Greener London will target drivers

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Radical new programmes aimed at making London the "green capital of Europe" are to be brought in by Ken Livingstone, its newly re-elected Mayor.

Radical new programmes aimed at making London the "green capital of Europe" are to be brought in by Ken Livingstone, its newly re-elected Mayor.

Polluting lorries and taxis are to be banned throughout the city, homes and buildings will be required to have solar panels, commuters will be encouraged to share cars and a new agency is to be set up to cut London's contribution to global warming.

The programmes, which are designed to build on the success of the congestion charge, are likely to provoke a renewed clash with transport and fossil fuel lobbies. But the Mayor is determined to push them through to create a "low carbon London", by heavily cutting emissions.

The whole Greater London area is to be turned into a giant "low emissions zone". Lorries, buses, vans and taxis that fail to meet tough new emission standards will be banned from the city, and drivers who flout the ban will be fined. Cars, however, will be exempted.

The ban will accelerate the phasing out of the capital's much-loved, but polluting, jump-on, jump-off Routemaster buses. Together with the congestion charge the ban will make London one of the most tightly controlled cities in the world for drivers. But the Mayor and his deputy will increasingly focus on buildings, which are responsible for four fifths of the capital's emissions of carbon dioxide.

Mr Livingstone said: "I will use all my planning powers to make sure new buildings use clean, green technology like solar panels." A new Climate Change Agency will be set up with powers to improve the energy efficiency of old ones, and promote solar energy and combined heat and power plants.

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