Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Motions passed by UCU retired members conference Wednesday 15 November 2017

Motions passed by UCU retired members conference Wednesday 15 November 2017

NB I have omitted some motions that were concerned with internal UCU matters and not included some amendments as I have lost my notes, but my recollection is that these concerned points of detail .
Motion 1              Railway System           
Proposer              Northern & Scottish Retired Members Branch

Preamble:
UCU Retired members note with dismay the effects of this Government’s continued austerity drive, and its support of the disastrous policy pursued by Southern Rail, of allegedly trying to modernise its Railway System at the expense of the most vulnerable travellers. Southern Rail’s abolishment of staff, stations and ticket offices has an adverse effect on older people and those with disabilities. This means in practice, that by abolishing train guards they are removing any vestige of health and safety for the disabled, on both train and platforms. How are the seriously disabled going to get on and off trains? Who is going to provide the assistance for getting wheel chairs on and off trains? What about the many stations that will no longer be staffed? How are the disabled expected to cope with that situation, or will the train driver be expected to help? Of course there will be ticket machines. How will the partially sighted cope; the disabled and older people manage, with this new technology?
Many rail stations have toilets for handicapped people, where you are required to find someone who can give you the key, this can be very difficult for some to achieve. Why can’t we have ‘smart’ train tickets, which could be used to enable travellers to access ‘closed’ toilets on trains and stations? We have noted the series of strikes that have taken place on Southern Railways and fully support the trade Unions involved.
Motion: This AGM of Retired Members Branches notes that the Conservative Government has made cuts to the Rail system, which seriously affects all disabled UCU members, and UCU retired members. We therefore call upon our National Executive Committee to fully support the National Pensioners Convention, and the Rail Unions in their efforts to fight against the closure of stations, and the introduction of driver only trains. The closure of Stations will make it impossible for disabled UCU members and UCU retired members to travel late at night, and even during the day when stations are only ticket machine operated. If Southern Rail win this dispute then all the other train operators will be quick to jump on the band wagon. We also ask that the NEC raise their concerns within the Labour Party and the TUC and seek support to ensure a successful outcome to this very important issue


Motion 2               The Rise in the state Pensions Age
Proposer              Northern Retired Members Branch

This AGM of UCU retired members branches notes with concern the raising of the State Pension Age and supports the campaign against this by the National Pensioners Convention.
We further note that owing to the rise in levels of stress and decline in levels of job-satisfaction, many members of UCU will be forced to stop working, many years before the retirement age officially designated by USS, TPS and our employers.
The consequence of these developments is that there will be an increasing gap between the age at which the State Pension begins and the age at which our members actually cease employment. As a result, retirees will face increasing levels of financial hardship.
This AGM calls on the NEC to develop policies and negotiation strategies designed to improve the USS and TPS pension schemes in order to mitigate the effects of the increase in the State Pension 
We note that many other trade unions in the public sector who have occupational pension schemes, will be similarly affected who therefore urges the NEC to liaise with our sister unions to achieve aims.

Motion 3               Climate Change, Airport Expansion and Fracking
Proposer              London Retired Members Branch

We recognise that the motion on Climate Change passed at this year's TUC makes progress towards UCU retired members resolution 7.6 of our 2016 annual meeting. However, we regret that there is no mention of opposition to fracking or airport expansion. We therefore call upon the UCU NEC to continue to campaign within the trade union movement in support of all the demands raised in UCU Congress 2017 resolution 17: Climate change, jobs and airport expansion.

  
Motion 4               Universal Benefits
Proposer              London Retired Members Branch
Conference believes that the old age (universal benefit) pension should be paid to all over the age 60 and be equivalent to at least half the average wage or 200 pounds, whichever is the greater. Conference commits to the defence of the triple-lock. Conference notes that to achieve this will take a number of years and the first step should be the increase of the present pension by a yearly increase of RPI + 2%. Conference therefore resolves for UCU to express our view on the relevant bodies.

Motion 5               Support for research-active retired members
Proposer              London Retired Members Branch
Recognising that many retired members wish to continue with their research or conduct research for which they did not have time due to pressures of work while they were employed, calls upon UCU to do all it can to secure access to facilities such as libraries and email for retired academic staff. This would also be in the interests of their previous institutions although many are too stupid to see this.


Motion 7               NHS
Proposer              West Midlands Retired Members Branch
This Retired Members AGM deplore the government's funding attack on the NHS and the consequent pressure on Trusts to abandon the NHS founding principles.  For example, Shropshire has declared that the planned reconfiguration of two hospitals is for the "greatest good for the majority": utilitarianism has replaced universalism despite Para 14T of the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

We deplore the consequent limitations on access and especially the negative impact on retired people.

We urge retired members' branches to engage in local campaigning to protect the NHS.

We request UCU head office to set up a national web-based forum to assist all branches to work on national NHS campaigns using College and University campuses to promote the importance of a universal health service.

We call on the NEC to pay the £500 to affiliate to the Health Campaigns Together pressure group.


Motion 10            Raising of the State Pension Age
Proposer              Yorkshire & Humberside Retired Members Branch

This meeting notes that:
•        the proposed raising of the State Pension Age will present financial difficulties for many UCU members retiring some years before receiving a State Pension
•        many workers in all areas of employment, especially those with inadequate occupational pensions, or no other pension, as well as those who are willingly or unwillingly unemployed will face the same difficulties many years before reaching the State Pension age.
•        The raising of the State Pension Age will add to pressures to raise the qualifying age for occupational pensions.
•        many workers in precarious employment are particularly dependent on the state pension because they have little opportunity to accrue a decent quality occupational pension.
It therefore calls for UCU to support the NPC campaign against raising the SPA, and to work actively in the TUC to raise wider awareness of these issues among existing workers, awareness of the risk of poverty in old age and to develop a campaign with all other unions.


                  
Motion 11            Supporting the NPC Pensioners’ Manifesto
Proposer              Yorkshire & Humberside Retired Members Branch  

This meeting calls on UCU to agree to support the NPC Pensioners Manifesto:
• A state pension set above the official poverty level, around £200 a week and linked to the triple lock of the higher of earnings, prices or 2.5%.

• Greater funding for the NHS, an end to privatisation in the health service and a national social care system funded from general taxation, free at the point of delivery and without means-testing.

