Khan appoints Deputy Mayor to improve London’s environment

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan today announced that Shirley Rodrigues will take over the role of Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, responsible for matters including air pollution and recycling, following the departure of Matthew Pencharz in May.

Rodrigues will step down from her current role as Acting Executive Director for Climate Change at the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), where she oversees a £155 million global strategy and portfolio.

From 2005 to 2009, Rodrigues held senior environmental policy roles such as Head of Environment and Climate Change and Interim Executive Director of Development and Environment. Khan appoints Deputy Mayor to improve London’s environment

She helped implement London’s Low Emission Zone and has also previously been involved in programmes aimed at retrofitting both residential and commercial buildings in London.

In her new role as Deputy Mayor, Rodrigues will be tasked will overseeing Sadiq Khan’s plans for improving the air quality in London as well as the creation of his ‘Energy for Londoners’ policy, aimed at increasing recycling rates and the production of low carbon energy in the city.

London “deserves a world class environment”

Khan said: “Shirley Rodrigues brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience and is the perfect person to deliver my agenda to make London a cleaner and greener city.

“Shirley will drive forward the urgent action needed to ensure Londoners no longer have to fear the air we breathe and will address the failure to tackle the problem by the previous mayor and government. I am sure she will be a fantastic addition to my top team, taking on a crucial portfolio that has become an issue of life and death.”

Rodrigues added: “I am delighted to be working with Sadiq on his ambitious plans to make London one of the most environmentally-friendly cities in the world. Sadiq has already proposed a radical and wide-ranging approach to clean up London’s dirty air, and I feel privileged to be able to lead on this vital piece of work that will boost the quality of life and health for millions of Londoners.”

Sophie Neuburg, Friends of the Earth London campaigner, welcomed the news, but noted the challenges ahead, saying: “As a world-class city, London needs and deserves a world-class environment, and this appointment is a strong signal that our environment is on the agenda at city hall. However, the new deputy mayor will certainly have her work cut out for her.

“With our filthy air causing nearly 10,000 early deaths each year, her first task will be to bring London’s air pollution down to legal and safe levels by 2020. As a world capital, London must also take a leadership role in tackling climate change, starting with a transition to a resource-efficient economy powered by clean energy.” 

Mayor’s proposals for London

The appointment of the new Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy is the latest step in Kahn’s plan to be ‘the greenest Mayor London has ever had’.

His pre-election manifesto contained many ‘green’ priorities, including tackling air quality, protecting the green belt and building more cycle routes. He also has plans to boost London’s recycling rate and improve the city’s resource efficiency.

The mayor has just finished an initial consultation on a package of proposals to tackle air pollution in London and beyond including:

·      implementing a £10 Emissions Surcharge on the most polluting vehicles entering central London in addition to the existing Congestion Charge

·      introducing the central London Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in 2019, a year earlier than planned;

·      extending the ULEZ beyond central London from 2020;

·      developing a detailed proposal for a national diesel scrappage scheme;

·      implementing the requirement for all double-decker buses in central London to be ULEZ-compliant by 2019 instead of 2020; and

·      tackling the most polluted streets with the cleanest buses by implementing Low Emission Bus Zones.

Following publication of the results, which will be released in September, two further stages of assessment will take place.