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Environmental groups call on future London mayor to make the capital more sustainable

Environmental groups have challenged London's mayoral candidates to turn the capital into a greener, healthier and more sustainable city.

A number of well-known groups, including the National Trust, RSPB, WWF and Greenpeace, have drawn together a list of 20 policy suggestions that would improve London's environment. These including phasing out all diesel black cabs and private taxis by 2020 and increasing solar capacity on the city's rooftops by ten per cent. In addition, the launch of an energy efficiency loan scheme could help London's small businesses make improvements like installing thermal wall insulation or upgrading equipment to low-energy models.

John Sauven, executive director at Greenpeace UK, explained that London's air pollution levels are some of the highest in the country, while the city also has the lowest level of solar deployment per household.

In a statement, he said that a serious vision for a cleaner London must aim to change these statistics. "From transport to energy, our dependence on dirty fossil fuels is holding London back. The capital has all the resources it needs to break free from it. It's time for the next mayor to give this cutting edge city the cutting edge power and transport systems it deserves," he said.

Matthew Spencer, director of environmental think tank Green Alliance, agrees. He warned that London was at risk of becoming a victim of its own success.

"London is a dynamic city, but if it's to remain a healthy place to live and work it also has to become a greener city," he said. "London is unusual in the UK in having most of the powers it needs to make itself greener without waiting for central government. We've suggested 20 practical ways the next mayor can use their power on behalf of London citizens seeking a more liveable city," he said.

The NGOs have also endorsed proposals to increase minimum efficiency standards in the private rental sector to Energy Performance Certificate Level C or above by 2025, as well as improving recycling and food waste schemes, and banning diesel vehicles from the city centre during peak times.