Sydney gets Woking wake-up call

Sydney needs to step up and become a leader in sustainable living to rate alongside the world’s leading ‘green’ cities, the head of London’s Climate Change Agency has told an audience in Sydney.

Allan Jones, known as the ‘Green Commissioner’ to parts of the UK media, was appointed by the former London mayor Ken Livingstone, after his revolutionary work in sustainable living in the city suburb of Woking.

Jones transformed Woking, removing it from the national grid by generating electricity from thousands of photovoltaic (PV) cells on roofs across the area. By 2004 it was producing 80 per cent of its own power.

“There’s no point sitting in the back seat, we need to be on the front driving this agenda forward,” Jones told audience members at the Sydney City Talks event Green Transformers: revolutionising energy generation for a Sustainable Sydney.

Jones is visiting Sydney as a guest of Mayor Clover Moore and will undertake a variety of appointments and workshops with business leaders, developers and other interested parties on the subject of sustainable living.

“Sydney should act as the grandfather, and we’d like to see Sydney do something similar to what they’re doing in Los Angeles and New York for example,” he said. “To become the grandfather for Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth.”

Jones, who undertook groundbreaking work to tackle climate change at Woking Borough Council, was appointed Chief Development Officer to set up the London Climate Change Agency in 2004.

During his time at Woking Jones helped to install nearly 10 per cent of Britain’s solar energy photovoltaics in a town of only 100,000 people. Woking is also now home to the first fuel cell combined heat and power (CHP) system in the UK.

Between 1991/92 and 2003/4 Woking Borough Council achieved a 77.4 per cent saving in carbon dioxide emissions and reduced CO2 equivalent emissions for the whole of the borough by 17.23 per cent through the council’s own action.

“We’re facing a green revolution in the 21st century and it’s about to transform every aspect of our lives,” said Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore opening the event to support the Sustainable Sydney 2030 vision.

“Achieving a successful transition requires us to make big, transformative changes in the way we build, operate and live in our cities.”

For more on this event, see the August edition of Government News

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