• Maintenance of universal pensioner benefits such as free bus travel, a £500 winter fuel allowance, free prescriptions and a free TV licence for the over 75s.

• More homes that are both affordable and suitable for everyone, whilst recognising the specific barriers to downsizing that older people face.

• New legal protection for older people from all forms of elder abuse, to ensure dignity and raise standards of care.

• A Brexit deal that safeguards the payment of pensions, protects EU care workers and the rights of UK pensioners living abroad.

Motion 12            Discussion of extending the Equality Act 2010 to include single people as a protected group
Proposer              Yorkshire & Humberside Retired Members Branch  

 This meeting notes:
•        Under the Equality Act 2010 married people and people in civil partnerships are protected from discrimination on grounds of marital status, but single people are not.
•        Therefore it is still lawful to treat single people less favourably than married people and those in civil partnerships.
•        That lack of legal protection can give scope for expression of negative attitudes towards single people.
•        As people become older, they are more likely to spend a period of their lives as single people as a result of bereavement.
•        That if health and social care services are organised on the assumption that people have or ought to have a ‘next of kin’ family member who can look after them in periods of illness and disability, this disadvantages single people.
•        That there are various forms of existing discrimination against single people, such as single person supplements charged by holiday firms often for inferior accommodation.
•        That the current discussion of loneliness as a health problem, while valid in itself, could foster negative stereotypes of the lives of single people, especially if there is a confusion between ‘loneliness’ and ‘living alone’.
This meeting calls upon UCU to discuss in its Equality Committee and any other relevant bodies the case for extension of the protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010 to include single people, so that they too are protected from discrimination on grounds of marital status.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Comments on the London Draft London Environment Strategy from PCS (Public and Commercial Services Union) and Greener Jobs Alliance


PCS Submission to the GLA Consultation on the Draft London Environment Strategy – November 2017 

General Introduction
PCS trade union has around 180,000 members working in the UK civil service, public sector and on privatised, commercial contracts. Of this over 44,000 are based in the London and South East region. Our members work across a broad range of roles including in London’s culture sector, direct delivery of public services, policy development and drafting legislation.
PCS recognises climate change and the environment as a trade union issue which is evidenced in conference policy initiated from the grassroots of our membership.  This includes support for renewable energy, opposition to fracking and Heathrow third runway, lobbying for workplace environmental reps, climate jobs, energy democracy and a Just Transition for workers and communities.
Whilst global challenges, climate change and the public health crisis of poor air quality are critical to workers and must be addressed at all levels. For this reason the London Environment Strategy must be seen to fit within a wider framework of action all countries need to take on climate change in line with achieving the Paris climate agreement target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) to 2 degrees Celsius or better 1.5 degrees.
The strategy notes that 42% of London’s GHG emissions are generated from workplaces (page 187). PCS therefore argues for statutory rights for Workplace Environmental Reps (WERs) to help support measures in the workplace to reduce GHG emissions, and adapt to climate change.
In this submission we particularly focus on two areas: Energy for Londoners programme and air quality.  In summary we believe that whilst there are many welcome commitments within the strategy, it does not go far enough if measured on the principles of seeking to improve lives and reduce inequality, leading by example, avoiding negative impacts on other policy areas, learning from international best practice and moving beyond business as usual (page 19). We also believe the principles need to be strengthened to include public and worker engagement and Just Transition. In regard to this we would welcome the Mayor of London’s support for Workplace Environmental Reps (WERs).
We conclude by noting that the decision of the Mayor of London not to go ahead with a fully licenced publicly owned London energy company would in our view be a serious mistake in addressing the urgency of climate change, high energy costs for Londoners, air pollution and jobs such a company would create. We therefore urge the Mayor to reconsider this. This is one of the strongest areas’ within the Mayoral power where a real difference could be made, leaving a lasting positive legacy to all those living and working in London.

Overarching Questions
1. Do you agree with the overall vision and principles of this draft London Environment Strategy?
Whilst PCS welcomes the opportunity to comment and contribute to this consultation on the draft London Environment Strategy we believe there is an important democratic principle of ongoing public and worker engagement missing within the proposals. One way to do this from a worker side is for the Mayor of London to support Workplace Environmental Reps (WERs).  WERs play an instrumental role in helping develop practices and support in the workplace for environmental and carbon reduction measures.  For example in waste, energy efficiency or transport policies.  As the 2014 TUC report The Union Effect: greening the workplace[1] highlights WERs can have a “transformative effect on workplace efficiency and sustainability” that can also extend back into communities.  This would certainly go some way to help overcome the barriers of reducing emissions in workplaces (page 211).
However we also think it is important for communities to be actively engaged in decision making. Therefore mechanisms need to be established to ensure democratic control over decision making that impact people’s lives. For example, as the energy system changes bringing with it more options for distributed and energy storage, communities need to play a role in energy choices and how services are run.  The strategy makes several references to heat networks which have been a curse rather than a solution to high fuel costs for the social housing residents of Myatts Field North[2], locked into an energy deal with E.on as part of a 40 year private finance initiative contract with Lambeth Council.
Aside pressing the need for a fully licensed London energy company (see below) it illustrates very starkly both how workers and residents need to have strong democratic role over the solutions to climate change.
A second major principle which is missing, and links strongly to the point above, is Just Transition.  No worker or community should have to pay the price of an economic transition to a zero carbon economy.  Whilst London may not be at the heart of fossil fuel extraction, many of its activities and pension funds of workers profit from it.   Therefore in supporting divestment from fossil fuels reinvestment should be made in climate jobs, jobs that lower greenhouse gas emissions and ensure protections for workers and their communities impacted by the transition.  This is one of three high level demands of the international trade union movement, reiterated to the COP23 in Bonn this November.[3]  A phrasing also enshrined in the Paris 2015 Climate Agreement:
Taking into account the imperatives of a just transition of the workforce and the creation of decent work and quality jobs in accordance with nationally defined development priorities [4]
It is indicative in the strategy that workers and trade unions are a missing part. Engagement and consultation with workers is fundamental to Just Transition and we propose they should be a fundamental principle of the strategy.

