Westminster Labour Pledges to Champion Sustainable Streets
Ahead of next year’s local elections, Labour councillors are set to release A Green New Deal for Westminster. The document focuses exclusively on environmental policy and will set out Labour’s bold agenda to build a carbon neutral future for Westminster’s communities.
As part of this, Labour is committing to building Sustainable Streets across the City of Westminster – from Pimlico to Paddington, and Westbourne to the West End. At the heart of the plan Labour will promote 15 minute city living, an idea championed by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.
15-minute cities create communities where most things a resident needs can be reached within a quarter of an hour by foot or bike, including housing, offices, restaurants, parks, hospitals and cultural venues.
To achieve this, we need action in our predominantly residential areas (particularly as more people work from home) to protect local shops and cafes, make local public realm improvements, and provide new flexible work spaces and business support services to cope with increased daytime demand.
In central Westminster it means taking a more active role in managing residential growth as office and retail changes, action to prevent slum conversions, providing more services for residents and managing competition between different uses.
Labour would embed this principle in a new City Plan.
We’ll also review – and seek to increase the ambition of – the Council’s target to increase tree canopy cover. The Conservatives dramatically failed to meet their 2018 Manifesto pledge to plant 3000 trees by the end of 2020, delivering only 327 trees by the end of 2018/19 and scrapping their reporting of progress since. Labour will also pivot away from the Council’s obsession with resin-covered tree pits that increase the local flood risk and instead welcome local planting.
As part of the Sustainable Streets initiative, Labour will fix the Conservative-led Council’s failure to do enough to support active forms of travel. We will dramatically increase the availability of cycle parking spaces by creating more cycle hangars and space for cargo bikes – at present there are less than 150 available across the whole City, and disgracefully in a ward like the West End there is only 1 cycle hangar for more than 10,000 residents. We will invest more in dedicated spaces for walking and cycling and properly implement the Council’s long-delayed school streets programme.
Pancho Lewis, Shadow Cabinet Member for Environment, said:
“Tackling the climate emergency means taking action to build sustainable streets. That’s why we’re committing to planting more trees, championing the 15 minute city concept, and designing new routes that make life easier and safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Now is the time to hardwire sustainability into the very way we design our communities.”