Aerial view of East London

Infrastructure Plan 2050 Progress - March 2016

Overview of our current work programme

We have developed a flow diagram that provides a single picture of our current work programme. Further information on aspects discussed in this diagram are provided below.

How big is London going to get? 

In 2013, we began the 2050 work by looking at the long term population trends of the capital and future potential trajectories of growth, setting out scenarios based on various rates of job creation in the capital. We will update these figures during the summer, although we do not anticipate that the scale of growth will be significantly different from the original projections in terms of the challenge we face. We aim to provide more detail in terms of the spatial and temporal breakdowns of the data.

Yearly updates will then be available on our website and will be included in our Infrastructure Mapping Application for London (IMA LDN). Population projections will also be extended to cover the whole of the Greater South East.

Where will London’s growth go?

The London Plan review is underway, which is the primary vehicle for considering how and where London’s growth will be accommodated. A number of planning scenarios are being explored both within London and in areas outside the capital.

Within London

To aid the market, we have categorised all London’s opportunity areas in terms of broad phases of development, from those that are ‘nascent’ to those which are ‘maturing’. In future, as transport and other infrastructures are put in place, about two thirds of London’s growth will be contained within the 38 currently designated opportunity areas (new opportunity areas are being considered at the moment).

We are systematically looking for new sites of development opportunity, adopting various lenses, including borough boundaries, disused land owned by infrastructure providers, areas where public transport would support higher densities and our own local knowledge.

Outside London’s boundaries

The Mayor, the East of England Local Government Association (EELGA) and South East England Councils (SEEC) have been investigating options for more effective collaboration of strategic policy and infrastructure investment. At a Wider South East Summit last December Leaders of local authorities within the Wider South East (WSE) and the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) discussed the best way forward in terms of the collaboration arrangements and the priority areas of work which include preparation of the next full review of the London Plan, a common understanding of technical evidence, addressing barriers to housing delivery, making the case for strategic infrastructure investment. A Political Steering Group has been established to steer the strategic collaboration activities.

What infrastructure is required, across sectors, given that growth?

We developed a holistic view of what’s needed to keep London competitive and sustainable and improve Londoners’ quality of life. We reviewed the spectrum of infrastructure to understand the overall requirements in transport, housing, schools, waste and reuse facilities, green infrastructure, energy, water, digital, (and we aim to extend this to primary healthcare provision).  The London Plan review will set out in more detail an up to date position of the capital’s infrastructure needs (and on a broader scope as it considers all land uses in the capital).

However, currently, the overall quantum set out in the 2050 consultation document has not significantly altered. Nor has the guiding philosophy of the 2050 plan, which is that infrastructure provision will be driven fundamentally by land use decisions on housing and employment and the transport needed to connect them; in general, other forms of infrastructure should follow that lead.

The benefits of infrastructure and our priorities

Further work is being taken forward in terms of prioritising and phasing investments collectively, understanding how well objectives are met and what we can afford.

We have appointed Arcadis to develop a framework that articulates the benefits of the various work streams and identifies synergies across different programmes. This will be the first time in London that we will have set out an integrated plan to deliver all the benefits that infrastructure will generate and how different programmes across multiple sectors will contribute to the whole.

Creating this will help to prioritise our investments, both within and across different sectors, ensure public transparency and greater alignment of plans in the public sector, private sector and regulated utilities. Longer term, it will provide a clear basis for monitoring progress of the programme of work. External monitoring of the plans will also need to be set in place.

We have also carried out market research of Londoners’ attitudes to development. An update to our original survey will be carried out soon.

Paying for our needs: costs and funding considerations

Our original cost model for the 2050 work is being updated (this will be available on our website in the next weeks). Alongside this we will be developing a funding model initially focusing on areas of direct public sector responsibility. These will be used to cost the different scenarios highlighted above and set out options for paying for London’s infrastructure needs.

Improved infrastructure delivery

Since November 2014, the London Infrastructure Delivery Board has been the body to provide strategic oversight and leadership over how infrastructure is delivered in the capital.

As well as ensuring different sector leads are represented, cross-sector working has included: identifying London’s high growth areas to enable more joined up delivery in; improvements to regulation; supporting the development of IMA LDN; championing more holistic approaches, such as green infrastructure investment; doing more with less by utilising resources more intensively (the circular economy approach); encouraging use of existing technology and exploring innovation; and assessing the overall workforce requirements and therefore skills needs and job opportunities in the sector.

Groups supporting the delivery board are now in place (an outline of the current arrangements is set out at the end, whilst further information on related groups can be found here) and we very much welcome the active participation of many infrastructure providers and advisors in these.

Basil Scarsella, Chief Executive of UK Power Networks:

“Power supplies are the hidden heartbeat of London and as members of the GLA’s Infrastructure Delivery Board we look forward to collaborating with the next London mayor and continuing the great work done so far in planning to meet London’s future growing electricity needs.”

