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Growing London faces water shortages and overflowing sewage

Wednesday, March 9, 2016 - 08:47

[LONDON] London's growing population means the British capital is facing possible water shortages and a risk of flooding from overflowing sewage unless action is taken to ensure more sustainable development, the London Assembly's Environment Committee warned.

With the city's population increasing by 100,000 a year, London's population could reach as much as 13.4 million by 2050, the panel said in a report published Wednesday. The assembly is the elected body that oversees the work of the mayor.

"Such growth will tend to increase the city's environmental impacts, working against efforts to moderate them," the committee said.

"Left unchecked, the impacts would include carbon emissions, water shortage, sewage outflow, urban sprawl and habitat destruction."

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Demand for water could outstrip supply by 20 per cent by 2040, the committee said, citing data from Thames Water Ltd projecting a shortfall of 41 million liters a day.

The need for more housing will put green spaces and waterways under pressure, it said, urging the successor to mayor Boris Johnson, to be elected in May, to implement a more sustainable policy on water and waste management and energy use.

Meanwhile, the Confederation of British Industry urged the new mayor to set out a housing strategy on taking office that commits to building 100,000 new homes a year and to push the government to take a decision on where to build a new runway to boost airport capacity in southeast England.

A survey by Opinium Research LLP for the Evening Standard newspaper published Tuesday showed Labour candidate Sadiq Khan leading the Conservatives' Zac Goldsmith in the mayoral race by 31 per cent to 26 per cent, with a quarter of respondents yet to make up their minds.

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