Scott signs multi-state agreement to electrify trucks and buses

first_imgOne of two Green Mountain Transit fully electric buses, which run on the Red Line in the Burlington area. Courtesy photo.Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott today announced that Vermont has joined 15 states and the District of Columbia in signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to accelerate electrification of the medium- and heavy- duty bus and truck market. The agreement calls for 100 percent of all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales to be zero emission vehicles by 2050.States signing the MOU are California, Connecticut, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.“This agreement is an important step forward in our ongoing commitment to increase the number of electric vehicles on the road in Vermont,” said Governor Scott. “Electrifying buses and trucks while making the technology more affordable and accessible is key to meeting our state emissions goals, and this agreement will help move the market in this direction.”The transportation sector accounts for 44 percent of Vermont’s total greenhouse gas emissions, and medium- and heavy-duty vehicles make up 14 percent of the on-road sector total.Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles include large pickup trucks and vans, delivery trucks, box trucks, long-haul delivery trucks and school and transit buses. Nationally, truck emissions are the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases and truck travel is expected to increase significantly in coming decades.“The Agency has a significant number of medium and heavy-duty vehicles in our fleet. We know that transitioning our truck and bus fleets to run on clean electric power will be an important part of how we meet our greenhouse gas reduction targets. I am excited for the Agency to participate along with our sister agencies across the country,” said Agency of Transportation Secretary Joe Flynn. “We know this is going to be a challenge, but we look forward to leaning into this work, so we can build momentum and scale for this market transformation.”Today, there are at least 70 electric truck and bus models on the market, with more new models expected over the next decade.“Electrifying our trucks and buses is a critical step in achieving statewide emission reductions and protect public health in Vermont,” said Department Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Peter Walke. “Cars and trucks are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Vermont. Entering into a collaborative agreement will help us significantly reduce these and other harmful emissions.” The two electric buses now in service with Green Mountain Transit out of Burlington cost over $1 million a piece when all costs are factored in. They went into service just as COVID hit in March.Scott, himself a racecare driver, said at his press briefing today that in order to create the industry and thus lower costs, there has to be a starting point, even while the goal is a long ways off.He previously cited the introduction of the Ford Mustang all-electric and its high horsepower (346 horsepower/258 kilowatts and 428 lb.-ft. of torque) as an example of a powerful electric motor.“We have to drive industry, so that the cost will come down,” he said.”If we sit back and allow the industry to build internal combustion engines, we will still have high emissions,” Scott said.This initiative builds on Vermont’s 2013 commitment to participate in the multistate Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Task Force to electrify light-duty vehicles. The ZEV Task Force will provide the framework to help coordinate efforts to meet the goals of the MOU and develop and implement a ZEV action plan for trucks and buses. In addition, DEC launched Vermont’s Electric School and Transit Bus Pilot Program. Administered by the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), the pilot program will evaluate the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of operating electric buses in Vermont and quantify the reduction in nitrogen oxide and greenhouse gas emissions. Findings will inform future electric bus purchases by Vermont school districts and transit agencies. The MOU is facilitated by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM). For more information, visit https://www.nescaum.org/(link is external).Memorandum of Understanding – Pledge to Develop Action Plan to eradicate toxic diesel emissions by 2050Boston, MA (July 14, 2020) – Today, 15 states and the District of Columbia announced a joint memorandum of understanding (MOU), committing to work collaboratively to advance and accelerate the market for electric medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, including large pickup trucks and vans, delivery trucks, box trucks, school and transit buses, and long-haul delivery trucks (big-rigs). The goal is to ensure that 100 percent of all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales be zero emission vehicles by 2050 with an interim target of 30 percent zero-emission vehicle sales by 2030.States signing the MOU are: California, Connecticut, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.The MOU will go a long way toward slashing harmful diesel emissions and cutting carbon pollution. The transportation sector is the nation’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and also contributes to unhealthy levels of smog in many of the signatory states. Accelerating the electrification of trucks and buses is an essential step to achieve the deep economy-wide emission reductions needed to avoid the worst consequences of climate change and protect the health of millions of Americans. While trucks and buses only account for 4 percent of vehicles on the road, they are responsible for nearly 