Updates on specific focus areas

Coordination/transparency of information

The infrastructure mapping application (IMA LDN) is the first tool to aid increased coordination amongst actors involved in planning and delivering infrastructure across London and to provide comprehensive information for better medium and long term investment decisions. The database currently contains over 12,000 infrastructure and construction projects either underway or being planned. The public version of the application is now live and we encourage you to review it.

It is critical that the mapping application is seen as the first version which can and will be improved over time; we would very much like your feedback. With the support of many of the utilities working in the capital and TfL, we have secured £250,000 from London’s lane rental fund to enhance the tool’s capabilities and improve the quality of the underlying data.


Our interventions in this regard started from the need to consider investment ahead of need in the electricity sector. We are grateful to various developers, Ofgem, national government, UK Power Networks, London First, and others for helping to find solutions that meet London’s growth without creating ‘stranded assets’. We are now looking to agree an approach or set of approaches that can be applied for electricity and potentially apply to other sectors.

We are also looking to encourage change where needed in areas of coordination, innovation, and consistent use of data. We are working with UK Regulators’ Network and others. We will be promoting closer alignment of London’s growth data and spatial policies with the planning done by the utilities; facilitating cross sector discussions to encourage companies to share plans in draft with each other and with planning authorities so that opportunities for efficiency and coordination can be identified and realised; encouraging the sharing of data for projects on longer term periods to allow more joined-up forward planning; developing common approaches to stimulating innovation across the regulated utilities, sharing best practice; and commissioning research on areas of common interest (such as understanding the wider costs and benefits of disruption, and the impact of investments on the wider economy).


Skills shortages are one of the top issues in the industry. Delivering all our infrastructure requirements will put further pressure on the sector. For instance, building Crossrail 2, the Thames Tideway Tunnel, and High Speed 2 in the latter half of this decade and in the 2020s will stretch the labour force capable of constructing these major projects. We’ve mapped some of the skill requirements for delivering the projects in the current version of infrastructure mapping application using a tool developed by the Construction Industry Training Board. We are finalising the arrangements needed to keep this updated and we will be looking at other tools and information sources.

Over the next few months, we will be mapping the initiatives ongoing at a national level to identify whether and what further interventions are required at the city level. We will consider the role of our Construction Skills Advisory Group and its relationship with the area review of skills taking place in London, as well as the findings of the Construction Leadership Council, which has been called upon by government to review what skills the sector needs to provide the homes the nation needs.

Innovation and technology

Data can help facilitate coordination and bring down costs. At the same time, London is a key global digital hub with significant app developers, software innovators, and tech pioneers. We will do more to leverage this knowledge into the infrastructure space. Working closely with UK Power Networks, National Grid and Thames Water, we are ready to launch a first challenge through the Smart London Infrastructure Innovation Network - The Smart London District and Infrastructure Innovation Networks identify and link up existing and emerging smart city activity and investments, support SMEs and the wider innovation community to seize market opportunities and scale them up, and provide a pipeline of targeted solutions to partners investing in London’s smart infrastructure and services. Work will continue in this space, collaborating closely with the Smart London Board. On 16 March, we will publish the Smart London Plan update; you’ll be able to access it here

An outline of current arrangements per sector:


Groups (and notes)


  • Energy sponsor and advisory groups were set up to develop the first spatial energy plan for London (first draft published February 2016), and will continue to jointly tackle the challenges and opportunities in the sector


  • The Water advisory group was set up to drive a collective response across the main players in the sector

Digital Connectivity

  • Digital connectivity group (formerly digital advisory group) set up in London to help spearhead improvements.

Green infrastructure

  • Green infrastructure task force.

Waste and circular economy

  • Circular economy subgroup is being set up to share opportunities and challenges for sharing materials and best practices


Video: London Infrastructure 2050

The short film below provides an overview of London’s infrastructure challenges and how collectively we can go about addressing them.

The video includes interviews with:

  • Professor Tony Travers, London School of Economics
  • Sir Terry Farrell, Farrells
  • Professor David Gann, Imperial College London
  • Steve Fox, CEO BAM Nuttall

Video: London Infrastructure 2050

London Infrastructure 2050 Issues and Challenges e-book

The e-book published in December 2015 provides an overview of key issues impacting London's infrastructure, and our forward approach addressing these, including:

  • determining how to pay for London's infrastructure

  • maximising the benefits of existing infrastructure

  • the London Infrastructure Mapping Application

  • attitudes to a growing London caused by population and employment growth

  • how London can use public transport improvements to boost housing availability

  • the development and transition towards a circular economy

  • creating more sustainable places for Londoners to live in

  • availability of affordable high-speed internet for every Londoner

  • ensuring security of energy supply and reducing carbon emissions

  • supply of water and management of wastewater systems