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28/11/2017

London Plan: Khan lays out his proposals for fracking, cycling, the green belt and pubs

Words: Laura Edgar
London / Shutterstock_68997331

In advance of publishing his draft London Plan on Wednesday (29 November), the capital’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, has announced his plans to protect pubs and the green belt, cut down on takeaways near schools and improve green infrastructure in the city.

Safeguarding the green belt

 

Khan plans to make more than 50 per cent of London green by 2050, with green infrastructure to be an “integral” part of new developments.

Khan said his draft London Plan strengthens safeguards that prevent “harmful development on vital green land both within and surrounding the capital”.

He will refuse planning applications that include building on the green belt if strict rules are not met, such as replacing buildings with new ones of a similar scale.

The mayor will also work with borough’s to ensure public access to the green belt is maintained and the quality of it is enhanced.

The draft London Plan comprises guidelines for increasing green infrastructure; a framework to help boroughs and developers determine how much should be required in new developments and makes it clear green infrastructure must not be an “add-on”.

Infrastructure

 

The draft London Plan is set to require double the current amount of cycling provision in many new developments as Khan looks to encourage people to step out from behind the wheel and use alternative ways to travel across London.

According to a release from the mayor’s office, developers and councils will be required to increase the proportion of cycling parking around new shops and homes. Car-free developments are to be the starting point for new sites that are well connected by public transport.

In June, Khan published his Transport Strategy, stating that he wants to increase the proportion of trips made on foot, by bike or public transport to 80 per cent by 2041, up from 64 per cent now.

Other measures to make London a greener, fairer and healthier place to live include:

  • Requirements for long-stay cycle parking for student accommodation to double from one space per two bedrooms to one-to-one provision.
  • Housing developments in areas that are best connected by public transport won’t provide any parking, other than for disabled people.  Residential car parking will no longer be differentiated by unit size, meaning that the amount of parking allowed will not increase as unit sizes increase.
  • Office developments in central and inner London – the areas best served by public transport – will no longer provide any commuter or visitor parking, other than for disabled people and for essential delivery and servicing purposes.
  • Any parking that is provided will be required to support electric or ultra-low emission vehicles. Taxi spaces will be required to have charging points.

Protecting pubs

 

Khan said London has lost an average of 81 of its pubs a year since 2001 and that he wants to protect them.

According to the mayor, the draft London Plan “will push local authorities to recognise the heritage, economic, social and cultural value of pubs and ensure they are protected for local communities”.

They will be asked to back proposals for new pubs to be built in appropriate locations as Khan looks to stimulate town centre regeneration.

The Agent of Change principle will feature in the draft London Plan. Developers building new residential properties near pubs will be responsible for ensuring they are adequately soundproofed to reduce sound from nearby pubs, clubs and live music venues, instead of the cost falling on the pubs and clubs.

He wants councils to resist proposals to redevelop areas directly connected to pubs, such as beer gardens or landlord accommodations.


No go for fracking

 

Khan has announced there will be no “harmful” fracking in London.

A new policy in his plan states that any application that involves hydraulic fracturing is to be refused by boroughs.

He said the practice “presents a significant public health risk as well as risk of contamination to water supplies”.

“There is absolutely no place for fracking in London and I remain firm in my belief that any such application must be refused.

“The harmful, negative impact of the use of fossil fuels on the environment and on the air we breathe is well known. We must instead focus our resources on developing technologies for the efficient extraction of clean, renewable forms of energy, rather than coming up with more ever innovative ways to keeping burning fossil fuels.”

Fast-food restrictions around schools

 

In an attempt to reduce childhood obesity, Khan has outlined in the draft London Plan that new takeaways should not be permitted within 400 metres walking distance of an existing or proposed primary or secondary school.

If new takeaways are granted planning permission, they will be required to sign up to the Healthier Catering Commitment. A scheme supported by the mayor and promoted by local authorities, it aims to help caterers and food businesses make simple, healthy improvements to their food such as grilling or baking instead of frying and adding less salt.

Image credit | Shutterstock

 

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