As a personal trainer in London, I’m keen to see a London Mayor who makes the health and fitness of everyone in London a priority. On balance, I think Sadiq Khan is the best candidate for a healthier London. Here are the main candidates’ policies on health & fitness.
Sadiq Khan (the Labour Candidate)
Sadiq Khan, MP for Tooting, has put the health of Londoners at the heart of his campaign for London Mayor. He is the bookies’ favourite to win.
In his manifesto document “A Cleaner Greener London”, he points to the Supreme Court’s damning judgment in May: London is in breach of the EU Air Quality Directive. Sadiq Khan is determined to expand the proposed ultra-low emissions zone (ULEZ), and to create a tree-lined pedestrianized Oxford Street.
Ambitiously, he supports the National Park City initiative, and wants to see over 50% of London to be green space.
Son of a bus driver, Sadiq Khan is firmly pro public transport. He wants to create a greener bus fleet in London, including electric-powered buses. He will freeze TfL fares to encourage us to leave our cars and use public transport.
On London’s roads, he wants to see more segregated cycle lanes and quietways, and to boost HGV safety to reduce this hazard for cyclists. His pro-cycling ideas extend to encouraging businesses in London to provide more lockable cycle-storage for employees.
To help tackle obesity, he proposes a cut in the number of junkfood outlets in the vicinity of London schools and colleges, and promote physical activity for London’s young people.
I’m really impressed with Sadiq Khan’s energy and passion. He gets my vote.
Zac Goldsmith (the Conservative Candidate)
The bookmakers’ runner up candidate for London Mayor 2016, Zac Goldsmith, son of the late billionaire James Goldsmith, is one of the more green-friendly Conservatives. His green credentials are impressive: he is the former editor of The Ecologist magazine. He is also extremely popular among his constituents as MP for Richmond Park & North Kingston.
Zac is pro-public transport, but not as ambitious as Sadiq Khan in cycle-friendly policies. Like Sadiq, he wants to impose tougher rules on HGV’s in London. He is also in favour of promoting electric cars in London.
Zac wants more green space in London, and vows to clean up existing local parks to make them safer and more enjoyable to use. But again, he’s not as ambitious on green space as the Labour candidate.
Sian Berry (the Green Party Candidate)
Sian Berry has the most ambitious policies for clean air in London. She’s my runner-up choice for London Mayor.
Her energy policy is revolutionary: for solar energy to provide 20% of London’s energy needs. Sian’s solar revolution would see solar panels across the entire TfL estate, and solar farms around the outskirts of London. She would create a London Energy Company (under TfL control) to power Crossrail with 100% clean electricity.
I particularly like Sian’s plan to use the Thames tides and river flows to generate electricity. The more clean energy we can generate, the cleaner air we can produce for Londoners. Clean air in London is a major health issue.
In January 2016 Sian Berry met the London Ramblers volunteers. Sian is keen to make London a more walking-friendly city, which includes protection of the Thames Path from encroachment by private property developers.
On road safety, Sian replied to the Road Danger Reduction Forum by pledging to improve road safety for all users (pedestrians, cyclists and drivers), and make this a higher priority for the Metropolitan Police. The more cycle and pedestrian friendly we can make London’s roads, the more physical activity we can achieve in London.
Caroline Pidgeon ( Liberal Dem Candidate)
The Lib Dem leader in the London Authority and a Southwark counciller, Caroline Pidgeon has plenty of political experience on issues affecting Londoners.
Like Sian Berry, Caroline is keen to see stricter enforcement of road traffic laws in London, particularly in relation to speeding and careless driving offences, to make our roads more cycle and pedestrian friendly. She also wants a trial ban of HGV’s in London at rush hour. To take freight off the roads, she proposes greater use of the Thames to transport construction materials.
Caroline Pidgeon is well known to be cycle-friendly. She wants to see an extension of the cycle hire scheme into south east London and Southwark. She also proposes a pedestrian/cycle bridge across the Thames to link Rotherhithe with Canary Wharf.
She shares Sadiq Khan’s policy of pedestrianizing Oxford Street, a great idea to give power to pedestrians in the heart of London’s West End.
I would have liked to see the candidates pledge more money for the promotion of sports and physical activity for young people in London, but on the whole I’m impressed with the candidates’ policies to boost the health and fitness of Londoners.
What do you think about the policies of the candidates for London Mayor 2016?
Dominic Londesborough is a personal trainer in London and author of the Fitness4London blog.