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Reaction to London infrastructure plan

Senior figures from across the construction industry have hailed London mayor Boris Johnson’s vision for infrastructure in the capital at the midpoint of this century.

Johnson today launched a consultation on his 2050 London Infrastructure Plan, which includes up to £1.3trn investment in the city’s transport, energy, communications and water networks.

Atkins chief executive officer for UK & Europe David Tonkin said: “People from all over the world want to visit, live and work in London and it plays a key role in the economic prosperity of the UK.

“World-class transport, utilities, energy and digital infrastructure are vital to maintaining this position and this long term, cross-sector investment plan is the vehicle that will help deliver these.”

London School of Economics director Tony Travers said: “The capital’s railways, housing and schools will all require substantial investment just to accommodate the additional 1.5M Londoners government statisticians forecast will live in the capital within 15 years. 

“In reality, with higher densities will come a disproportionately greater need for investment. This plan makes it possible to draw up proposals for developing schemes and raising resources.”

BAM Nuttall chief executive Steve Fox (pictured) said: “We are encouraged by the visible commitment made by the mayor and the Greater London Authority to improving London’s infrastructure.

“It’s a strong signal to the industry and it gives confidence to major infrastructure contractors such as BAM who are heavily invested in London projects in setting our future business strategy.

“It means we can invest in people, training and our local supply chains across the capital to support the mayor’s London vision in the longer term.”

Civil Engineering Contractors Association chief executive Alasdair Reisner said: “Our industry has long argued that long-term visibility of workload is essential if we are to play our part in delivering world-class infrastructure in an efficient and timely manner.

“An infrastructure plan for London which has cross-party support will encourage innovation, better resource allocation, an improved skills base and a more stable workforce throughout the construction sector.”

Arup director Alexander Jan said: “The mayor has today launched a consultation on what is an unprecedented policy response to meet the needs of London’s population, which is growing at a rate of 2,000 every eight days. 

“Infrastructure investment activity will be required on an industrial scale not seen since Victorian times.”

London First director of strategy John Dickie said: “The mayor estimates we have to more than double London’s infrastructure spending – from an annual average of £16bn in 2011-15 to one of £38bn in 2016-50 – if London is to tackle the backlog of historic under-investment and keep up in the global race.

“We must prioritise ruthlessly and plan and deliver these investments efficiently, but we can’t shrink from the fact that we will all have to pay more. The costs can be shared across users, taxpayers and others who benefit directly – but they cannot be wished away.”

EC Harris global head of infrastructure Mat Riley said: “This is a step forward. For the first time, this plan looks at London’s transport needs collectively; not just as a list of projects.

“Investors, regulators, government and the public need to get behind infrastructure plans like these. If we start politicising the London Plan in the way that other national infrastructure investments have been, without making any commitments, delays will make London become a less attractive place to live and work and, ultimately, we will start to lose our competitive advantage on the world stage.”


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