This week I discovered that carbon emissions in the City of London are considerably lower than those in the suburbs. This makes sense; the ring of steel combined with the congestion charge has removed most unnecessary traffic from the City; public transport in the City is excellent and it makes little sense to own a car in the centre of London when it is rarely going to be used.
As the number of cars has gone down and the pavements have got wider (see Cheapside improvements), it has also become increasingly enjoyable to walk. This is a good starting point for seeing if it is possible to make an even greater contribution to the reduction of carbon emissions. Transition towns are committed to reducing carbon emissions, to recycling as much as possible and to encouraging the use of locally-sourced produce.
The first of these towns in the UK was Totnes in Devon. This has a population of seven thousand, not dissimilar to the residential population of the City but it also has four organic butchers in its high street. Given that the City already has a huge advantage because of the reduced dependency on private transport, there could be the beginning of a discussion about creating a similar set up here.
In rural areas with lots of easily sourced food, it is easier to create a transition town than in one of the most built-up areas in Europe but given that so many of us live in dense urban areas, there is a real and really interesting challenge in making this happen here.
Picture shows the allotments on Golden Lane Estate