2. To achieve the policies and proposals in this strategy, which organisations should the Mayor call upon to do more (for example central and local government and businesses) and what should the priorities be?
There is a clear need to call on Government to do more to enable the policy framework to achieve a zero carbon London by 2050.  Currently policy is disjointed across transport, energy and the environment, and certainly impedes progress for example on establishing public sector/municipal energy supply companies. For example the need for such companies to compete nationwide rather than being allowed to operate within a defined ‘catchment’ area. The point is also well made on page 107 regarding the need for government investment in grid infrastructure to support increasing electrification of transport.
Business should also be called upon to support initiatives given the contribution of workplaces to GHG emissions.  This can be both in addressing their own carbon footprint, supporting establishment of workplace environmental reps, joint employer/trade union sustainability forums and workplace policies that enable workers to reduce their carbon footprint. 
Influence should also be brought to bear in ensuring good procurement practices and building on initiatives such as the delivery pooling.[5]  This includes greater engagement with trade bodies/associations.  There is some reference to the taxi trade in relation to diesel vehicles (section 4; Proposal 4.2.1c) and water (section 8) but not more broadly.
Whilst the GLA already has a best practice procurement policy[6] and is referenced in the strategy, we believe that this and proposal 10.1.1d (page 372) should go further to include procurement that clearly lowers greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon budgeting to take account of embodied emissions of imported or transported goods and services.
Additionally strong links should be built into the City to City trade programme with overseas cities to ensure they meet the aims of the strategy, as well as all agencies of the GLA.
Finally there is a need to ensure that the GLA does not support business that encourages waste. For example we know that high street coffee chains such as Costa Coffee have outlets in a number of PCS workplaces yet their ‘paper’ cups cannot be recycled.

3. Do you agree that this draft London Environment Strategy covers all the major environmental issues facing London?
Broadly the strategy covers the main issues although it lacks a recognition of movement of populations of in and out of the city and consequent environmental impacts e.g. tourists, people attending major sporting or cultural events, flows of temporary workers such as in construction that may come in for major projects.
There is also a lack of coherence in joining together an economic, social and environmental justice framework to arrive at the key end goals of becoming the “greenest city in the world” as part of a Just Transition for workers and communities.

4. There are a number of targets and milestones in this draft London Environment Strategy, what do you think are the main key performance indicators that would demonstrate progress against this integrated strategy?
There is an issue of mixing ambition with real measureable progress.  For example sweeping statements such as achieving zero carbon by 2050 mean little without the clear routes to get there and showing the necessary policy steps to achieve it. Indeed, there is a danger that some policy decisions taken now with reduced ambition such as the Energy for Londoners programme will lock in the GLA to contracts that will disable the ability to meet the more challenging targets.

5. What are the most important changes Londoners may need to make to achieve the outcomes and ambition of this strategy? What are the best ways to support them to do this?
There is an important need for highly accessible public information and awareness of the London environment strategy, citizens and workers’ rights within it and why it is important.  People are clearly concerned about climate change but can often feel paralysed that it is too overwhelming. It has to be clear that whilst there needs to be individual actions such as encouraging recycling, this is a collective action solution. As also noted in the Paris Agreement, there needs to be a recognition that solutions should engender processes that strive to eradicate inequality, include gender responsive, participatory and transparent approaches that take account of vulnerable groups, communities and ecosystems.
It is recognised that the transition and transformations needed for a zero carbon economy will change the way people live and work.  Londoners should therefore be supported through good policy to change practices such as providing an integrated public transport systems, public ownership of energy, and greater democratic control of the decisions that impact their lives.
Again, this is something which Workplace Environmental Reps can also play an important role in.

Chapter 4: Air Quality
1. Do you agree that the policies and proposals outlined will meet the Mayor's ambitions for air quality in London and zero emission transport by 2050? Is the proposed approach and pace realistic and achievable, and what further powers might be required?
Air quality is a serious public health issue as clearly noted in the strategy (page 52) and we welcome recognition of the social inequality of health impacts (page 54). Therefore this needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency, and if anything the pace should be speeded up. However we also note this requires wider government interventions.
The objective 4.1 to “help empower people to reduce their exposure to poor air quality” is too limited in its reach. More needs to be said about working with employers and businesses about their own actions and support for workers in this.  Many working outdoors such as on construction sites, working at London’s airports, undertaking public sector services such as refuge/recycling collection, or even teachers supervising children on breaks need to be protected to ensure both safe working practices and that their employers are aware of their own legal obligations.  Equally office based workers need to be aware of potential risks from opening windows or indoor ambient pollution.
A missing part in the strategy is consultation with trade unions and workers in assessing the impacts on workers and steps needed to mitigate risk.
PCS supports the proposal 4.2.2b and particularly opposition to “any airport expansion in London” but fail to see how there would ever be “no unacceptable impacts on air quality and that GHG emissions are minimised” (page 86).  Airports have a significant impact on both air quality and GHG emissions. This is from aircraft, traffic flow to/from airports and within its parameters including staff, passengers and freight traffic on the ground. The recently updated Airports Commission air quality plan and associated pollution climate mapping sensitivity testing, concluded 
“There are limited actions that the scheme promoters can take to reduce the impacts of the schemes in central London, and the mitigation of risks relies on the effective implementation of the Government’s 2017 Plan measures and RDE legislation to reduce emissions from road transport.”[7]
Therefore it is our view that London should not be supporting any further expansion of the airport, not least as noise is a similar significant irritant and health concern to the thousands of people who live under or near flight paths in and out of airports
PCS believe that the UK government should be supporting the development of an alternative transport policy that would include: reducing demand for air travel; better use of aviation capacity at other London and regional airports without building any new runways; providing a well-resourced and affordable rail network; providing infrastructure for electric vehicle charging points. The latter which we urge should be supported by a publicly owned London energy company but we would support the Mayors call on government to address the structural power grid barriers (page 97) and facilitate investment (page 106).
However this should also be supported with a call for public ownership of the transmission and distribution grids as natural monopolies and which would ensure a joined up strategy for decarbonisation, transition to full renewable energy, and transport electrification. Equally some of this demand should be managed by encouraging alternatives to car use, even if low emissions vehicles such as through proposal 4.2.1a “to prioritise more sustainable travel”.
Finally whilst supporting proposal 4.2.3c to improve air quality through energy efficiency programmes, we argue a fully licensed London energy company is essential to meeting this criteria. As part of the Energy for Londoners programme, this would ensure a coordinated approach to tackling fuel poverty, encouraging a transition to renewable energy, and supporting electric vehicle charging.

