Mayor admits London not on course to hit solar targets

The Mayor today admitted that he is not on track to reach his own solar electricity generation targets,

Since taking over as Mayor he has increased the capacity he inherited by only 34 per cent, he admitted.

At Mayor’s Question Time, he agreed with me that the need to get planning permission in certain circumstances is creating too many barriers to the swift progress we need in solar for London and has now promised a proper action plan.

For months, I have been campaigning for new policies and working with homeowners and businesses across London who are also frustrated in their attempts to install solar for greener energy.

The Mayor’s own Solar Action Plan set a target for his GLA programmes to almost double London’s current installed capacity but revealed today he is only a third of the way there.

Watch my questions here:

I believe that the Mayor and his team can help remove these barriers, through:
• Influencing council planning departments,
• issuing new London Plan Guidance, and
• raising the issue with the Secretary of State to amend the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.

People from all over London have got in touch with me about their planning issues with solar panels in conservation areas or for listed buildings and this is why I keep pushing the Mayor to help.

Good green-minded businesses are affected too. I visited the Rio cinema in Hackney and saw for myself the roof where they want to install solar panels that could power their projectors. Yet because it’s a listed building they are struggling with getting planning permission.

More positively, the lawyers at Doughty Street Chambers just got their application for solar panels on their listed offices in Camden approved but not without a struggle.

There are so many examples like this where good people are facing planning delays and barriers.

I’ve been waiting since last September for research from the Mayor on the planning issues, so I am pleased he finally promised an action plan today. I will be making sure it brings real change and makes a difference to the thousands of Londoners desperate for green energy.

London lags severely behind the rest of the UK in solar capacity. The latest data from Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) shows that London only had 112 MW of installed capacity in 2016 and 129 MW in 2020.