The Mayor will reply to letters selected for publication. Write to: The Mayor, The Londoner, The Greater London Authority, City Hall, The Queen's Walk, London SE1 2AA. e-mail email@example.com (mark the subject of your e-mail The Londoner.) Please keep your letters short where possible. Letters may be edited for length.
Road works complaint
Please can you explain why there are so many road works all around London when nobody seems to be working on them. I agree they are necessary but they add to congestion and pollution and spoil our beautiful city. I have travelled to Dubai, Singapore and New York and these places have workmen working 24 hours to complete any necessary road works.
The Mayor replies
A lot of the work taking place on or under London's roads at the moment is essential maintenance and upgrades by utility companies, including the replacement of the capital's Victorian water mains.
Unfortunately, Transport for London has limited control over when and for how long work takes place. There is little incentive for utility companies to coordinate their work or carry out work quickly, which means that the same piece of road can be dug up repeatedly and works can last a long time.
To change this situation Transport for London is working with the Department for Transport and borough councils to introduce a London Permit scheme. Under this scheme companies carrying out roadworks would have to obtain a permit before starting work.
This would allow Transport for London and the councils to coordinate works and minimise disruption.
Truth about the tunnel
I heard on the radio that Greenwich Council have applied to Transport for London to make the A2 and Blackwell Tunnel a congestion charging zone. Can you verify this and, if it is true, tell me what are the implications?
The Mayor replies
I have absolutely no plans to set up a congestion charging zone to charge vehicles that use the Blackwall Tunnel or the Blackwall Tunnel Approach Road. But if Greenwich wishes to do so on any of its roads then I will support them.
How are you going to make London greener?
I am writing to ask what your plans are to make London more environmentally friendly. Specifically, I would like to know how you intend to try and reduce London's dependence on energy produced with carbon fuels. Are there any plans to develop renewable energy sources and what is being done to try and encourage these developments?
The Mayor replies
Reducing London's dependence on fossil fuels is central to my Climate Change Action Plan which I released last year.
The plan sets out how London can significantly improve its energy efficiency by reducing demand for energy. And it supports the growth of decentralised energy systems.
Decentralised energy, which represents a wide range of fuels and technologies, allows heat and power to be produced locally, removing the massive inefficiencies that exist in the current centralised generation system.
Incredibly, this system throws away 60 per cent of the fuel used (most of which is fossil fuel) through waste heat and by the transmission of electricity to consumers. The Plan's target is to generate 25 per cent of London's energy needs through the use of decentralised energy by 2025.
The energy policies in my London Plan are driving forward the use of renewable energy systems in new developments and my State of the Environment report for last year set out progress on the increase in use of renewable energies such as wind power, solar thermal systems, photovoltaics and biomass across London.
The London Energy Partnership, which I support, is also playing an important role in identifying opportunities for using biomass and wind power schemes in London.
India trip will boost jobs in London
As part of the business delegation accompanying the Mayor on his visit to India we were disappointed, on our return, to learn of the criticism of the trip from some quarters.
We witnessed at first hand that the visit was a great success and we have no doubt that over time it will result in new jobs for Londoners and significant increased investment in the London economy from Indian companies.
To maintain our position as a leading world city, it is vital that we attract increased overseas investment and tourism.
Last year, India was the second largest investor in London and Indian tourists out numbered those from Japan.
We will not achieve our goals by resting on our laurels and staying at home.
While we were in India, there were a number of high-led delegations from other countries and cities all with the same ambitions.
Thanks to the tireless activity of the Mayor, our delegation grabbed most, if not all, of the headlines and more importantly the time and attention of leading business people and politicians.
As business representatives, we have never flinched from criticising Ken Livingstone when we thought he deserved it. However we also feel that he deserves praise when he promotes London and London business as successfully as he did in India.
Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive, London Chamber of Commerce Ian Barlow, Chairman, London Business Board
In the December edition of The Londoner on page 9 of a story headlined 'Make sure you get home safely during Christmas party season, Met says' we stated that passengers can check to see if their minicab or taxi is licensed by looking for the official yellow sticker in the front and rear windscreens of their vehicle.
In fact, only licensed minicabs need to have these official yellow stickers. Black cabs do not need this sticker and passengers do not need to ensure that a black cab has one before using one. We are happy to clarify this point.
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