Chapter 6. Climate Change Mitigation and Energy
1. Do you agree that the policies and proposals outlined will meet the Mayor's ambition to make London a zero carbon city by 2050? Is the proposed approach and pace realistic and achievable?
PCS fully supports the aim of zero carbon by 2050 but argues this needs to be achieved sooner if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Therefore the strategy requires more than ambition but boldness to take decisive and strong decisions.
As the draft strategy identifies, “London’s GHG emissions are dominated by buildings and transport” including homes and workplaces (page 187).  The Committee on Climate Change which oversees the implementation of the Climate Change Act 2008, has highlighted that the UK will struggle to meet the 4th and 5th carbon budgets not least as we have now picked the ‘low hanging fruit’ of power decarbonisation – namely phasing out coal fired power stations. 
London, as all regions, will have a lead role to play in tackling some of the policy gaps identified around space heating, low carbon power generation and transport.  PCS supports the proposal to introduce a system of five year carbon budgets (page 199) as part of a London emissions pathway. However we are extremely disappointed by the lack of vision for the Energy for Londoners programme which could be a real lynch pin of meeting long-term zero carbon targets.  The decision not to go ahead with a fully licensed publicly owned energy company (proposal 6.1.2b page 226/7) would be a serious mistake in our view and we would urge the London Mayor to reconsider this.
It is also contradictory to say that the focus should be on “the most cost effective interventions which can be rolled out quickly without compromising future options” (page 199).  The political expediency of trying to meet a short-term objective of achieving lower energy bills within the life-time of a politician is a systemic failure and will do exactly what the draft strategy purports to prevent i.e. “avoidance of costly one-off reductions” (page 199).
The “white-labelling” will tie in the GLA to an energy supply contract for some time that will create cost implications if there is a change in policy in five years’ time. Exactly the kind of disaster that was mentioned earlier with respect to Myatts Field North. It is also short sighted in not understanding the changing face of the energy system to a distributed, more localised network. It goes against the grain of what is happening at other municipal levels in Nottingham or Bristol for example, community energy generation, and Labour Party policy to take back into public ownership of the transmission and distribution of energy, alongside the creation of regional energy supply companies.
The TUC congress unanimously passed a climate change motion[8] in September 2017 which fully supports these aims including a mass retrofit and insulation of homes and buildings.  Several UK trade unions, including PCS, are also part of an international Trade Union for Energy Democracy initiative which calls for the public ownership and democratic control of our energy system.  We advocate that this is the only route to achieve 100% renewable energy, address social aspects of energy such as fuel poverty through energy efficiency programmes, ensure workers are central in the energy transition with programmes for reskilling and training for new or repurposed well paid, unionised, jobs.
A fully licensed publicly owned London energy company in our view will be the best route to achieving the wider policy objectives listed under 6.2 to “develop clean and smart, integrated energy systems utilising local and renewable energy resources” (page 238).  This will also help to ensure an integrated approach across all of the London boroughs rather than is happening now with a white-label company in Islington Angelic energy or proposals for a generation supply company in Hackney for example.

2. To achieve the Mayor's zero carbon ambition we estimate (between now and 2050), up to 100,000 homes will need to be retrofitted every year with energy efficiency measures. Do you agree with the Mayor’s policies and proposals to achieve his contribution to this? What more can central government and others do to achieve this?
PCS agrees with a retrofit programme but disagrees with the policy mechanisms.  As advocated for in the one million climate jobs campaign[9] PCS supports the creation of a National Climate Service that would oversee a mass programme of retrofit and insulation.  We therefore believe this should be brought within the public sector with increased funding support from central government to undertake this work in consultation with local authorities and communities to ensure the most vulnerable or ‘leaky’ homes and buildings are addressed first.
PCS is generally opposed to carbon offsetting measures (page 219, 231) as it’s merely a way of redistributing the costs of carbon to other parts of the economy.  Given the very real challenges now faced in decarbonising across the whole economy as outlined by the Committee on Climate Change, we need real, long-term, solutions, not ‘greenwash’.

3. Which policies or programmes would most motivate businesses to reduce energy use and carbon emissions?
Policy 6.1.5 should provide a good incentive to show which businesses are taking their climate obligations seriously. Whilst PCS does not advocate for league tables, clearly there will be advantages for businesses with an increasingly climate conscious London citizen that will favour those which take their energy use and carbon emissions practices seriously.  Particularly where this is also enshrined within public sector procurement guidelines.
4. Please provide any further comments on the policies and programmes mentioned in this chapter, including those in the draft solar action plan and draft fuel poverty action plan that accompany this strategy.
In support of Policy 6.1.4 and earlier ones on retrofitting, there needs to be work in developing and supporting training into zero carbon construction across all the construction trades. Bringing these services in-house as part of public sector work including in a publicly owned London energy company would ensure well paid and unionised work.

Chapter 10: Transition to a low carbon circular economy
As reiterated throughout this consultation response, there is no mention of the role of workers in this transition. This is a critical oversight and there needs to be a section here on a Just Transition approach for workers and communities. 
We welcome proposal 10.1.1f but needs to go further in fully divesting pension funds from fossil fuels.  There also needs to be a serious reinvestment programme that includes seeing how funds can be used for a mass building programme of carbon neutral social housing, retrofit and insulation programmes, and supporting a publicly owned London energy company.

Contact:
Sam Mason
Policy Officer
Assistant General Secretary Office
Tel: 020 7801 2623

