Thursday, 3 July 2008

Boris's 'number one priority' to begin in September

Last month Boris Johnson assured London that protecting the environment was his 'number one priority.' However, despite this, an environmental advisor will not be available to report to the Assembly until September.

The admission came in a report to next week's Environment Committee. According to the report:

Mayor Johnson has yet to appoint a senior advisor/Deputy Mayor whose remit covers environmental issues. After liaising with the Mayor’s team, the Committee has been assured that a Deputy Mayor for the Environment will be available to the Committee for its 2 September meeting.

The report also admits that there is no timetable to produce Mayoral Stategies on air quality, ambient noise, municipal waste or climate change. The Mayor is required to set these out by law.

Of course big decisions on the environment have already been taken. The biggest of these was to drop the appeal against the Thames desalination plant at Beckton

The decision to give permission for a plant which will cost at least £200 million to construct, when at least nine million litres of drinking water are lost through the capital's Victorian mains every day, was described by Green Assembly Member Jenny Jones as "frankly idiotic."

However, despite the protests and despite the lack of a formal environmental advisor, the plans are still going to go ahead. 

Yesterday Boris claimed that he had a 'superabundance' of advisors. But with such confusion over what each of their roles are and with key roles as yet unfilled, it is not yet known just what kind of advice he is getting and from where that advice is coming.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Never has one man had so many number ones. He's doing number ones all over the place. What is it with this man and his inability to keep it in?

chris said...

Come on. Everyone knows Boris and Cameron 'couldn't give a monkeys' (as he always puts it) about the environment. The fact that the only environmental credential he could point to during his campaign was the fact that he can ride a bike says it all. It's the equivalent of teh 'but lots of my friends are gay' type answer.

zanuliebours said...

No he doesn't care about the environment and neither do we. Why do you envirohysteriacs think that anyne cares what you think?!? That is democracy. Get it. We won. You lost. We get to ride our 4x4s and do whatever we want bacause WE WON AND YOU LOST. Get over it.

Anonymous said...

envirohysteriacs?! Where did you find that one? The Alex Jones bumper book global conspiracy?

John B said...

...a plant which will cost at least £200 million to construct, when at least nine million litres of drinking water are lost through the capital's Victorian mains every day...

Err, if fixing the leaks would cost more than building and operating the plant, then it still makes more sense to build the plant.

@ ZanuLiebour (can we treat people who equate the current mildly incompetent government with Zimbabwe's genocidal maniacs in the same way we treat Holocaust deniers, please?) - the point is that Call-me-Dave is trying to pretend to the public that he *does* care about the environment, so pointing out that Tories are actually selfish cunts like yourself is a worthwhile exercise...

The Tory Troll said...

John- Sorry I should have made my point clearer. The desalination plant is being built as part of a bigger deal with Thames Water by which their repairs to the leaks will be done over a longer period, so it will actually contribute to the waste

But regardless of this, desalination plants are notoriously inefficient and expensive and are therefore typically only used as a last resort. London is not in that position. However, the plant will be big business for Thames Water though, which repairing leaks will not of course. Hence the deal.

Alex said...

can we treat people who equate the current mildly incompetent government with Zimbabwe's genocidal maniacs in the same way we treat Holocaust deniers, please?

Hear, hear! Boris himself is exhibit A; he likened the renationalisation of Railtrack to Mugabe in an article in the Torygraph...

The Tory Troll said...

Oh dear so he did. Here's the link

What a guy.

As it happens, Boris's campaign team were pretty keen on the comparison as well. As documented here.

John B said...

"desalination plants are notoriously inefficient and expensive and are therefore typically only used as a last resort"

I get your point - although I think when you have partially saline water like the Thames Estuary, it's a much simpler filtering process than the 'boiling the sea' desalination they use for water in Saudi.

But either way - whether the action taken to increase the water supply is pipe repairs or building the plant, the cost of supplying more water still falls on Thames Water.

The fact that Thames Water has decided to slow the pipe repair progamme and build the plant instead implies that it is cheaper for them to build the plant than it would be to repair the pipes.

(which, when you consider where the pipes are and what's above them, isn't entirely surprising...)

The Tory Troll said...

I am pretty sure it is cheaper (read more profitable) for them. Unfortunately that does not necessarily make it cheaper for us. The costs in the short term of repairing the leaks are obviously huge, but once that initial expense has been spent, we will have more than enough water to meet our needs without having to pay for Thames Water to turn brackish water back into drinking water.

John B said...

I'm still missing something here. Remember, Thames Water's charges to us are set by the government and don't depend on its spending.

Case 1: Thames Water builds a desalination plant, providing 1m litres of water per minute, with a total cost (ie project cost plus expected running costs) of £150m

Case 2: Thames Water mends enough pipes to save 1m litres of water per minute, with a total cost (ie project cost only) of £200m

In both cases, the costs to water users are the same; the only difference is that in Case 1 Thames Water makes more money because it's doing something more efficient. Surely that's the best outcome for everyone...?

Nick said...

Your first para is misleading.

Its not the Assembly who won't have an environmental advisor - and anyway they don't need one, they have two Green Party members there:-) - its Boris who won't have one. And theres the rub...

The Tory Troll said...

It relates to the quotation given. They are not available to the relevant committee. He/she could be hired before then of course. We will have to wait and see.

The Tory Troll said...

John- I don't know where you got your figures from. The figure I have is 200 million for construction of the plant alone, not 150 million total. We would need more information but I suspect that repairing the pipes incurs bigger short term costs than the plant, hence the move to repair the pipes over a longer term. Full details can be found in the original appeal which I believe is linked in my earlier post.

The appeal was dropped on the condition that the repairs would be spread out so as to increase the flow of traffic. This was deemed a greater priority than mending the pipes. In order to still provide the water, the appeal against the plant was dropped. Now a hugely draining plant both in terms of money and electricity will be built to make up for the shortfall in the projected leak repairs.

It is as we have both demonstrated a very complex deal, which is all the reason why more time and more advice should have been taken on it. The decision was taken almost as soon as Boris won the election and was part of a rash of pro-motorist moves which do not seem thought out, including rephasing traffic lights which will, as I have written about elsewhere, almost certainly lead to a big increase in pedestrian deaths.

John B said...

Sorry - I lost in my edit that my numbers were made-up fictional ones.

I understand that Boris is doing this as part of his motorist agenda not out of environmental concern; and I agree with you about the fatalities point (and IIRC I made that point independently before the election).

All I'm trying to say is that the Mayor's only power is to give or not give permission to TW to build the plant - he isn't subsidising it or allowing them to raise rates, he can only veto it.

The fact that TW *wants* to build the plant rather than mending the pipes implies either that TW are idiots (which is unlikely; I've worked with their parent company before and the people there certainly aren't idiots) or that the total, long-term cost of building and running the plant is lower than the total, long-term cost of mending enough pipes to save an equivalent quantity of water.

The Tory Troll said...

I understand your point John. I wasn't suggesting that TW are idiots. Far from it. But the appeal against it was not idiotic either and was based on the interests of London rather than the economic interests of TW.

This new deal has presumably been made in the interests of London as well, but those interests appear to be the interests of motorists rather than Londoners in general.

It is also important to consider the high drain on energy resources that desalination plants create over many many years.

As I say it is complex which is all the more reason why environmental advice and more time should have been taken, which was the central point of the article.

angelneptunestar said...

Geez there are some long comments on this section, with great long words, complicated arguments and lots of stats......

I'll come back to you guys......