Budget hotel chain Travelodge has backed the London mayor's proposals to cut carbon emissions from new buildings in the capital, but warned that businesses needed support from the Government to hit the new targets.
Ken Livingstone wants the amount of carbon emission savings generated by on-site renewable energy to rise from 10% to 20% on new buildings in London. It forms part of the Greater London Authority's target of cutting the capital's emissions by 20% by 2015 and 60% by 2050.
Travelodge, which plans to have 7,000 rooms in London by the 2012 Olympics, said it would work to meet the new targets on its hotels but urged Livingstone to provide financial incentives and guidance to meet them.
The hotel chain said operators needed advice on which renewable technologies - for example, solar, wind or biomass boilers - were the most efficient for different industry sectors. It also urged the Government to make energy-saving light bulbs VAT exempt.
The planning system also needs more consistency and clarity, according to Ian Pennell, operations services director at Travelodge. "There should be one set of minimum standards for all London authorities and the Government must take responsibility for getting major developers and hotel operators involved in the necessary joined-up approach," he said.
Faster planning consent for those companies that met more stringent environmental criteria would be an ideal incentive, Pennell added.
The mayor's proposals form part of the Government's Energy Review, which is looking at ways to cut carbon emissions from large commercial and public-sector organisations, including hotel chains.
The review includes the Emissions Trading Scheme proposal, covering about 5,000 organisations, which could reduce emissions by 1.2 million tonnes of carbon per year by 2020.
By Daniel Thomas