Greener Jobs Alliance 

Comments on the Draft London Environment Strategy
Introduction
The Greener Jobs Alliance (GJA) is a partnership body inclusive of trade unions, student organisations, campaign groups and a policy think tank. It is active on the issue of jobs and the skills needed to transition to a low-carbon economyIn London we work closely with local trades union and community organisations on environmental standards. This submission is also supported by Battersea and Wandsworth TUC and the Furzedown Low Carbon Zone.          
http://www.greenerjobsalliance.co.uk/
The GJA welcomes the opportunity to comment on the London Environment Strategy. We believe there are promising initiatives contained in the draft. We also feel there are weaknesses that need to be addressed to achieve the stated ambition of being ‘the greenest city in the world’.
This submission provides a general response to the 5 questions in Chapter 2 and a detailed evaluation of the Air Quality section (pages 36 – 121).  For this we have used the 6 question format in the Air Quality Chapter and also include an appendix with specific comments on the 33 proposals.
Chapter 2: Transforming London’s Environment (Consultation Questions Page 27)
1.       Do you agree with the overall vision and principles of this draft London Environment Strategy?
We support the overall vision but feel that the principles need strengthening. The strategy refers to the vision of a ‘transition to a circular low carbon economy’. The United Nation's Paris Agreement http://unfccc.int/files/essential_background/convention/application/pdf/english_paris_agreement.pdf is referenced that commits the UK to such an approach. However, the strategy should also make a reference to two further important principles contained in the Paris Agreement:
a. That there must be a ‘just transition’: 'Taking into account the imperatives of a just transition of the workforce and the creation of decent work and quality jobs in accordance with nationally defined development priorities.' This principle establishes the importance of social justice, employment and the active engagement of working people through their trade unions in plans to tackle climate change.  
b. Article 12 of the Paris Agreement, which states that government 'shall cooperate in taking measures, as appropriate, to enhance climate change education, training, public awareness, public participation and public access to information, recognizing the importance of these steps with respect to enhancing actions under this Agreement.'
This omission in the strategy partly explains why there is not a single reference in the 400 pages to any engagement with the workforce and recognised trades unions.
References to ‘partners’ and ‘stakeholders’ are insufficient since experience tells us that workers and their representatives are often ignored. Worse they are sometimes victimised. For example, the ongoing case in the Construction Industry of union reps who have raised concerns about exposure to pollution and poor health and safety standards, and been blacklisted.
The Mayor should encourage the recognition of Workplace Environment Reps to promote the engagement of workers. This will be particularly important to realise the ambitions in Chapter 8 – Adapting to Climate Change. The strategy correctly points to the importance of work as a major contributor to both the problems of climate change and solutions. Consulting worker reps will provide an opportunity to listen to both workforce concerns and find potential solutions to climate change mitigation measures. Using these channels will also provide the best way to raise awareness. GLA Group Operations should initiate discussions on this with GLA recognised unions in line with Chapter 11 of the strategy ‘GLA - Leading by Example.’
Proposal – Insert a reference to a ‘Just Transition’ in the strategy and make a commitment to engage with the workforce and their recognised trades unions on implementation.

2.       To achieve the policies and proposals in this strategy, which organisations should the Mayor call upon to do more (for example central and local government and business) and what should the priorities be?
Achieving the aims in the strategy requires a much greater focus on businesses and the workplace. As the strategy indicates workplaces are responsible for over half of greenhouse gas emissions. Despite this there is very little focus in the document on business obligations. For example, in Chapter 6 ‘Climate Change and Energy’ there should be much clearer expectations. The proposal to replicate national Carbon Budgets in the GLA is a good one. It should also be practiced by all large employers in London. The Mayor should call upon Government to introduce an Environment Act that makes this a legal duty. Prior to any legal changes the GLA should seek to establish a voluntary code on this and link it where possible to procurement policy.
Proposal – Insert a section into each relevant chapter that sets out the obligations of employers and how they can contribute to GLA targets and objectives.

3.       Do you agree that this draft London Environment Strategy covers all the major environmental issues facing London?
No. There is insufficient recognition that dealing with the environment crisis can help deal with the economic crisis. An opportunity has been missed to look at the potential for job creation and apprenticeships. A much stronger connection needs to be made in Chapter 10 ‘Transition to a low carbon circular economy’ with skills and jobs. For example, the London Economic Action Partnership,  isn’t referenced. It should be asked to map a skills policy against the environment strategy. Apprenticeships should be assessed against how they can deliver on part of the strategy. For example, Air Quality. The GLA should consider directly recruiting, or work with a company like Siemens, to recruit Air Quality apprentices. They could then be employed to engage with local businesses and communities to assist with monitoring and introduction of control measures. This would have the combined benefit of job creation and facilitating local action on the air quality objectives.
Energy generation, distribution and supply are key elements of the transition to a low carbon economy. The Mayor can play a vital role in promoting democratic ownership and accountability of all 3 strands. In Chapter 6 ‘Climate Change Mitigation and Energy’ there is a reference to the ‘Energy for Londoners’ programme. This fails to address the issue of democratic control and accountability. An opportunity has been missed to tap into the public demand for energy to be brought back into the public sector.
Proposal – Identify the opportunities for much closer working between the Mayor’s teams. For example, the Environment, Skills and Business teams need a co-ordinated plan to show how job creation and skills can be enhanced through the strategy objectives.

4.       There are a number of targets and milestones in this draft London Environment Strategy, what do you think are the main key performance indicators that would demonstrate progress against this integrated strategy?
Much greater clarity is need on KPIs. There are 6 strategic aims listed on Page 23. Three of them only refer to a 2050 target. One references a couple of shorter time frames. The remaining two have no target date mentioned. The KPIs referenced in the Air Quality chapter are clearly set out even though a case can be made for bringing forward the target dates. The other 10 policy areas require a similar roadmap to the one found on Page 108 for Zero Emission Rad Transport.
Proposal – Shorter term milestones needed and mapped across to each policy and set of proposals. These KPIs should then be subject to annual review where appropriate. Without this there is a risk that the policies will just become a set of good intentions.

5.       What are the most important changes Londoners may need to make to achieve the outcomes and ambition for this strategy? What are the best ways to support them to do this?
Londoners need a far greater understanding of climate change and the impact on jobs and their communities. The inequalities referenced in the strategy highlight the need to ensure that measures need to be targeted primarily at those who are most at risk and are under greater pressure to focus on other immediate issues of surviving in an unequal society. The requirements in the Paris agreement to provide climate awareness and training to citizens is not adequately reflected in the strategy. This needs to cover both formal and informal education. The school and tertiary sector need to be referenced as well as community organisations.
Proposal – Insert a Chapter on Education for Sustainable Development. Provide resources and guidance to organisations who can mainstream the policies contained in the strategy into the curriculum. Include programmes that also support workplace and community based training.

