The Mayor’s Outer London Commission: Report




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2.133 Figure 2.34 shows firstly that traffic flow density is much lower in outer London compared with inner London. It also shows which outer boroughs receive the highest and lowest traffic flow densities, with densities likely to reflect traffic volume and the location of major thoroughfares and motorways (M4 and M11 for example).


Figure 2.34: Estimated traffic flow densities, flows for all motor vehicles (million kilometres) per sq km


2.134 Without accounting for area, outer London contains higher absolute flows of traffic compared with inner London. Total absolute traffic (vehicle kilometres) over time in the two areas is shown in Figure 2.35. Traffic has increased steadily in outer London from just over 21 billion vehicle kilometres in 1993 to just under 23 billion vehicle kilometres in 1999, and has since remained at about the same level. Traffic in inner London increased from 1993 to 1999, and has since fallen.


Figure 2.35: Change in traffic flows 1993-2007, outer and inner London, flows for all motor vehicles (million kilometres)


2.135 Freight and servicing vehicles make up an important component of the trips undertaken across London by road, rail and river. Despite the large number of rail freight movements along the corridors to the north, west and east of London, road freight makes up 89 per cent of freight by tonnage and furthermore it is expected to grow to meet the demands from London and the rest of the country. Figure 2.36 shows HGV freight flows across London. Within the M25 freight flows are high predominantly on radial routes through outer London, as well as along the orbital north circular road. Across London, freight accounts for 17 per cent of kms travelled. A 10 per cent increase in freight mileage would be more than all bus mileage in London. Commercial vehicles, such as those used for deliveries and waste collection, facilitate the day to day activities taking place in London. The number of vans (LGVs) is forecast to grow by 30 per cent between 2008 and 2031 with some growth in HGV activity.


Figure 2.36: HGV freight flows across London


Quality of Life

2.136 Outer London scores strongly on most statistical indicators of life and environmental quality. However, as Thompson1 noted, opinion polls suggest that while around four fifths of outer London residents are satisfied with their neighbourhood as a place to live, polls also indicate that residents have some specific concerns, with crime, the local street environment and anti-social behaviour coming at the top of factors that they regarded as needing improvement2.


Crime

2.137 Crime is cited as the main cause of concern for residents. While rates are higher than for the country as a whole, they are lower in outer London, and historically have been falling faster, than in inner London. Table 2.11 shows rates for particular types of crime. Newham and some other outer boroughs with significant ‘inner London’ characteristics, tend to have higher levels of crime, but this is by no means universal – Ealing, for example, experiences motor vehicle and burglary offences above the inner London average.


2.138 Rates of the four categories of crime shown in the table are consistently low in the borough of Sutton. Richmond has some of the lowest rates in outer London with the exception of burglary offences (which are approximately average). Kingston has one of the three lowest outer London rates in three of the crimes listed but is middle ranked for violence against persons.


Table 2.11 Crime rates in outer London boroughs

Source: Home Office Based on GLA definition of outer London


Open space

2.139 Access to open space is relatively good. Every outer London borough has more open space per capita than any inner borough3. The Mayor’s Green Capital Report also indicated that most of London’s important biodiversity is in the outer boroughs. Almost all of London’s Natura 2000 sites, designated under European Union directives, are in outer London. All but four of London’s 38 Sites of Special Scientific Interest are in the outer London boroughs, along with the majority of Sites of Metropolitan Importance, much of its Metropolitan Open Land, many of its allotments and all of its Green Belt. Figure 2.37 illustrates London’s strategic open space network. Figure 2.38 shows the number of allotment sites per 10,000 people for London.


Figure 2.37: London’s Strategic Open Space Network


Figure 2.38: Number of Allotment Sites per 10,000 people

Source: DMAG A lot to lose: London’s Disappearing Allotments: 2006


Atmospheric emissions

2.140 Figure 2.39 suggests that carbon emissions per resident are generally higher in outer London and especially in the boroughs on London’s boundary. This may be linked to relatively higher private vehicle usage (see paragraph 2.105).


