Official figures are underestimating London's population growth: Housing, transport and general infrastructure can't keep up

Catherine Neilan
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Early Morning Fog Over River Thames
London will be home to far more people than current estimates allow for, the report claims (Source: Getty)

Official estimates for London's population growth are wide of the mark, a new report claims, with the capital requiring "major improvement" if it is going to meet the challenges of its swelling number of residents.

Research by consultancy Atkins, in partnership with Oxford Economics and the Centre for London, claims that London will become home to 12m people by 2050, rather than the 11.3m estimated by the Greater London Authority (GLA) - a difference of more than the current population of Manchester.

The same research claims that there will be 6.3m workers in London by 2026, not 2050 as currently estimated. Atkins also claims there will be a shortfall of 1.5m homes by the middle of the century, putting additional pressure on the escalating housing crisis.

The consultancy claims that London's status as a leading global city could be at risk if authorities do not revise their estimates upwards, and start building for the extra capacity needed.

"London faces an unbalanced economy, a more unequal society, degradation of the natural environment, if plans are not adjusted," the Future Proofing London report said.

Mike McNicholas, Atkins’ director for London, said: “The housing supply and the projected population growth are a long way apart and this will only get worse if we carry on down the same path. There will be serious knock-on effects as the pressure of the growing population pushes onto under prepared infrastructure.

“It is not simply of matter of commissioning new building projects, but considering the social and environmental impacts of each step the city takes to ensure the right decisions are being made at the right time," he added. "Building in greater adaptability into our homes, offices and infrastructure will ensure the city is future proofed against the challenges it faces."

GLA has been contacted for a comment.

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