An update from Leonie Cooper AM, London Assembly Member, Merton & Wandsworth, on how the GLA plans to lead the way in terms of reducing pesticide use and increasing habitats for biodiversity across London.

I am currently the deputy sheriff the Environment Committee as Joseph just said but when I was first elected in May 2016 I actually been named a chair of Environment Committee within about five days it's waiting with my colleagues and obviously coming into City Hall at a time when there was a new mayor is a huge opportunity to influence what's going to go in quite a wide range of new policies that the men was obviously going to produce candid on the same at the beginning of his eight-year period tourists have done the same at the beginning appears obviously we don't know at this point terminal Sonique might be the merit might just be the this four year period but he was obviously going to make quite a lot of changes and the draft environment strategy didn't come up until August 2017 so that was quite a little period in the in the committee to start to try and influence what the mayor was going to be putting into that strategy item so what might go into the housing strategy the transport strategy and the London plan and I'll come back to us in in a minute as to why it's important in those other strategies as well so the consultation on the environment strategy was August 2017 until November 2017 and I spent quite a lot of time working with a variety of different groups across London on making sure that they got some really good good quality responses into the team working on deputy mayor for energy and environment show you Rodriguez and nothing people talking to London Beekeepers Association and a wide range of other groups to make sure that something went in and then from November 2017 up until April of this year the team went off and kind of got into a darkened room and started analyzing all the different comments that had come in and I then heard from the pesticide Action Network in what we speaking mulch so that was towards the end of that period and I had the discussion about whether or not anyone had put the issue about go pesticide free in its one of the consultation responses and they all stood up from the environment he was known so I asked if it could be included at that point and as Jezzie mayor said at the beginning they did decide that they would include your reference to them and you may not have found it yet because it is on page 424 a very short document 124 if you want to look for it and that is actually it's good interesting is that is in chapter 11 which is the chapter that's called leading by example and I was a colleague here from 40 FL the the GLA the Greater London Authority includes not just the mayor and his team and not just the assembly and our supporting scrutiny teams but he'd also includes beyond the Greater London Authority the GLA and City Hall it also includes the whole of TfL and the land that's managed and owned by TfL the fire authority so that's all the fascinations that includes mopac the mayor's office for policing and crime slightly different relationship with the Met then it's also got the ll DC which is the London Docklands London Olympic Development you know it's the legacy corporations recovering the Olympic Park and then the OPD C which is the old oak spot royal and Development Corporation so there's actually quite a lot of land involved in that and the phrase that's been used in the document that says to reduce the use of use of pesticides and peat based products such as composts so it's not just talking about pesticides it's also talking about people based want lost as well which I really welcome now you know there are obviously that we've just been listening to Wesley talking about glyphosate but there are actually 41 products in use of course the UK according to the figures I've seen from a 2012 survey and so that's quite a wide range of things that we probably might need to start thinking about either reducing or cutting out all together if we can and I think one of the issues which although the GLA can't enforce what we're choosing to do over other boroughs that the methods have some powers of enforcement but instructing burrowers or instructing boroughs to put something that's interesting you talked about 1930 and other contractors it's actually very easy for buyers if they wish to put something into a contract when they're letting it you could put in two alternatives into a contract and say please price this up with a pesticide free approach I on them to Eisenberg II and other potential contractors are available and also please price up your your offer for doing this piece of work hot on an on a normal basis and then you can actually have a look at what the different prices were if if any and then choose accordingly I think what's really interesting is that a huge look at Network Rail Thames Water the wrong parts of Environment Agency they all now have policies that are clearly stating that they want to reduce the use of pesticides so I think this is a move that is gradually going to spread out and I think starting to write things into you know the contract documentation into the preliminaries when you're asking people to bid for contracts is a really good way forward and outside of London there's some really good practice starting to emerge Lewiston and Weybridge of two that I would comment to you to have a look at however thing and the the points that were being raised in the questions to Wesleyan once that weather is making which is we need more data on the impact on particular pollinators so I think actually that is an area where the GLA could probably step up now that we've just passed the environment strategy and that's now become a final version people say now what the final version of the transport strategy and the final version of the housing strategy the London plan will take a seemingly forever to finally and we've got to get through the examination public so that's still going to be a lengthy period but I think having that data and I think the GLA is quite well placed to work with the virus on gathering data and storing data and good use of Google as allow us to have quite good updates on what's going on in terms of open space across across London but there is just one one of the things that I would throw in and I was saying others that have come back to this in terms of the strategies and the work that I've done over the last two years through the committee but also we can do individual reports at Assembly members which someone rather grandly christened christened reporter ships I think they don't sleep in today dreadful live into Europe who knows and so we can do individual reports and I do one that was circled by the rest in the mayor's new housing developments at home with nature and one of the really important issues for me is about lots of habitat because there's not much say that we want to reduce pesticide use because we want to benefit pollinators if they've literally got nothing that they can go and pollinate I mean really we have to be really really careful about this and as you're aware one of the other areas that the mare is obviously focused on at the moment is the homelessness and housing crisis generally across the whole of London now if we spend all of our time just agree that with entity developments that are going to be impervious and impermeable and they don't include any at any other too diverse in nature we're going to have some real problems but not just for pollinators but I'll groups will be for us and our mental health so we need to maintain the green spaces that we have whether they be in metropolitan open land I always look Wormwood Scrubs is a dreadful name doesn't really get the right approach how lovely it is in France but you know we have lots of open spaces that we we need to preserve across London but preferably as we're remaking London and every time you walk out of your front door you see the cranes we need to be incorporating nature into those developments and one of the things that I commend to the mare in the home with Nate was looking at what other cities and other countries have been doing about the green space factor which is a technique for measuring that the fact that you've put some nature into your development and making it the Pleader tree for all developers to put that in now obviously we have to call it something of our own so we've called it the urban greening Factory and so the green space factor but I don't care what we call it it's now in the draft London plan and it's also in the environment strategy and one of the other things that we've been doing is giving out some money to people in their local neighborhoods to improve their neighborhoods and one thing that we have done at Walters which I think has been good is if people indicate to the council that they've been testing to take care of the small space at the base of trees sometimes they indicate it by putting a little fence around it and planting it with flowers and removing some of the overgrowth of the bottom of trees and starting to make their neighborhood incorporate some things that might be of interest to pollinators and also might look rather nice as well and I think those are the kind of things where we should be supporting people if they want to do that in their neighborhood now I am no way suggesting that that is some sort of panacea for the fact that local have had the most ridiculous amount of money taken away from them don't buy no means but I think encouraging people to take ownership of their own neighborhoods is something that we are personally I feel quite strongly about and I would have encouraged over my career before coming at City Hall and certainly it's something you know having having the sense that Transport for London is seeing the roads and remaking of roads should include biodiversity as well it's more bicycle lanes and that we ourselves can start to bring that biodiversity into our streets Pope's into what can be seen more as part of our overall habitat rather than just being seen as a place for parking and these numbers of privately owned vehicles [Applause]

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