Liberal Democrat Candidate for Mayor of London, Siobhan Benita, has criticised Sadiq Khan's record on the environment, claiming he "inflates" his green credentials and has failed to deliver on a series of promises.
The Lib Dem contender spoke out on a visit to Pollution Pavillion, a pop-up by environmental campaigners Hubbub in Covent Square. The visual art installation demonstrates what air pollution looks like with balloons and will be in the Piazza until Sunday.
Siobhan Benita has put the environment and climate change at the heart of her campaigning platform, demanding that London becomes a "world leader" on the environment as part of her call for a Safer, Greener, Kinder London. She said:
“As we build up to the election for a new Mayor of London in May, I’ll be announcing a package of measures to make London a zero carbon, low waste, no plastic city. These will include moving away from petrol and diesel cars, more pedestrian and cycling spaces, upgrading our public transport network so that it is green, clean and accessible, standardising recycling across the capital and working with businesses to eradicate waste and single-use plastics."
When asked about current Mayor Sadiq Khan's record, she recalled a series of failed promises and described his record as "disappointing". She explained:
“During his term in office he’s converted only a tiny fraction of the capital’s buses to electric – and has presided over illegal levels of air pollution in the capital. What’s more, he closed one of London’s greenest bus routes, the zero emissions, hydrogen-powered RV1 between Covent Garden and Tower Bridge.
"In order to reduce dangerous emissions at the rate we need, I would do everything I can to encourage people out of their cars. In contrast – and against the pleas of green campaigners and local residents – Sadiq Khan has given the go-ahead to a new, pollution-generating motorway under the Thames at Silvertown.
"The list of environmental failures doesn’t end there. In his 2016 campaign, Sadiq Khan promised to plant two million trees in London if he was elected as mayor. The reality, according to City Hall’s website, is far closer to a much less impressive 200,000. And when it comes to waste management, recycling rates across the capital have remained stagnant at around 30% for the past four years despite Sadiq Khan’s pledge to increase this to 65%"
She closed by pleading with the Mayor and candidates to "be honest" about what achieving a zero-carbon target will entail, including retrofitting homes, offices and other buildings so that they are energy-efficient, before demanding bold plans matched by real action.