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Livingstone urges Scots to lead the green revolution with electric buses

Ken Livingstone: Pioneered green initiatives in London as former city mayor. Picture: Getty

Ken Livingstone: Pioneered green initiatives in London as former city mayor. Picture: Getty

The former mayor of London has urged Scotland to “seize and run” with the opportunity to lead a green revolution.

Ken Livingstone said he believed that Scotland has the power to be at the forefront of sustainable development.

Speaking on a visit to Glasgow to speak at a “sustainability” conference, Mr Livingstone called for the introduction of electric buses throughout Scotland, a project he had intended to launch in London had he been elected in May.

Mr Livingstone is now keen for officials in Scotland to make the breakthrough he hoped for himself before losing out to Boris Johnson.

He said: “The Scottish Parliament could introduce a properly regulated bus system and bring it under one structure: suddenly you are talking about thousands of buses.

“I had the bus manufacturers lining up to talk to me about introducing electric fleets in London. They [manufacturers]desperately want one big city or country the size of Scotland to go down this route.

“Once you’ve done it they will start to spread, but you need someone to make the breakthrough.

“They [Scottish officials] could almost certainly negotiate to have the buses manufactured here as well, which would create new jobs.”

Mr Livingstone was at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall to deliver a keynote speech at a conference on low-carbon built environment and infrastructure. He said progress in the field would lead to lower carbon emissions and boost the economy.

However, he said the biggest challenge to Glasgow and other UK cities is gaining political support and investment.

He explained: “We’ve got the most centralised government of any western democracy. A bit like Communist Russia but with an election every five years.

“Everything is controlled from Whitehall in England, here you’ve got a degree of latitude, which the Scottish Parliament should seize and run with.”

Mr Livingstone blamed politicians and civil servants of being “cowardly” and “risk averse” when it comes to investment and developing new technology.

 

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