Statistics predict population increase

England's population will continue to soar over the next 25 years except in the North East, where it will shrink by two per cent, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) forecast this week.

Latest ONS population projections based on recent trends estimate that eastern England will experience the greatest growth rate, at 16.8 per cent, with the South West coming second with a 16.5 per cent increase.

London's population will grow by 15.4 per cent and the South East's by 14 per cent. However, Hull will lose almost 27,000 people by 2023 and Merseyside nearly 20,000, according to the projections.

Areas that have witnessed a shrinking population in recent years, such as Birmingham, Sheffield and Manchester, will experience growth, they add. Overall, the ONS forecasts that England's population will rise to 54.5 million, an increase of just under ten per cent, by 2023.

Campaign to Protect Rural England chief executive Shaun Spiers said that the ONS forecast highlights the need for policy to "even out" growth and prosperity across the country.

He added: "We believe passionately in urban regeneration, not least because it can help reduce development pressures on the countryside in our increasingly densely-populated and built-up nation."

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