The London Assembly (LA) environment committee launched its report, “Growing, Growing, Gone: Long-term sustainable growth for London” which identified recommendations for handling an increase in the population from the current total of 8.6 million recorded in 2014 figures.
Without good planning, London could suffer unreliable energy supplies and excessive carbon emissions; a shortage of drinkable water; contaminated flooding caused by sewage overflow; and habitat destruction resulting in fewer green spaces, the report claimed.
London’s population reached a post-Second World War low-point in 1981 of about 6.6 million, since when it has grown steadily. This growth is likely to continue, according to the report.
Darren Johnson, chairman of the LA environmental committee, wrote in the report: “London’s population is set to grow by around 100,000 each year. At this rate by the middle of the century it may need to provide housing, workplaces, recreation, energy and water to accommodate 11 million, 12 million people or even more.”
“This growth raises huge environmental challenges at a time when we need to be reducing them,” said Johnson.
London faces challenges in three key areas according to the report: water shortages and also flooding problems; reducing carbon emissions while energy demands grow; and pressure on the natural environment posed by the city’s growth.
The growth of the population in London will lead to water shortages, yet a forecast increase in rainfall will pose challenges to the sewerage system. The report calls for a long-term sustainable water strategy tackling storage as well as disposal of water.
The continued growth in the city’s population will put pressure on parks, rivers and public and private gardens and the report calls for an increase in the diversity of uses to which green spaces are put.
London faces increased energy demands, while at the same time needing to reduce carbon emissions faster to catch up to its targets. The report highlights that savings can be made by adopting new and more efficient technologies.
“These will use energy in different ways and perhaps in different forms, so there will be a need for new infrastructure to deliver it, such as heat networks, vehicle charging points and electricity storage.
The distribution infrastructure will also need to accommodate new sources of energy supply, such as solar panels, combined heat and power, and heat pumps,” the report said. Enditem