25 percent of total transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, emissions from trucks are the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases, and the number of truck miles traveled on the nation’s roads is forecast to continue to grow significantly in the coming decades.Truck and bus electrification also promises to deliver wide spread health benefits, particularly in communities with heavy truck traffic that are burdened with higher levels of air pollution. Medium- and heavy-duty trucks are a major source of harmful smog-forming pollution, particulate matter, and air toxics. These emissions disproportionately impact low-income communities and communities of color often located near major trucking corridors, ports, and distribution hubs.The MOU comes at an important transition point for the industry as investment in zero emission vehicle technology for the medium- and heavy duty sector continues to ramp up. Today, at least 70 electric truck and bus models are on the market, and manufacturers are expected to make many more new models commercially available over the next decade. Apart from the public health benefits and avoided health care costs zero emission trucks and buses provide, by 2030, the total cost of ownership for many common commercial vehicles is projected to reach parity with conventionally fueled vehicles.To provide a framework and help coordinate state efforts to meet these goals, the signatory jurisdictions will work through the existing multi-state ZEV Task Force facilitated by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) to develop and implement a ZEV action plan for trucks and buses.By promoting and investing in electric trucks and buses and the charging and fueling infrastructure needed to serve these vehicles, the signatory jurisdictions will support job creation, and help to build a resilient and clean economy.Here’s what some of the Signatory States are saying:“California is proud to be joined by 14 other states and the District of Columbia in a push for clean, zero emission trucks,” said California Gov. Gavin Newsom. “Our efforts in California will be magnified through the efforts of this multi-state coalition to reduce emissions and improve air quality, especially crucial in communities where our most vulnerable citizens live. By working together, we can move toward a cleaner future.”“Now is the time to act regionally to protect the health of our residents and our climate by reducing emissions from medium- and heavy-duty trucks,” said Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont. “In Connecticut, as in other states, our most vulnerable residents are hit hardest by the health effects of air pollution, including asthma and other respiratory ailments. I am looking forward to working with partner states through this agreement to leverage private sector ingenuity with smart public policy to transition to zero-emission vehicles.”“The electric vehicle industry is primed for tremendous growth,” said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. “We cannot afford to miss this opportunity to place clean transportation technology and infrastructure at the center of the nation’s economic recovery.”“We welcome the opportunity to join this multi-state coalition to accelerate electrification of medium-and heavy-duty vehicles. The electrification of transportation is critical to achieving Hawaii’s zero emission clean economy goal and to reach the state’s 100 percent renewable energy target for electricity,” said Hawaii Gov. David Ige.“To reach our clean energy goals and beat back the effects of climate change, we must rapidly electrify our transportation system by supporting the adoption of electric vehicle use in every sector of our economy,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said. “Today’s action will support the electrification of medium and heavy-duty vehicles by building on New Jersey’s comprehensive strategy that includes reentry to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, from which auction proceeds will go toward clean energy initiatives particularly for our environmental justice populations. Taken together with the blueprint outlined in our Energy Master Plan, these efforts demonstrate New Jersey’s unwavering commitment to 100 percent clean energy by 2050, creating a healthier environment for everyone.”New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Without federal leadership, addressing the climate crisis requires states to work together to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from all sources. Reducing air pollution from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles will result in cleaner air for our communities—including low-income neighborhoods and communities of color that are often disproportionately impacted by environmental pollution. Today’s announcement bolsters New York’s ongoing efforts to electrify the transportation sector and reduce climate pollution, helping to realize our ambitious emissions reduction goals and grow a powerful green economy to benefit all communities.”“Oregonians have been leading the way in adopting electric cars to lower emissions. Electrifying trucks, buses and delivery vehicles is the next logical step in cutting emissions, improving air quality and fighting climate change,” said Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.“Pennsylvania is home to some of the highest trafficked highways in the nation, and reducing air pollution from tailpipes will benefit Pennsylvanians across the state,” said Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf. “Pennsylvania has already made investments to reduce these kinds of emissions and we are proud to be joining with other states to continue to deploy more electric trucks and buses so we can continue to cut the pollution.”last_img read more

