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London infrastructure not up to scratch

Engineers have branded all major aspects of London’s infrastructure as inadequate in a scathing report.

The Institution of Civil Engineers awarded nothing higher than a B- in its assessment of the capital’s transport, energy, water, waste and flood management networks.

This meant all five key areas were seen as below the standard of a straight B grade, which would represents infrastructure that is ‘adequate for now’.

ICE London director Miranda Housden said the 2012 Olympics had shown what could be achieved in London, but that long-term investment was necessary to prepare the city for the future.

“London is the fastest growing region in the UK, with its population forecast to reach 10M in the 2030s,” she said.

“Our networks must be able to accommodate the growing demands that will be placed on them, and we need to ensure we position ourselves as major competitors in the global race - maintaining our standing as a world class business hub, cultural centre and tourist destination.

“This requires long term commitment to invest in and improve London’s infrastructure in a sustainable way and, importantly, clear strategic direction backed by supportive policy and regulatory frameworks. Given the lengthy lead in times for delivering new and upgraded infrastructure, concerted action by the government and industry is needed now.”

The ICE State of the Nation: London Infrastructure 2014 report gave the following grades, where C represents ‘requires attention’ and B denotes ‘adequate for now’:

  • Transport: C+
  • Flood Management: C
  • Energy:  C-
  • Water: C
  • Waste: B-

The ICE’s key recommendations to improve infrastructure in London are:  

  1. Remove barriers to cycling through reducing the principal threats to cyclists, particularly: better equipped vehicles (especially HGVs); training for cyclists, HGV, bus, coach and construction drivers; and delivery of cycle infrastructure that minimises conflict
  2. Address aviation capacity in the South East to maintain London’s status as a business hub, cultural centre and tourist destination
  3. Continue to develop strategies for the long-term development and decarbonisation of London’s energy supply and use
  4. Create realistic expectations about flood risk by improving community engagement and increasing the use of adaptive natural drainage systems
  5. The mayor should develop a circular economy roadmap for London setting out the Greater London Authority’s approach to unlocking value from waste

Readers' comments (3)

  • What about infrastructure in the rest of the country? There is life outside the M25 that appears to be suffering because all the limited infrastructure investment is being concentrated inside the M25. Perhaps if investment took place in the regions it would stop London being 'the fastest growing region in the UK' and reduce some of the strains on the capitals infrastructure.

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  • It would be great if there was a link to the report in the above article

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  • Maybe the statement in the above article is over-simplifying, but I don't think it helps telling people that aviation capacity needs addressing. Politicians and decision makers would be offended by such a simplistic statement. Surely the key recommendation should be a recommended solution? It seems to me that the ICE is following the debate rather than leading it. Why is a cycle safety issue at number 1, referring to the upgrading of lorries and training for drivers in a civil engineering report, apart from it seems to be the in-vogue political topic of the moment?

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