Coping with a Growing Population

Simon explores the growing population challenges faced by the UK and what Local Authorities are doing to help tackle these….

Earlier this Summer the initial results of the 2011 Census were published.  The population of England and Wales grew at its fastest rate since records began during the course of the last decade.  Figures published by the National Statistics suggests that the population of England and Wales grew by 7.1% from 2001 to 2011 to 56.1 million, twice the rate of the previous decade.  The population of England and Wales is significantly greater than was expected.  This has significant implications for a number of houses that the country should be building.

Government Planning Guidance set out in the National Planning Policy Framework requires local authorities to produce Local Plans that provide housing to meet the full objectively assessed needs for all market and affordable housing in their area.  Prior to the preparation of the 2011 Census information the 2010 mid-year population estimate provided the most reliable indication of the population of England and Wales.  The mid-2010 population estimates forecast that in 2011 England and Wales would have a population of approximately 55.24 million.  However, the Census has established that the actual population is 56.1 million.  This indicates that the population figures that local authorities have been working towards have been significantly underestimated.  They will not provide the number of houses needed to accommodate England and Wales’ growing populations.

During the coming months the office for National Statistics will release more detailed information on the population of individual local authority areas and subsequently predicted rates of population growth.  This may result in local authorities having to reconsider their housing requirements and to plan for a greater level of housing delivery than previously thought.  It will be interesting to see how Council’s rise to this challenge. .

If you own or have an interest in land, or if you just want some general planning strategy advice, please feel free to contact Simon on 0121 4559455 or email

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