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3.1 Paragraph 8.20 of the London Plan states that the Implementation Plan ‘also addresses more specifically the strategic infrastructure that is required to support the growth set out in the Plan.’ This chapter in particular is also supported by the draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which indicates that local planning authorities ‘should work with other authorities and providers to assess the quality and capacity of transport, water, energy, telecommunications, utilities, health and social care, waste and flood defence infrastructure and its ability to meet forecast demands (paragraph 31). Green infrastructure, which is also covered in this chapter, is referred to separately and in recognition of its climate change adaptation and its landscape role (see paragraphs 154 and 167 of the NPPF).

3.2 This chapter aims to provide more detail on the strategic infrastructure required to support the growth of London envisaged in the London Plan (particularly housing). Initially the focus is on a London-wide overview of infrastructure requirements. However, further work will be undertaken to look in more detail at Opportunity Areas, Areas of Intensification and other strategic areas in more detail. Strategic infrastructure is defined as infrastructure that is relevant across large parts of London, provided on a network basis, or at least across boundaries, and is of a certain investment scale or where there is a known funding gap.

3.3 The structure set out below illustrates a comprehensive approach to the provision of strategic infrastructure to support the growth proposed in the London Plan. The structure has been applied to the different types of infrastructure.

  1. Identify strategic infrastructure within the following types of infrastructure:

  • Transport

  • Water

  • Energy

  • Telecommunications

  • Waste

  • Social Infrastructure

  • Green Infrastructure

  1. Identify for strategic infrastructure the need to meet existing backlog and proposed growth by

  • using data/research from GLA Group as well as from regulators, infrastructure providers, sub-regions and boroughs

  • making transparent and realistic assumptions about future efficiency savings, changes in standards and behaviour

  1. Identify infrastructure provision needed by 2031

  • liaising with infrastructure providers and sub-regional/borough representatives

  • prioritising and phasing them

  1. Identify infrastructure funding and delivery for cost estimates (see chapter 4 if non-specific) by

  • liaising with infrastructure providers, sub-regional and borough representatives

  • providing any costs available, e.g. unit costs, but highlight assumptions

  • acknowledging uncertainties, risks and barriers

3.4 It has to be highlighted that the baseline information for each type of infrastructure in line with the approach set out above is still under development and will improve over time with more/new information becoming available.


3.5 Earlier in 20118 the Mayor made a high level assessment of London’s overall need for infrastructure over the next twenty years, founded upon the projections about London’s future growth over the two decades to 2031 underpinning the London Plan. These suggest that by 2031:

  • London’s population will be 8.82 million – growth of 1.2 million over the period 2007-2031. By 2031, there are also likely to be both more young Londoners, and more older ones and a 690,000 increase in the number of those of working age.

  • This population growth is projected to contribute to the formation of 790,000 additional households. If total housing need from household growth is to be met, and the backlog of housing need addressed, there would need to be 34,900 additional homes per annum. To meet this additional need for housing, the London Plan sets a target for provision of 322,100 additional homes between 2011-2021.

  • As far as the economy is concerned, the Plan projections suggest an additional 776,000 jobs, with a continued shift towards the service sectors. It is likely that there will continue to be particularly strong employment growth in central and inner London.

3.6 These trends will mean an increased demand for infrastructure of all kinds in Greater London; for that reason the London Plan gives greater prominence to infrastructure planning through this Implementation Plan that will provide a sound framework for addressing the issue at London-wide and more local levels.

3.7 There are a number of source documents for infrastructure needs in London. The Government has just produced its second National Infrastructure Plan last year9 Estimates of London’s general infrastructure needs have also been made by London First’s Infrastructure Commission10 and the Policy Exchange. In addition, the Mayor’s Transport Strategy looked at the likely need for transport investment beyond the TfL Business Plan,11 and work to inform preparation of this Plan gives a high-level view on provision of strategic infrastructure.

3.8 There is no comprehensive and generally agreed definition of infrastructure. This is reflected in the fact that different assessments of London’s needs address different forms of infrastructure. The London Plan (and this document) deals with a range of different kinds of infrastructure; London First gives a partial definition; the other documents give a list of examples. These are compared in Table 1, which shows that the only common items are transport and flood defences.

3.9 One reason for the differences between the approaches in these documents could be that much of the economic infrastructure in the National Infrastructure Plan is privately owned, but normally regulated, with investment the responsibility of the owners against the long-term customer funding. This is true for energy, water and waste, and communications. Consequently these services would not normally need to be funded through local authorities (the London First report contains a useful table setting out the different ownerships and market features/funding sources for different kinds of infrastructure). The lack of an agreed definition of infrastructure makes attempting to assess the infrastructure needed in London difficult.

Table 1: Comparison of infrastructure coverage

National Infrastructure Plan

CIL overview document

London First Infrastructure Commission

GLA Draft Implementation Plan

Transport – road and rail

Transport – road and rail

Transport – road and rail

Transport – road and rail




Digital communication



Flood protection

Flood defences

Flood protection

Flood protection

Water and waste management

Water and sewerage, waste

Water and Waste

Schools, hospitals, health and social care facilities

Social infrastructure

Play areas, parks and green spaces, cultural and sports facilities, district heating schemes and police stations and other community safety facilities

Green infrastructure

Source: Mayoral CIL – Draft Charging Schedule

3.10 The National Infrastructure Plan 2011 includes an infrastructure pipeline with over 500 projects/programmes worth over £250 billion. This is a UK wide figure and no regional breakdown is given, though there are regional examples of infrastructure improvements. (Taking London as 15% of the UK would give over £37 billion). London First quotes a report by the think tank Policy Exchange of £500 billion over the next decade for the UK as a whole, but do not provide a London estimate. (Taking 15 per cent again, it would be £75 billion). No breakdown or prioritisation of investment need is made by category of infrastructure in either report.