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CUNA supports House panel markup of CU relief bills

first_imgThe House Financial Services Committee is voting a series of bills today, two of which are strongly supported by the Credit Union National Association for the regulatory relief they would provide credit unions.  Those bills are  the Regulation D Study Act (H.R. 3240) and the Access to Affordable Mortgages Act of 2014 (H.R. 5148).CUNA also strongly backs a possible amendment to The Community Bank Mortgage Servicing Asset Capital Requirements Study Act (H.R. 4042), which also will be voted on today. That bill would direct the federal banking agencies to conduct a study of appropriate capital mortgage requirements for mortgage servicing assets.The amendment to that bill would require the National Credit Union Administration to similarly “stop and study” a provision of its proposed risk-based capital plan that would assign a 250% risk weight for mortgage servicing rights (MSR).CUNA testified before the House Financial Services subcommittee on financial institutions and consumer credit last week that the MSR weight would be both “punitive and unnecessary” and should be reduced to 100%. That would place it at a level similar to what is required of small banks in Basel III requirements. continue reading » 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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Instead of dismissing the newer generation, how about helping it

first_imgInstead of dismissing the newer generation, how about helping it C.J. SpangSeptember 19, 2006Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintI don’t know Sid Hartman. I had heard his name before I came to school here and all I knew was he was the big shot in the Twin Cities when it came to sportswriting.The 86-year-old is a staple of the Star Tribune and his column appears four times a week. He can also be heard on WCCO 830 AM radio and seen at almost every major sporting event in the Twin Cities.Back in the day, he was a part-owner of the Minneapolis Lakers and currently is a very wealthy man because of his numerous real estate dealings.In short, he’s a legend.But when I began my job as a reporter at The Minnesota Daily a year ago, I started to hear different things about Sid – not always flattering things.Some say he’s old and out of the game, some figure he has others doing the legwork for him. The man can be arrogant, and he says what he wants, even if he doesn’t have all the facts to back it up.He also can be heard referring to young journalists as “punk kids.”Some of that seemed true when I encountered him at men’s basketball games.During the news conferences, he sat up front, or sometimes right next to coach Dan Monson. He always asked the first question and then some, even if it meant interrupting the beat reporters.But you know what? He’s put in his dues and earned it – well, some of it.However, despite all he’s done in life, Sid certainly didn’t earn the right to say to me what he did Friday.I was in the Athletics Communications office on Friday, squaring away some work-related things when Hartman walked in. I laughed on the inside, as I’d heard about him making the rounds in the Bierman athletics building.While he was in an office, I sat down to talk with a friend of mine and another person who works in the office.He walked by and got to the door, only to turn and look toward the three of us. “You can do better than that,” he said to the other two people in the room while gesturing to me. “This guy’s a nothing.”And, with that, he walked out the door.For one of the few times in my life, I was speechless. I didn’t catch the whole insult because Hartman mumbles, but the “This guy’s a nothing,” I heard plain as day.I sat there, dumbfounded, asking everyone, “Did he just call me a nothing?”The general consensus was yes, and welcome to the club. Apparently it’s a ritual for him to come in and insult someone on a regular basis.Why does he think he’s entitled to that?His 86 years on the Earth? His 60-plus years of experience as a journalist? His millions of dollars? All of his “close, personal friends”?No matter what his reasoning, there was no point in saying it.Instead of tearing me down, why not build me up? Why not share his extensive knowledge and experiences with the next generations of sports reporters, who hope they can be around as long and be as recognized as him?I have nothing but respect for his dedication, his hard work and his insider knowledge that has taken years to cultivate. The amount of knowledge I could glean in a 15-minute conversation with him would be more valuable than some semesterlong classes I’ll take.But after Friday’s brief encounter, my opinion of him has changed. I wouldn’t want to be considered the next Sid Hartman or anything like him.Quite honestly, if I end up a nobody in the sports journalism world, I’ll be fine with it.But if I end up with an attitude like Sid Hartman’s, I will consider myself a nothing.– C.J. Spang welcomes comments at cspang@mndaily.com.last_img read more