2.141 The two main pollutants of concern for Greater London are particulate matter (PM10) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Ambient air quality in outer London tends to be better than in central and inner London apart from in the vicinity of Heathrow or very busy roads.


2.142 Figure 2.40 shows that the vast majority of London already meets the EU Limit Value for the annual mean PM10 in 2008 (shaded blue, green, yellow and orange). Figure


Figure 2.39 Carbon Dioxide Emissions per Capita

Source: Government Office for London Corporate Information & Analysis Team Nov 2006


2.41 shows that there are areas throughout Greater London that exceed the NO2 annual mean EU limit value (shaded yellow and red in Figure 2.41). The Mayor recently published his draft Air Quality Strategy for public consultation that includes London wide and central London focused initiatives to reduce emissions of these harmful pollutants and thus improve the health of Londoners.


2.143 Ambient air quality in outer London tends to be better than in central and inner London apart from in the vicinity of Heathrow or very busy roads, although the Government’s health based air quality objectives are unlikely to be met in at least part of every London borough. Ambient noise maps show a similar picture with outer London tending to be less noisy than central and inner. This is largely due to less noise from the transport network. Household recycling rates are higher in outer London at 23.5 per cent, compared to 17.9 per cent in inner London.


Figure 2.40 PM10 annual average concentrations (mg/m3) 2008

Figure 2.41 NO2 annual average concentrations (mg/m3) 2008


Housing quality

2.144 The Commission noted that the 2008 London Plan was prepared before the ‘place shaping’ agenda had been fully set. There is now extensive advice on this for different types of locality, not least town centres and residential neighbourhoods. It can make a key contribution to enhancing the quality of life for outer Londoners and should be reflected in the replacement Plan for implementation in light of local circumstances, playing to the strengths of local places – one suggestion was that it could help lead to the ‘rediscovery of London’s lost towns’ (Figure 2.42) to provide stronger foci and sense of place for established as well as new communities. This would complement the more sensitive approach to housing density and quality required to support increased housing output outlined in para 2.119


Figure 2.42: London’s ‘lost towns’

Source: Farrells


Social Infrastructure

2.145 While outer London anticipates lower growth than inner London, this growth will still be substantial: 890,000 more people, 330,000 more households and 140,000 more jobs up to 2031. To support this, and maintain quality of life for existing residents, more social infrastructure is required, especially in terms of health and education facilities. Historically, coordination of this function has sometimes been problematic. This is due to a range of factors, including the tendency for national education investment to take a short term perspective; fragmentation between the commissioners and providers of health services (and the distribution of infrastructure which underpins this process); the weight accorded to borough based Community Strategies, and the relatively isolated role of the Strategic Health Authority. For the longer term the Plan would appear to have scope to take a more proactive part in coordination of social infrastructure provision.


2.146 For the interim, to inform this process, the Commission has engaged in work to provide strategic gross provision benchmarks to help local stakeholders assess their net need for different types of social infrastructure in light of existing provision. Annex 6a, developed by the Healthy Urban Development Unit (HUDU) shows potential gross demand for additional health infrastructure arising from an increase in population generated from future housing supply. These broad requirements take into account an expected shift in activity from acute to primary and community care settings, but do not address the capacity of current health services and facilities. Annex 6b sets out projected education/school age populations to enable boroughs to test whether they have made provision to meet future education requirements in LDFs. Interpretation of parts of these tables should be informed by the associated TfL maps showing access to facilities. Consideration should be given to extending use of this material in a more formal planning context, for example through Supplementary Planning Guidance.


Broader Quality of Life issues

2.147 The Commission’s economic remit, and thus its approach to quality of life issues, differed from Robin Thompson’s brief for his work4 on the 2008 Plan, which had a stronger social emphasis. However, from the evidence it has considered the Commission would agree with him that “on most indicators, outer London is healthier, wealthier and greener than inner London and indeed most urban areas in the UK. Its residents like living there, although some are voicing some concerns with the quality of the local environment”.


2.148 The Commission noted his view “This may, to an extent, reflect ‘private wealth and public squalor’. As the quality of the private domestic environment grows, dissatisfaction is focused on the relatively poor quality of the external environment as manifested by poor paving, graffiti, abandoned vehicles, anti-social and criminal behaviour and the like”.