3.11 The Mayor’s Transport Strategy addresses costs and funding for London’s transport system, including the national railway as well as the modes for which the Mayor is responsible. It quotes a figure of £4.8 billion a year for the next five years and continuing investment of £3.5 billion to £4.5 billion a year in the period up to 2031.

3.12 A further source of information about London’s infrastructure needs is the core strategies and infrastructure delivery plans drawn up by London borough councils as part of their local development frameworks. There are limitations in using this information – not all boroughs have assessed and published their infrastructure requirements; those documents that have been produced have appeared at different times and with different assumptions about sources of potential funding (before and after the results of the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review, for example). They look over different time periods, and often deal with widely differing types of infrastructure (some focus on that for which boroughs themselves have responsibility, while others include that provided by the Mayor and/or national government). Infrastructure serving more than one borough is sometimes double-counted and funding sources are often not clearly identified.

3.13 All this said, these estimates are a valuable basis for a “bottom-up” assessment of need to complement the “top-down” ones referred to earlier. For this purpose, a number of assumptions have been made:

  • The costs of transport schemes to be funded predominantly by national government, Transport for London or Network Rail have been excluded. These are included in the estimates given earlier, and more information about them will be given about these later.

  • Borough figures for education, health and leisure have been used as given, although they often include assumptions about Government funding which may no longer be valid (because of the review of the Better Schools for the Future programme, for example)

  • Assumptions have been made about funding of particular infrastructure (the Thames Tideway Tunnel being a good example), which should be discounted.

On this basis, information from 24 boroughs has been used (over 70 per cent of the total).

3.14 If this information is used to provide an average of borough estimates of need, and this average is then used to provide a 33-borough estimate. This is shown in Table 2:

Table 2: Borough-based estimates of infrastructure need (multi-year)

Type of infrastructure

Estimate (£m)













Source: Mayoral CIL – Draft Charging Schedule

3.15 This estimate is generally in line with the details published by two London boroughs – Redbridge and Wandsworth – which have published Community Infrastructure Levy proposals.

3.16 Redbridge identifies £227 million of investment to support development over the period to 2017. Redbridge’s investment list covers:

  • Education

  • Transport

  • Leisure centres

  • Libraries

  • Open space

  • Health

  • Further education.

Of the total of £227 million, £177 million is for education and further education (the borough average derived from the exercise referred to in paragraph 3.14 is £147m) and transport accounts for £10 million (borough average £27million).

3.17 Wandsworth’s investment list covers:

  • Transport

  • Education

  • Health

  • Open Space

  • Community

  • Emergency services

  • Employment

  • Utilities

If the exceptional infrastructure costs associated with the development at Nine Elms are excluded, their estimated total cost of infrastructure is £224.3million. Of this, transport makes up £93.4 m and is again the largest single item; community (sports) facilities come next with £48.7m and then education with £26.8 million (transport is also the largest element of the Nine Elms costs).

3.18 If these boroughs’ stated investment needs are typical, then the total for all boroughs for the next five years would be in the £6 billion to £7.5 billion range. This suggests that the £10 bn estimate in paragraph 3.14 is a reasonable one. It also provides a basis for comparing total borough needs with the strategic transport requirement of £24 billion. In both cases, Government will also have a role in supporting investment, whether in education or transport. It is recognised that grossing up from individual borough figure has its limitations, and the Mayor intends to keep the position under review as more information becomes available as part of the London Plan Implementation Plan process.

3.19 In summary, it is possible to give an overall assessment of London’s infrastructure needs by adding the borough figure of £10.032 billion and the £24bn estimate of required transport infrastructure to give an estimate of £34 bn. If the longer-term estimates of transport need are added (£56-72 billion 2015-2031), a total estimated figure of £90-106 billion is obtained. Bearing in mind that this figure covers a longer time period than most of the estimates considered here, the London First figure of £75 billion may be a reasonable medium-term one.

3.20 The second aspect of the issue is the availability of resources. In 2010, according to the Government’s Public Expenditure Statistical Analysis, capital expenditure on transport in London by national and local government and public corporations in 2009-10 amounted to £3.899 billion; with £1.56 billion for education and £882 million for health. Decisions on public spending are made on a three year basis, so it is not possible to make a reliable estimate across the whole period being considered. However, it is clear that in the short- to medium-term at least, public expenditure is likely to be constrained. Under the 2010 Spending Review, Departmental Programme and Administration Budgets are set to reduce in real terms by 8.3% between 2010/11 and 2014-15 (with reductions of 3.4 per cent in Education, 21 per cent in Transport, 51 per cent in Communities and Local Government support for local authorities, and an increase of 1.3 per cent for Health). If capital expenditure is considered, the 2011 Budget announced that nationally, between 2010/11 and 2015/16, education will see a £3.9 billion cut, health will see an increase of only £100m and transport one of £400 million.

3.21 Across all these estimates, it is clear that transport infrastructure provided at national, London-wide and borough levels is probably the largest single area (in terms of cost and investment) of infrastructure that will be required.

3.22 Different forms of infrastructure are dealt with in more detail in the remainder of this chapter. It illustrates that every type of strategic infrastructure requires a very different approach.

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