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Minnesota moving past disappointing 2015 season

first_imgHaving both in the lineup consistently would go a long way towards moving past the memories of last year. “I think it kind of was a snowball effect there. When you start out slow like we did last year, everyone starts to question what’s going on and it becomes more of a confidence issue,” Shannon said. “A big emphasis this year will be trying to start out strong and kind of building off that.” Minnesota moving past disappointing 2015 seasonThe team sported a losing record last year and finished 9th in the Big Ten.Liam James Doyle, Daily File PhotoRedshirt Sophomore Tim Shannon pitches the ball at Siebert Field where the Gopher Men’s Baseball team took on Penn State on April 18, 2015. Kaitlin MerkelFebruary 3, 2016Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintMinnesota baseball head coach John Anderson said he’s not focused on last season anymore. “First and foremost, last year’s over. … I think that this team has worked extremely hard to create a strong culture. I think that’s based on being a strong team, a collective group [with players not focused] on themselves individually,” Anderson said. “We spent a lot of this year just trying to re-center our culture and … I think we have a team that had more talent potentially than last year.” “I think we’ll be the first to admit that we were disappointed with how the year ended last year,” redshirt junior pitcher Tim Shannon said. “But we have a really talented group of guys, and we really think that we’re going to be a main contender in this conference this year. I think we have a little chip on our shoulder after last year for sure.” Minnesota was outscored 313-238 overall on the season, in large part due to a pitching staff that had a combined 5.40 earned run average. The Gophers return 23 players to their roster this year, including 13 of their 17 pitchers from last year. Minnesota begins its season Feb. 19against Utah in Surprise, Ariz. The Gophers will attempt to get out to a better start than last year, when the team took on ranked Houston and Texas teams in its first two series and started 0-7. Minnesota was outscored 50-7 in those games. Anderson is also hoping to have certain players more available on a regular basis this year. Motl and junior catcher Austin Athmann were the team’s third- and fifth-best hitters, respectively, in terms of batting average in 2015, but injuries in part caused the pair to miss a combined 27 games. The team has motivation to improve with the way last year ended. The team’s conference finish kept the Gophers out of the Big Ten tournament, which was held at nearby Target Field. The team’s pitchers will try to improve by employing a more aggressive mentality, Shannon said. The Gophers will also have pitching coach Todd Oakes back for the beginning of the year, after his leukemia returned last October and he could only be around the team on a limited basis for much of last season. Ben Gotz contributed to this report. “I don’t see us having the type of season we had last year again. We’ve got a lot of guys back and a lot of guys who had experience this summer,” senior outfielder Dan Motl said. “I’m really excited to see what we’ve got. We’ve got a dangerous lineup to say the least.” The down year also pushed the Gophers’ Big Ten regular season and tournament title drought to five years, the longest under Anderson. But right now it’s all about moving the program forward. The year 2015 was a dismal one for the Gophers baseball team, at least by the standards set by Anderson. Minnesota finished 21-30 last year — the team’s first losing record since 2008 and only its second overall in Anderson’s 34 years in charge. The team’s ninth-place finish in the Big Ten was tied for the worst in his tenure. Instead, some Minnesota players just watched from the stands. “I’m more concerned about Motl being able to stay healthy the whole year. He is a very good player, but he hasn’t been able to do that. Austin Athmann has had two years of surgeries and hasn’t played a full year yet, and we need him to be healthy,” Anderson said. “So I’m more concerned about those two players and some of our older players being healthy and being able to play at the level I think they’re capable of.”last_img read more

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Prestolite Electric Strengthens its Aftermarket Sales Force

