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National Air Quality Conference – Speaker Profile: Zack Polanski

As we head towards out National Air Quality Conference in London on 8th November, we are sharing more information on the speakers we have already announced for the event.

In the first of this series, we are introducing Zack Polanski, Deputy Leader of the Green Party and a Green Party London Assembly member, working at City Hall.

‘I’m Jewish and gay,’ he begins. ‘I was born in Salford near Manchester, studied in Wales and the US, and now live in Hackney.’

He’s skating over the fact that he attended the same Stockport school as your writer, but he’s at liberty to do that.

‘I’ve worked in prisons, schools, universities and nightclubs so I very much understand the lives of people working in the gig economy.’

He joined the Green Party in 2017 and in May 2021, was elected a Member of the London Assembly, when the Greens outperformed the Liberal Democrats by securing nearly 13% of the vote.

In the new Assembly, Polanski was elected to be the chair of the Environment committee, a position he still holds, while also being the Green Party spokesperson for Democracy & Citizen Engagement.

In December 2021, he proposed a successful motion in the London Assembly backing the Climate and Ecological Emergency bill, saying: ‘Assembly support for this sends a message to the Government that the UK must play its fair and proper role in reducing greenhouse gas and protecting and restoring biodiverse habitats.’

In 2022 he pushed the Mayor to reject plans to develop Gatwick’s second runway, a policy the mayor had previously lobbied for. Zack said at the time: ‘The Government’s plan to cut emissions from flights isn’t working – airlines are out of control, failing to meet even basic climate targets and marking their own homework.

‘It’s time to stop all airport expansion – we can’t expect the planet to be safe with the levels of flights we saw before the pandemic, let alone an increase.’

He also convened a cross party report into air pollution making recommendations to the Mayor – including passing a motion across the Assembly in support of Ella’s Law.

Zack has a declared ambition to make London ‘the greenest city in the World’ and is campaigning for the retrofitting of every home that needs it and the reduction of emissions across the capital. He had repeatedly pressed Sadiq Khan on his plans for a Zero Emission Zone, prior to the Mayor shelving the policy last week.

The Nation Air Quality Conference takes place on November 8th at Lords in London. Other conformed speakers include TV presenter and EV campaigner Quentin Willson; Angela Halliwell, Head of Carbon and Environmental Sustainability, National Highways and Stephen Inch, Air Quality Programme Lead, National Highways and Cllr Clyde Loakes, who leads on all environmental, climate and transport policies at Waltham Forest.

Early bird tickets are still available for the event.

 

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