Chapter 4: Air Quality (Consultation Questions Page 121)
1.       Do you agree that the policies and proposals outlined will meet the Mayor’s ambitions for air quality in London and zero emission transport by 2050? Is the proposed approach and pace realistic and achievable, and what further powers might be required?
There is little guarantee that these proposals will achieve the 2050 targets. This is partly due to the many determining factors that are outside the Mayor’s control. It is why the overall aim in the opening section that states ‘London will have the best air quality of any major world city by 2050, going beyond the legal requirements to protect human health and minimise inequalities’ (Page 38) is laudable but problematic. We support high ambition, but the purpose of a strategy is to deliver what is in your control. The GLA don’t know what other cities will deliver on air quality and many of the policies needed are dependent on central government and others.
A glaring omission in the policies is any clear reference to the role of employers. This is unfortunate given the data in the document about sources of pollution. Half of pollution emissions are transport related and most of these are linked to work. The other half are designated as ‘Other’ and are broken down into 6 categories. 5 of these are primarily business related – construction, industrial, commercial, aviation and river. Most air pollution is therefore created by work, and people travelling to and from work. Workers are exposed to and create pollution to fulfil contractual obligations to employers. Since it follows that most air pollution is a product of the relationship between employers and workers why is more not being said about getting employers to address the causes of this environmental disaster?
There is not a single generic reference to the word employers or businesses in any of the 33 proposals contained in the section! There are references to ‘other partners’, ‘stakeholders’, ‘relevant groups’ but no indication that the business sector has any responsibility or role to play. Proposals 4.2.3.a and b do refer to the construction industry but surely employer responsibilities extend beyond that. This compares with some local authority action plans which at least give a nod in that direction. Their proposals for employers are however largely limited to advising employees of better travel options.
Guidance from NICE published in June, 2017 on ‘Air Pollution: outdoor air quality and health’ also specifies employers as one of the 6 target groups for the guidance.
Air pollution is an occupational health hazard and includes both internal and external pollution. Apart from the workforce it can also impact on the wider community as a public health hazard. The Mayor’s strategy needs to reflect that. Health and safety legislation has a role to play but in its current form does not provide a sufficiently clear duty on employers to address the problem. The Mayor has limited powers here but should at the very least be engaging with employers to contribute to solutions. Businesses who have procurement contracts with the GLA should identify their emissions and show how they intend to reduce them.
A voluntary scheme prior to a duty in a new Environment Protection or Clean Air Act would serve to underpin the principle that the polluter pays. Imposing a congestion / polluting charge on vehicles does not achieve this at the scale required. It also often means that the individual worker using their own vehicle ends up paying even though it serves the employers interest to have them available for work. There are social justice issues here of increased air pollution financial burdens falling on workers with less ability to pay. It is similar to the regressive characteristics of the T (Toxicity) Charge introduced on 23/10/17. It hits the low paid hardest who are more likely to have older polluting vehicles.
Finally, the pace of change in the strategy fails to reflect the urgency of this public health emergency. An end date of 2050 to make the transport system zero emission is not ambitious enough. 32 years to achieve this is too long and the timescale should be reduced by 10 years to complete in 2040.
Proposal – The strategy needs a much clearer focus on the role of employers and businesses. Their responsibilities should be more commensurate with their role in generating air pollution.

2.       Do you agree with the Mayor’s policies and proposals to raise Londoners’ awareness of the impacts of poor air quality?
Yes, but they are too limited. Empowerment is not only about providing information it is about supporting those who want to act on the information. The Mayor needs to promote networks of community activists who can support empowerment. This means supporting skills development and awareness to reduce exposures. For example, workers are vulnerable to victimisation if they raise concerns about poor air quality. In workplaces that have high emissions it means working with trades unions and others to give employees a voice.
Monitoring undertaken by trade union and community activists can be an important way to empower people and help demystify the science. The Mayor needs to work with local authorities to facilitate opportunities for ‘citizen science’ projects in pollution hot spots. The Mayor should scale up the work that takes place in schools to raise awareness. Equally more support for awareness raising in colleges and universities could generate more community engagement.
Proposal – The strategy needs a funded workplace and community engagement programme to raise awareness and that also contributes to air monitoring and control measures. This proposal is an example of an education for sustainable development mentioned above.
3.       Do you agree with the Mayor’s policies and proposals to safeguard the most vulnerable from poor air quality?
The Mayor aims to do more to protect London’s schoolchildren by reducing their exposure to poor air quality at school and on their journey to and from school. The proposal needs to include all education locations not just schools. This point is referenced in the text but needs to be stated in the proposal to ensure it receives proper attention. The fact is some of the most polluted workplaces / locations are in the FHE sector in London. For example, studies have shown that 42% of all London FE colleges are in areas exceeding EU limits. The schools audit programme should be extended to tertiary education.
Another potentially vulnerable group are workers who raise air pollution concerns with their employer. The history of blacklisting in UK industry illustrates the victimisation that can take place. The Mayor needs to lend his voice to the call for legal rights for workers to be represented on environmental issues.

4.       Would you support emergency measures, such as short-term road closures or vehicle restriction, during the periods of worst air pollution (normally once or twice a year)?
Yes.