first_imgLSI President Brett Tennar says, “Steve’s success in developing operational strategies that improves the bottom line, builds teamwork, reduces waste and ensures quality product development and distribution checks many of the boxes of what we were looking for in a COO. This, coupled with his career in the Air Force working with highly technical systems and his in-depth understanding of Lean Six Sigma and Business Process Management sealed our offer. As our tagline states, our products are Powered by Science. This data driven approach is one reason why our company has grown exponentially as we employ the most advanced technology to product development. I am confident that Steve is the right person to drive operational strategy for our diverse and growing brands.” Advertisement DeMoulpied has a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Management from the United States Air Force Academy and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Dayton in Marketing and International Business. He served six years with the USAF overseeing the development of technology used on fighter aircraft and the E-3 Surveillance aircraft, finishing his career honorably as Captain. DeMoulpied comes to LSI from the Private Client Services practice of Ernst & Young where he managed strategy & operations improvement engagements for privately held client businesses. Some of his prior roles include VP of strategic development, director of strategic initiatives, and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt at OptumHealth, UnitedHealth Group’s health services business, as well as Lean Six Sigma Black Belt at General Electric, where he applied operations improvement principles to customer service, supply chain and product development. A successful entrepreneur, deMoulpied is also the founder of PrestoFresh, a Cleveland-based e-commerce food/grocery business.  ARCADE, NY – Prestolite Electric has announced that Doug Zink has joined the company’s sales organization and will take over a West to Midwest territory recently vacated by Sean Miller, who was recently promoted. Zink brings to Prestolite Electric 16 years of experience calling on the heavy duty industry for companies such as Goodyear, Wix Filtration and most recently Stemco. AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement Sean Miller has been promoted to national accounts sales manager and will handle Fleet Pride, Truck Pro, Vipar, Heavy Duty America and Truck Pride at a corporate level. Miller started with the company last year after a three-year stint with Delco Remy. In addition, the company said is looking to appoint a regional sales manager for Canada and will continue to focus on growing its aftermarket sales by reaching more and more customers. “By having more feet on the street, we can touch more customers, train them on our products and help them to grow their own sales while growing ours at the same time,” the company stated in a press release.,Lubrication Specialties Inc. (LSI), manufacturer of Hot Shot’s Secret brand of performance additives and oils, recently announced the expansion of senior leadership. Steve deMoulpied joins LSI as the company’s chief operating officer (COO). AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement With more than 20 years of experience across multiple industries and functional areas, deMoulpied has particular expertise in organizations with complex technical products. Combined, his prior positions have required a spectrum of skills in corporate strategy, operations improvement, product quality, and revenue cycle management. He has an impressive history of utilizing data driven problem solving (Lean Six Sigma) and project management (PMP and CSM) to achieve strategic goals surrounding customer satisfaction, operational efficiency and improved profit. last_img read more

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Hedge fund turmoil forces Mayfair rents down

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

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Report: EGAS wins Damietta LNG gas cuts case

first_imgLNG World News Staff The Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) has reportedly won the case against the Damietta LNG plant at the International Court of Arbitration in Paris. Reuters, citing the Egyptian ministry of petroleum, reported the court ruled that EGAS does not have to pay a US$270 million fine due to gas cuts at the Damietta LNG facility.The complaint was filed in 2013 with the International Chamber of Commerce, claiming EGAS failed to comply with the agreement by halting gas supplies to the facility in 2012 and not making payments.The plant sought $270 million in fines plus interest for the contracted liquefied natural gas capacity.EGAS reduced the amount of gas it supplied to the facility to 400 million cubic feet per day, from the contracted 700 million cubic feet per day in 2010. Supplies stopped completely in 2012. The liquefaction train has an annual processing capacity of approximately 7.6 bcm.Damietta LNG plant is owned by Segas, a company in which Union Fenosa Gas, a joint venture by Gas Natural Fenosa of Spain and Italy’s Eni, owns an 80 percent stake. The remaining 20 percent is split between EGAS and the other state-owned company Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC).EGAS has not responded to an e-mail by LNG World News seeking confirmation of the court’s ruling by the time this article was published.last_img read more

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Lawyers warning over family experts fee cuts

first_imgSlashing the fees of social work experts will put vulnerable children at risk and increase delays in the family court, their representative groups have warned. From October 2010, the Ministry of Justice will reduce by around 50% the fees paid to social workers who give independent advice to family courts in public law cases concerning children. Alison Paddle, spokeswoman at NAGALRO, the professional association for children’s guardians and independent social workers, said the fees would be cut from around £50-70 to £30 – the amount paid to CAFCASS social workers. ‘Despite courts relying on their assessments, independent social workers are already the lowest paid of the court’s expert witnesses. Yet it is often their report that draws together and puts in context the conclusions of more highly paid experts,’ she said. She said the fee cut could lead to people leaving the profession, diminishing the pool of experts available, which would exacerbate the already ‘unacceptably long delays’ in cases. A Ministry of Justice consultation is considering the fees paid to expert witnesses, but social workers are not included in it. Christina Blacklaws, Law Society council member for child care law, said there was a real disparity in amounts experts receive, with some getting £300 an hour while others earn much less. ‘It is completely wrong that the fees of social workers, who play an important role in proceedings, are being slashed,’ she said. ‘But let’s not forget that legal aid lawyers are paid a pittance – we get an average of £55 an hour and have huge overheads to cover,’ she said. An MoJ spokesman said that since 2003 Legal Services Commission guidance has said independent social workers should be paid the same rates as CAFCASS pays its self-employed contractors, and it was appropriate to follow those rates.last_img read more

