London primed for big population rise

The capital's transport planners must cope with a huge population rise, according to mayor Boris Johnson's draft transport strategy.

The document calls for better integration of land-use and transport planning, based on population growth from 7.6 million to 8.9 million by 2031, concentrated in the Thames Gateway and inner north London.

Transport for London strategy manager Mike Keegan said: "The local implementation plan process will be less bureaucratic, which gives boroughs greater flexibility." Johnson said he will "place more emphasis on the economic development of outer London", but concentrated in existing town centres to avoid generating extra car journeys.

There is a surprise reference to a "review of road user charging" despite the mayor's simultaneous announcement that he intends to scrap the western congestion charge zone.

Colin Buchanan director of transport Atholl Noon said: "The strategy is weak on road pricing but it is telling that he has left it in at all. It is surprising that it predicts such a large fall in car trips by 2031, down from 43 per cent to 37 per cent, although it is vague on funding for public transport."

Johnson's strategy also resurrects the Thames Gateway Bridge only a year after he discarded it, calling for "consideration of a longer-term fixed link" at Gallions Reach, its intended location.

Long-discussed Underground proposals for the Chelsea-Hackney line and the Bakerloo Line southern extension are included but without earmarked funds.

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