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Policy SD2 Collaboration in the Wider South East


  1. The Mayor will work with partners across the Wider South East (WSE) to address appropriate regional and sub-regional challenges and opportunities through recently-developed strategic coordination arrangements.
  2. To secure an effective and consistent strategic understanding of the demographic, economic, environmental and transport issues facing the WSE, the Mayor supports joint working with WSE partners to ensure that plan-making is, as far as possible, informed by consistent technical evidence.
  3. The Mayor will take account of the views of WSE partners in discharging his Duties to Inform and Consult with authorities beyond London and will respond to their Duty to Co-operate requests for views on Development Plans insofar as they bear strategically on London.
  4. The Mayor supports recognition of long-term trends in migration in the development of Local Plans outside London.
  5. The Mayor will work with WSE partners to find solutions to shared strategic concerns such as: barriers to housing and infrastructure delivery (including ‘smart’ solutions - see also paragraph 9.6.7); factors that influence economic prosperity; the need to tackle climate change (including water management and flood risk); improvements to the environment (including air quality) and waste management (including the promotion of Circular Economies); wider needs for freight, logistics and port facilities; and scope for the substitution of business and industrial capacity where mutual benefits can be achieved.

London is not an island. Though it is significantly larger than other centres in the Wider South East, it is part of an extensive and complex network of centres of different sizes and functions. Some are of considerable strategic importance in their own right and the focus of their own sub-regional networks of centres. The network as a whole, and the orbital and radial linkages which hold it together, comprise the most productive region in the UK accounting for nearly half its output and making by far the biggest net contribution to the national exchequer.

The WSE is home to 24.2 million people (8.9 million in London), 10.0 million households (3.6 million in London) and 13.7 million jobs (5.7 million in London). It is projected to grow more rapidly by 2041 than other parts of the UK – in population terms by 21 per cent in London and 17 per cent in the WSE outside London. Household numbers are expected to increase by 32 per cent in London and 23 per cent elsewhere in the WSE.

Both London and the rest of the WSE benefit from this regional dynamism. The effects of London’s housing and labour markets and their related multiplier effects extend far beyond its administrative boundaries. 800,000 commuters travel into London each day (more than half of the workforce in some of the local authorities bordering London – see Figure 2.13) and make an important contribution to its economy as well as to the commuters’ own local economies when they return home. Figure 2.14 illustrate trends in migration flows into and out of London.

There are mutual benefits for authorities across the WSE in working together to tackle these regionally important matters. Historically, a formal regional structure was in place to coordinate approaches to them. A non-statutory strategic structure has now been put in its place to address them[7], facilitated by South East England Councils, the East of England Local Government Association, London Councils and the Mayor.


The new structure provides the basis for coordinated approaches to Government on pan-regional, general issues referred to in part E of the policy. Opportunities to collaborate should be considered where mutual benefits can be achieved. The promotion of good links to/from potential employment locations outside London by the Mayor to help realise corresponding employment opportunities within and outside London is an example of such mutual benefits.

This structure complements the GLA Act requirement for the spatial development strategy to address matters of strategic importance to Greater London (GLA Act, VIII, S.334 (5)) and the Mayor’s statutory Duties to Inform and Consult (GLA Act, VIII, S.335 ‘with adjoining counties and districts’, S.339 ‘authorities outside London’, S.348 ‘authorities in the vicinity of London’).

Authorities outside London have a similar Duty to Co-operate (Localism Act 2011) with the Mayor on relevant matters of strategic importance as part of the process of preparing their Local Plans. In addition, Planning Practice Guidance[8] states that ‘cooperation between the Mayor, boroughs and local planning authorities bordering London will be vital to ensure that important strategic issues, such as housing delivery and economic growth, are planned effectively’

[8] NPPG – Paragraph: 007 Reference ID: 9-007-20140306

The Mayor supports and encourages collaborative regional working through his planning activities. However, locally-specific cross-border matters between individual London boroughs and authorities beyond London may be addressed most effectively by the relevant local authorities on the basis of their Duties to Cooperate.

To inform local housing need assessments the GLA has prepared authoritative and consistent demographic projections across the whole of the UK, which take into account the significant short-term, cyclical changes in migration flows from London. Partners are also exploring the scope to collate other consistent regional datasets.