The Mayor of London has announced £1.5 billion for infrastructure projects to kickstart the capital's COVID-19 recovery.
Funding will go to projects designed to help support decarbonisation and create jobs, including ensuring the electricity infrastructure can support the electric vehicle (EV) rollout. Innovative planning tools will be used to identify the best locations around the city for chargers as well as the best times to charge.
City Hall is working with companies like UK Power Networks and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, as well as local authorities to identify green schemes and drive investment. As part of this, the London Recovery Board – set up in response to the pandemic – will work with utilities where additional regulatory approval is needed.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said that the pandemic has been “devastating for our economy” and that we “face a long road ahead”, but hailed the meeting of the Board as a progress.
“It is essential that infrastructure initiatives are utilised to serve all Londoners as we work to recover from this pandemic and to build back better with a fairer and greener economy. By working together with the major utility companies to progress and bring forward these projects, we have a valuable opportunity to improve the diversity of the sector and to help create new jobs for those who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. This will help us to ensure nobody is left behind in London’s recovery.”
Along with electricity infrastructure funding, money will go to upgrading the gas network, reducing water leakage by 20% and progressing plans to make the water network more resilient. The Board will also focus on creating employment opportunities at the utilities through this funding, particularly young people and Londoners from Black, Asian and other minority ethnic backgrounds as they have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
Once the specific projects have been identified, they will be undertaken with the support of the Mayor’s recently established Infrastructure Coordination Service.
Mark Adolphus, director of connections at UK Power Networks, said: “As the company which delivers electricity to 2.3 million properties to keep the capital running smoothly, we are a leading architect of the low-carbon economy and know our role is particularly vital now in enabling the UK’s economic recovery.
“We look forward to continuing diverse investment and innovation projects that will help businesses to thrive, and people to make the most of emerging technologies both now, and in the future. Safety remains our top priority and all work will be carried out in line with the latest COVID-19 health and safety guidance.”
The funding for EV infrastructure will add to previous support from the Mayor of London, including a £4 million investment into charge points last December.