5.       Do you agree with the proposed approach to reducing emissions from non-transport sources (including new buildings, construction equipment, rail and river vehicles and solid fuel burning)?
Yes. These proposals will require stringent monitoring and enforcement. Currently the Environment Performance Plans of many construction companies are not implemented effectively leading to higher pollution levels. The Mayor needs to co-ordinate an effective strategy with London Boroughs to target employers suspected of breaching their obligations.
It is already clear that employers are not doing enough to support the UK climate targets. New research from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) found that only 14% of its sample of 1,073 large companies around the world had “science-based targets” – that is, goals to reduce carbon emissions which are in line with the global agreement to hold warming to no more than 2C.
The Mayor has correctly drawn the link between air quality and climate change. New measures need to be introduced which promote accountability. In the absence of a legal requirement, the Mayor should develop a voluntary code which large employers would be encouraged to sign up to. This would provide information on carbon emissions and a timetable for reductions that is consistent with both the GLA Environment Strategy and UK Carbon budgets up to 2050.
6. Please provide any further comments on the policies and programmes mentioned in this chapter.
Freight - The Mayor aims to reduce emissions from freight through encouraging a switch to lower emission vehicles, adopting smarter practices and reducing freight movements through better use of consolidated trips. It is clear employers in the freight sector are not doing enough to minimise emissions. In the absence of effective legislation, the Mayor should initiate a scheme whereby large employers are encouraged to produce a publicly available document indicating their current distribution patterns. Town centre plans should then be drawn up aimed at reducing the number of trips and / or rescheduling to less congested periods.
Taxis – Switching to zero carbon taxis will be an important step forward. However, the proposal is silent on the question of who pays for the new vehicles?
Conclusion
The Mayor needs to address the role of public and private sector employers in this strategy. There also needs to be a much clearer role for workers and trades unions – not mentioned once in the document. Nowhere is this omission more obvious than the Chapter 10 – ‘Transition to a low carbon economy’. The draft strategy references the Paris Agreement as a driver for action. This contained an important statement about the need for ‘a just transition’. Unfortunately this requirement doesn’t figure at all in Chapter 10 or anywhere else in the document.
The reason why Governments signed off on this principle is because there was a recognition that workers should not be disadvantaged during the transition. The proposals in the strategy are far-reaching and they also have implications for the employment of workers across a range of sectors.  
Just Transition is a framework that has been developed by the trade union movement to encompass a range of social interventions needed to secure workers' jobs and livelihoods when economies are shifting to sustainable production, including avoiding climate change. Trade unions are important stakeholders in the transition to a low carbon economy and failing to reference this in the strategy needs to be addressed.
Graham Petersen
Sent on behalf of:
Battersea and Wandsworth Trades Union Council, Furzedown Low Carbon Zone and Greener Jobs Alliance.
15/11/17
AIR QUALITY APPENDIX – Comments (in italics) against specific proposals.
. OBJECTIVE 4.1 SUPPORT LONDON AND ITS COMMUNITIES, PARTICULARLY THE MOST VULNERABLE AND THOSE IN PRIORITY LOCATIONS, TO HELP EMPOWER PEOPLE TO REDUCE THEIR EXPOSURE TO POOR AIR QUALITY.
Policy 4.1.1 Make sure that London and its communities, particularly the most vulnerable and those in priority locations, are empowered to reduce their exposure to poor air quality.
Comment – Empowerment is not only about providing information it is about supporting those who want to act on the information. The Mayor needs to promote networks of community activists who can support empowerment. This means supporting skills development and awareness to reduce exposures. For example, workers are vulnerable to victimisation if they raise concerns about poor air quality. In workplaces that have high emissions it means working with trades unions and others to give employees a voice.
Proposal 4.1.1b The Mayor will aim to do more to protect London’s schoolchildren by reducing their exposure to poor air quality at school and on their journey to and from school.
Comment – The proposal needs to include all education locations not just schools. This point is referenced in the text but needs to be stated in the proposal to ensure it receives proper attention. The fact is some of the most polluted workplaces / locations are in the FHE sector in London. For example, studies have shown that 42% of all London FE colleges are in areas exceeding EU limits. The schools audit programme should be extended to tertiary education.
Proposal 4.1.1c Through the London Plan the Mayor will consider policies that mean new developments are suitable for use and for their particular location, taking into account local air quality.
Comment – We welcome the cross-referencing to the London Plan. However, it will be important to see what powers local communities will have to prevent developments that are not consistent with air quality or wider social justice issues.
Policy 4.1.2 Improve the understanding of air quality health impacts to better target policies and action.
Proposal 4.1.2a The Mayor will produce and maintain the London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (LAEI) to better understand pollution sources in London.

Proposal 4.1.2b The Mayor will work with boroughs to safeguard the existing air quality monitoring network and enhance it by exploiting new technologies and approaches such as personal and localised monitoring.
OBJECTIVE 4.2 ACHIEVE LEGAL COMPLIANCE WITH UK AND EU LIMITS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, INCLUDING BY MOBILISING ACTION FROM LONDON BOROUGHS, GOVERNMENT AND OTHER PARTNERS.
Policy 4.2.1 Reduce emissions from London’s road transport network by phasing out fossil fuelled vehicles, prioritising action on diesel, and enabling Londoners to switch to more sustainable forms of transport.
Proposal 4.2.1a The Mayor will promote and prioritise more sustainable travel in London including walking, cycling and public transport, as part of the Healthy Streets Approach.
Comment - Much more recognition is needed in this proposal of the reason why people use cars. The current alternatives are either not considered safe, are too expensive or not efficient for the journeys needed. It also fails to recognise that the majority of vehicle use is work-related. It follows that employers should have much clearer responsibilities. The Mayor needs to encourage employers to support their workforce to make the switch. This could be done by providing a lead where the GLA is the employer.
Proposal 4.2.1b The Mayor, through TfL, will clean up the bus fleet by phasing out fossil fuels, prioritising action on diesel, and switching to zero emission technologies.
Comment – Figure 12 on Page 75 is confusing. It states that TfL will ‘buy only electric or hydrogen double decks’ in the’ Now’ column and then repeats the pledge in the ‘2025’ column.
Proposal 4.2.1c The Mayor, through TfL, will reduce emissions in the taxi and private hire fleet by phasing out fossil fuels, prioritising action on diesel, and switching to zero emission technologies.
Comment – This proposal has major implications for the livelihoods of thousands of taxi drivers in London. It provides an opportunity to ensure a just transition to a cleaner sector. This will only be achieved if there is full consultation with drivers and relevant trades unions over the introduction of incentives and other measures for the industry.
Proposal 4.2.1d The Mayor aims to reduce emissions from private and commercial vehicles by phasing out and restricting the use of fossil fuels, prioritising action on diesel.
Proposal 4.2.1e The Mayor aims to reduce emissions from freight through encouraging a switch to lower emission vehicles, adopting smarter practices and reducing freight movements through better use of consolidated trips.
Comment – It is clear employers in the freight sector are not doing enough to minimise emissions. In the absence of effective legislation, the Mayor should initiate a scheme whereby large employers have to produce a publicly available document indicating their current distribution patterns. Town centre plans should then be drawn up aimed at reducing the number of trips and / or rescheduling to less congested periods.
Proposal 4.2.1f The Mayor will work with stakeholders to understand the barriers to deploying ultra low emission auxiliary power units on vehicles and encourage further take up in London.

