembly Member candidates. This was co-ordinated by CPRE London and is being promoted via Wildlife & Countryside Link, with an environmental debate being held on the evening of 21st April to ask some of the candidates key questions on their environmental pledges.
To be clear London Wildlife Trust does not – and cannot – advocate for any candidate or political party. It is your vote to use as you wish, but if you want to know what the collective wishes for London’s environment are in order to determine whom to vote for, take a look at A More Natural Capital and compare this to the candidates’ manifestos.