Sadiq Khan and Ed Miliband launch climate action plan for London including solar panels for schools

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The ‘Net Zero Schools’ initiative aims to help schools become sources of energy generation by installing solar panels on roofs.

Labour’s mayoral incumbent Sadiq Khan has launched a new climate action plan for London.

Shadow Energy Secretary Ed Miliband joined Mr Khan at a campaign event at a school in north London to announce the plan, saying the city is at a “crucial crossroads moment” for climate action.

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The mayor’s new climate action plan includes a pilot of a new ‘Net Zero Schools’ initiative, which will aim to help schools become sources of energy generation by investing an initial £2 million for solar panels and other measures at 50 sites across the capital.

The 10-point plan also pledges to make London’s bus fleet 100% zero-emission by 2030 and provide 40,000 new public bike parking spaces and more than double the number of electric vehicle charging points to 40,000 by 2030.

Other promises include putting air pollution filters in primary schools, helping schools reach net zero, expanding the School Streets initiative and creating new green jobs.

Ed Miliband and Sadiq Khan examine solar panels on a roof of a school in Stoke NewingtonEd Miliband and Sadiq Khan examine solar panels on a roof of a school in Stoke Newington
Ed Miliband and Sadiq Khan examine solar panels on a roof of a school in Stoke Newington

Speaking at the event Mr Khan branded his Conservative opponent Susan Hall as a “proud anti-green candidate” who takes a “Trumpian approach to the climate crisis”.

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“This election is a close two-horse race between me and the Tory candidate. When it comes to the green agenda, the choice couldn’t be starker.  There is so much at risk - clean air and London’s commitment to reaching net zero are on the ballot paper on May 2,” said Mr Khan.

 “London is at a crucial crossroads moment. One path leads to clean air and our city continues to be at the forefront of the fight to save our planet, while the other is a path that takes our city backwards, with toxic air polluting children’s lungs and the consequences of having a climate science denier leading our city.  Only voting Labour in London will keep green politics alive.

“This is no joke. Susan Hall is a proud anti-green candidate who takes a Trumpian approach to the climate crisis.

“She has opposed all the green policies we’ve introduced since 2016, backed the reintroduction of fracking and promoted climate science denial online.”

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A spokesperson for Ms Hall said: "Susan believes in a fair and practical transition to net zero, while Sadiq Khan believes in hitting motorists in the pocket with ULEZ and pay-per-mile taxes. Susan will scrap Sadiq Khan's ULEZ expansion and pay-per-mile plans on her first day as Mayor."

Mr Miliband said: “Who runs our capital city is a defining question of whether we can win the fight against the accelerating climate emergency or not. It’s a close two-horse race and it’s a choice between Sadiq, who has been a true climate leader as mayor and will deliver a greener, healthier, brighter future for London, or a retrograde step with the Tory candidate. 

 “I support Sadiq’s new 10-point climate action plan for London and his great Net Zero Schools initiative. This is the kind of project that we can help turbocharge with a Labour government as we have made clean power central to one of Labour’s five national missions.”

Green Party mayoral candidate Zoë Garbett said Mr Khan "talks big on climate issues, but you only have to take a look at what he has actually achieved to see there is very little in the way of action", citing the Silvertown Tunnel as "catastrophic not only for the environment but also air pollution in east London".

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"Add that to his refusal to condemn the drastic rise in private jet use in and out of London, his sponsorship deal with United Airlines and his failure to help Londoners to get solar on their homes and there are eight years of broken promises on climate action.

"Only a Green mayor will take the level of action needed to reduce emissions, prepare our city and protect our workers from the increasing impacts we are seeing as a result of climate breakdown."

Liberal Democrat candidate Rob Blackie said: "Climate change is incredibly important for London.

"But if you look at Sadiq's record, he said he would cut carbon emissions dramatically and actually he's going to miss his main target by eight years unless he changes things dramatically.

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"Looking at what he's proposed today it's pretty small stuff, and very unlikely to make a big difference."

The London mayoral election is on May 2, along with the election of London Assembly members. Voters are reminded they need photo ID following the introduction of new legislation.

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