Policy 4.2.2 Reduce emissions from non-road transport sources, including by phasing out fossil fuels.
Proposal 4.2.2a The Mayor will work with government and relevant groups to reduce emissions from activity on London’s waterways.
Proposal 4.2.2b The Mayor will work with government and other partners to seek reductions in emissions from aviation activity in London and the south east particularly from Heathrow.
Proposal 4.2.2c The Mayor will work with government and other partners to seek reductions in emissions from rail transport and at stations.
Comment – These proposals are welcome but must be achieved in a way that engages with the workforce in all 3 sectors. It needs to be clear that ‘other partners’ includes the relevant trades unions that that represent employees who will be impacted by proposed changes.
Policy 4.2.3 Reduce emissions from non-transport sources, including by phasing out fossil fuels
Proposal 4.2.3a The Mayor will work with government, TfL, the London boroughs, the construction industry and other users of Non-Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM), such as event organisers, to prevent or reduce NRMM emissions.
Proposal 4.2.3b The Mayor will work with industry and other partners to seek reductions in emissions from construction and demolition sites.
Proposal 4.2.3c The Mayor aims to improve London’s air quality by reducing emissions from homes and workplaces, including through energy efficiency programmes.
Comment – Energy efficiency is a vital part of any emissions strategy but the reference is far too vague. Re:New and Re:Fit, the programmes referenced, require a massive expansion if they are to address this. Re:New which supports energy efficiency in homes has only directly supported less than 5% of households in London since it was set up. London has some of the least energy efficient housing stock in Europe and yet programmes have been based on short-term funding for projects that are not able to finance the kind of insulation measures needed. A far more comprehensive programme is required and one that also addresses the current dependence on European funding.
Proposal 4.2.3d The Mayor will work with government to seek reductions in emissions from large scale generators producing power for commercial buildings in London.
Proposal 4.2.3e Through the London Plan the Mayor will consider policies to reduce the impact of new industrial and waste sites on local air quality. The Mayor will also work with regulators and industry to reduce emissions from existing sites and will address the antisocial burning of waste and the inappropriate use of bonfires.

Policy 4.2.4 The Mayor will work with the government, the London boroughs and other partners to accelerate the achievement of legal limits in Greater London and improve air quality.
Proposal 4.2.4a The Mayor will use the London Local Air Quality Management (LLAQM) framework to assist and require boroughs to exercise their statutory duties to improve air quality and will exercise statutory powers as required.
Proposal 4.2.4b The Mayor will work with the government to achieve full legal compliance with UK and EU limits as soon as possible.
Comment – The 18 actions listed here are all needed. There are additional ones that are needed to ensure that objectives are realised. These include targeted measures for employers:
i)                    Introduction of clear legal duties on employers. The current statutory framework fails to address the direct and indirect external emissions of businesses. Outdoor and internal pollution are occupational health risks that employees are exposed to. They must be provided with information and support to reduce these exposures. Recognised trades unions must be consulted on the adoption of appropriate control measures.
ii)                   Increase funding to the HSE and the Environment Agency to ensure that standards are effectively regulated.
Proposal 4.2.4c The Mayor will work with European institutions, other European cities and city networks on efforts to minimise transboundary pollutions.

Policy 4.2.5 The Mayor will work with other cities (here and internationally), global city and industry networks to share best practice, lead action and support evidence-based steps to improve air quality.
{no proposal with this policy}
OBJECTIVE 4.3 ESTABLISH AND ACHIEVE NEW, TIGHTER AIR QUALITY TARGETS FOR A CLEANER LONDON BY TRANSITIONING TO A ZERO EMISSION LONDON BY 2050, MEETING WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION HEALTHBASED GUIDELINES FOR AIR QUALITY.
Policy 4.3.1 The Mayor will establish new targets for PM2.5 and other pollutants where needed. The Mayor will seek to meet these targets as soon as possible, working with government and other partners.
Proposal 4.3.1a The Mayor will set new concentration targets for PM2.5, with the aim of meeting World Health Organisation guidelines by 2030.

Policy 4.3.2 The Mayor will encourage the take up of ultra low and zero emission technologies to make sure London’s entire transport system is zero emission by 2050 to further reduce levels of pollution and achieve WHO air quality guidelines.
Proposal 4.3.2a The Mayor, through TfL, will ensure all taxis and private hire vehicles are zero emission capable by 2033 and the bus fleet is entirely zero emission by 2037.
Proposal 4.3.2b The Mayor, working in partnership, will reduce emissions from fleet vehicles in the GLA group, the London boroughs and the wider public sector by switching to zero emission capable vehicles.
Proposal 4.3.2c The Mayor, working with government, TfL, the London boroughs and industry will aim for London’s entire transport system to be zero emission by 2050.
Proposal 4.3.2d The Mayor, through TfL and the boroughs, and working with government, will implement local zero emission zones in town centres and aim to deliver a central London zero emission zone from 2025, as well as broader congestion reduction measures, to pave the way to larger zero emission zones in inner London by 2040 and then London-wide by 2050 at the latest.
Proposal 4.3.2e The Mayor will work with the industry and other partners to seek solutions to reduce emissions from tyre and brake wear.
Comment – These proposals are welcome but fail to sufficiently address the urgency of air pollution measures.
Policy 4.3.3 Phase out the use of fossil fuels to heat, cool and maintain London’s buildings, homes and urban spaces and reduce the impact of building emissions on air quality
Proposal 4.3.3a Through the new London Plan, the Mayor will consider policies so that all new large-scale developments in London are ‘Air Quality Positive’, and maintain Air Quality Neutral requirements for all other developments.
Proposal 4.3.3b Through the new London Plan, the Mayor will consider new policies on heat and power provision to make sure CO2 and pollution targets are achieved in a coordinated way with no air quality disbenefits.
Proposal 4.3.3c The Mayor, working with London’s boroughs and other partners, will seek to reduce emissions from wood and other solid fuel burning in London.

Policy 4.3.4 Work to reduce exposure to indoor air pollutants in the home, schools, workplace and other enclosed spaces
Proposal 4.3.4a The Mayor, through educational materials, campaigns and the planning system will raise awareness about indoor air quality.
Proposal 4.3.4b The Mayor, through TfL, will conduct further research into the health risks of particulate matter on the London Underground network and take appropriate measures to mitigate the adverse effects of any risks found where practicable.
Comment – There is a failure here to recognise the specific duties on employers and businesses that own and run workplaces where indoor air pollution is at dangerous levels. Many employers fail to carry out their responsibilities in this area because they are concerned it will have a negative impact on employees and in some cases members of the public. For example, high street chains who fear that it will influence foot fall in their shops. In the absence of any new legal requirements on employers in new legislation (eg. Clean Air Act and / or Environment Protection Act) the Mayor will need to have a robust voluntary programme in place to ensure that employers implement appropriate control measures.