2.149 The Commission also noted his observation that “some polls suggest that outer London residents identify far more strongly with their local area than with London as a whole. Phenomena such as traffic congestion, high housing costs and more intensive development may give residents the feeling that inner city characteristics are intruding into the traditional suburban styles of living. To this could be added a sense of a “slide” in the perceived status and position of outer London as the outer Metropolitan economy out-performs it and the inner London regeneration powers on”.


2.150 In considering quality of life issues, the Commission would agree with Thompson that “this presents policy makers with difficult issues. The changes that are occurring in the economy and demography have deep rooted structural causes such as de- industrialisation, concentration of global finance and business growth sectors in the centre city and the growing popularity of inner city living with young professional people. These structural changes are by no means unique to London. They can be seen in, for example, New York and England’s next two largest cities, Birmingham and Manchester. They can only be managed by long-term strategies that address the deep-seated nature of some of these trends”.


Statistically, what are outer London’s long term economic prospects?


General trends

2.151 Despite the lengthy recession, it is likely that long-term economic growth will return. At the time of writing it was expected that London would emerge from recession either at the end of 2009 or the first half of 2010. GLA Economics then forecast that GVA growth would be –3.5 per cent in 2009 and –0.2 per cent in 2010. On an annual basis it was the thought that GVA growth might not resume until 2011, at 1.5 per cent. Employment normally lags output and so it was expected that the number of people working in London might decline through 2011. The then latest forecast is summarized in Table 2.12 below.


Table 2.12: Economic forecasts for London (2009-2011)

Sources: GLA Economics’ Autumn 2009 forecast and consensus calculated by GLA Economics.


2.152 While London has performed better than the rest of the UK during this recession, it is expected that in the recovery London’s growth will lag that of the rest of the country, if only because it has not fallen as far. An unknown factor that may have a strong influence on London’s economy is change to the regulation of the financial services sector. Since this does not normally occur after typical recessions it may affect historical patterns. Though this sector is concentrated in central London and employs a relatively small number of people, it is an integral part of the larger economy. But experience over time suggests economic growth after the recession may be above trend.


2.153 The same reasons that have made London a desirable place for business in the past remain so today. The recession has not changed London’s strategic position in the global economy – an important consideration for outer London. Table 3.1 illustrates the factors that are considered important to businesses, emphasising that London scores highly with a variety of factors.


2.154 GLA Economics projects that by 2031 London’s economy will add 775,000 jobs over 2007 levels (Annex 3). Of these around 140,000 will be in outer London, which equates to some 6,000 new jobs per year. On these trends conventional manufacturing employment looks set to continue to decline, by 224,000 jobs across London and by 2031 may be only a marginal employer. In contrast financial and business services are expected to grow by 360,000 while the hotels and restaurants industry is projected to add 235,000 jobs1 – the latter sectors are a key consideration for outer London because they are less closely associated with central London. Within outer London, office based employment is projected to increase by 70,000 2007 – 2031, broadly defined industrial type jobs are expected to decline by 94,000 and ‘other’ (mainly local service based) jobs to expand by 167,000 (see Annex 3B).


Future office demand in outer London

2.155 As a result of structural change in its historic occupier base (see above), office based development and employment in much of outer London have not been closely related over at least two economic cycles. This is partly because office based employment growth (see Annex 3A) has not been sufficiently ‘value added’ to justify strategically significant new office development across outer London (Annex 7). To be viable such development typically required rentals of more than £25/£28 per sq ft in historically ‘normal’ economic conditions (and more realistically £30 sq ft)2. While these rents have been achieved in a relatively few, attractive locations (mainly in west London), demand to sustain them has not been sufficiently widespread to lead to extensive, structural rejuvenation of the outer London office stock. Figure 2.43 (and more specifically Annex 7) shows that with some notable exceptions there has been relatively little office development in much of outer London over the last economic cycle. The series of London Office Policy Reviews for the GLA and London Planning Advisory Committee suggest that this inactivity also covered the previous cycle 1989 – 2001.
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