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More bilge from Europe?

first_imgTo continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe now for unlimited access Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our communitylast_img read more

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London needs to fix its relationship with the green belt

first_imgHousing minister Brandon Lewis wrote to London mayor Boris Johnson on 27 January responding to the London Plan. The minister acknowledged the mayor’s commitment to address the increase in London’s population.  But noting the GLA’s obligation to work closely with Local Authorities outside London, he warns against the expectation that those authorities may help to meet London’s unmet housing need. Stressing that the government has no intention of ‘raising the South East Plan from the dead’, he goes further to suggest that protection afforded to the Green Belt may impact Authorities’ ability to meet their own housing need, never mind London’s. Meanwhile in a January survey of MPs commissioned by Homes for Britain, and conducted by Ipsos Mori finds that two thirds agree there is a housing crisis and 86% think the that Government could do more to solve it.So what might the next Government do to assist London to meet its acknowledged challenges?  Surely the answer has to be to put in place the structures that would enable a world city of London’s status and size to organise and meets its own needs. The starting point would be the recognition that the footprint of the capital extends far beyond its own boundaries. Brandon Lewis’ letter notes that past efforts to plan at this scale ‘built up nothing but resentment’. Yet surely planning is nothing if it is not a democratic means of legitimising (and compensating for) the disadvantage suffered by the few in the interests of the many? And, as has been revealed in recent debates at the London Society on this topic, allowing the widely acknowledged success of the Green Belt to become an excuse for inaction is not helpful. Surrey CPRE’s 10 point manifesto for the next election has as its top two priorities:Protect the Green Belt and other countryside and green spaces in Surrey from inappropriate development.Oppose excessive and unsustainable housebuilding figures – especially where demand arises from outside the county.Is it really reasonable to exclude the demand for housing from outsiders when unquestionably the 56,000 residents of Surrey rely heavily on London for other aspects of their lives, and not least for employment?Indeed the failure to challenge the conflation of policies to protect the natural environment with NIMBYism, creates a taboo which makes it so much harder to develop an inspiring vision for how Londoners and their neighbours can share the natural and economic wealth that surrounds them. National planning policy imposes a duty to co-operate between neighbouring authorities but the realpolitik means there is little hope of this happening in practiceSuch a vision was hinted at by Professor Peter Bishop of UCL in his contribution to a London Society debate on 5th February. The relationship between London and the Green Belt, the GLA and the Home Counties should not be seen in terms of a polarised debate between city and country dwellers on whether to build homes in the Green Belt, or to prevent this come what may. Instead there is surely a way, argued Bishop, to both protect and enhance the Green Belt as one of the country’s (rare) planning successes, at the same time as meeting the housing and other needs of the capital city.As the engineer Alan Baxter (his firm hosts London Society debates in its Clerkenwell gallery) pointed out, London’s phenomenal economic success generates all kinds of exciting opportunities and challenging demands apart from the commonly expressed requirements for housing and transport infrastructure.Leisure, recreation, biodiversity, animal and plant husbandry, health, and psychological wellbeing can all be obtained from our relationship with the Green Belt if we protect it and invest in it appropriately. The question is how to think of the built and unbuilt footprint of the capital in such a way as to enhance the sustainable wellbeing of humankind and the natural environment at the same time.In March, the GLA will host a conference with its Local Authority neighbours with very little prospect (despite the similar political affiliations of the Mayoralty, the outer Boroughs and the Home Counties) of a meeting of minds over the binary debate over whether to build or not to build. National planning policy imposes a duty to co-operate between neighbouring authorities but the realpolitik means there is little hope of this happening in practice.With the abandonment by the coalition of the South east regional plan, wide disagreement on the issue, and with the desperate pursuit of votes from the political middle ground, it is too much to expect that one party or one government would be able to reach a conclusion. It would take a Royal Commission on structures for the effective governance of the London Economic region to break through to the level of intervention and degree of compulsion required to make progress. This would extend beyond the questions raised by the current Mayoralty’s calls for more powers for local tax and spend, to propose political structures for a city capable of determining for itself where and how to set the boundary between its built footprint and an enhanced, accessible, more bio-diverse and sustainable Green Belt.Ben Derbyshire is managing partner of HTA Designlast_img read more

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