Ken Livingstone tried to hijack the green debate in London with a campaign to force restaurants to serve tap water instead of bottled. He will have to do better than that if he wants to win the green vote at the upcoming election for London Mayor. Off-Grid editor Nick Rosen met Lib Dem candidate, BRIAN PADDICK:
Brian Paddick is the opposite of a professional politician.
That is why it is me, and not him, who points out the news value of his call for a �green audit� of the London Mayor�s office, and the London Assembly.
The former top cop came to international prominence when he acted as Met spokesman in the aftermath of the 7/7 London bombings. The global media like the fact he was openly gay as well.
When we met, Paddick was his usual relaxed, yet slightly diffident self. I had asked to see him because a recent Green Alliance debate between the mayoral candidates had revealed him to have stronger eco policies than Labour�s Ken Livingstone or Tory Boris Johnson.
�The future has to be around combined heat and power wherever possible,� he told me as soon as he sat down with me in the LibDem Westminster HQ.
�The more people who live off-grid, the more likely we are to be able to save the planet. These are not a lunatic fringe � these are people showing is in a practical way what the future can be like.
But Paddick is hardly focusing on the off-grid vote � and whop can blame him. �City Hal is more environmentally friendly than most buildings he told me. �But there should be a green audit of all the mayors buildings to make sure they are as sustainable as possible.
His own personal contribution to energy saving has been to downsize to a one-bed flat near the office and walk to work.
LIVINGSTONE was accused of ‘playing politics with the planet’ at the first public showdown between the main mayoral candidates organised by Green Alliance.
Rivals claimed the Mayor was being eco-friendly only because he needed support from the Greens to get his budget through.
He insisted in a debate hosted by think tank Green Alliance that tackling carbon emissions would be ‘the single over-riding priority’ of his third term.
His key rivals claimed he had not done enough to meet the target of a 60 per cent cut in greenhouse gases by 2025.
Lib-Dem Brian Paddick said: ‘You’re playing politics with the planet. You’re encouraging more pollution and more congestion.’ Green candidate Sian Berry added: ‘The Mayor has put every environment policy he is able to stomach into his climate change action document and it still isn’t enough.’
But Mr Livingstone defended his record and pledged to do even more to combat climate change if re-elected.
‘The single overriding priority of a third term has to be driving down carbon emissions and taking fairly rigorous and unpopular measures if it’s unnecessary to do so,’ he said.
The Mayor said he would encourage more people to stay in the capital for the summer rather than jetting off abroad. He suggested setting up a Paris-style city beach and cleaning up the Thames.
All four front-runners in the race opposed Heathrow expansion.
Mr Livingstone and Ms Berry went further, saying they would close City Airport if such a move was within the mayor’s power.
Brian Paddick today announced he would charge tourists and out-of-town commuters �10 for driving into Greater London. The former Met police chief hopes this would encourage a switch to public transport.
KEN LIVINGSTONE, LABOUR
l�25-a-day congestion charge for Chelsea tractors and 100 per cent discount for greenest cars
l low emissions zone to keep high-polluting lorries out of town
l Paris-style bike hire scheme and cycle superhighways into inner London
l all new buses to be low-carbon hybrid vehicles by 2012
l green homes advice service offering subsidies on insulation
BORIS JOHNSON, TORIES
l work with councils to make recycling easier and back ‘freecycle’ exchange schemes
l plant more trees along London’s streets
l encourage people out of cars to walk and cycle
l consider moving London’s major airport to Thames Estuary
l act as green procurement force to strike competitive deals with companies for environmental products
BRIAN PADDICK, LIB-DEMS
lA �10 out-of-town congestion charge for tourists and commuters
l pedestrianise Oxford Street and provide free bendy bus shuttle from Marble Arch to Centre Point
l back scheme for free insulation to 10,000 homes in 25 most deprived wards
l tackle waste by making it easier to reuse and recycle
l move London’s energy supply off grid and improve energy efficiency
SIAN BERRY, GREENS
l free insulation for every home that needs it
l cut single bus and off-peak Tube fares by 20p
l free bike hire on streets of London
l planning changes and cheap loans to deliver 100,000 solar roofs by 2015
l replace City airport with a Green Industries Park and affordable eco-homes
Buy our book - OFF THE GRID - a tour of American off-grid places and people written by Nick Rosen, editor of the off-grid.net web site
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