New report claims poor environment, not lack of airport capacity, threatens London’s status as top city to do business

A new report produced by HACAN shows that though the excellent transport links to the rest of the world make it Europe’s premier business city, London fares less well on other issues which influence businesses in deciding where to locate. The annual survey by Cushman & Wakefield in 2011 “London is still ranked – by some distance from its closest competitors – as the leading city in which to do business.”  However London performed badly in all the surveys on the quality of life it offered, scoring particularly poorly on air pollution and traffic congestion.  HACAN says the message is clear. London has got to clean up its act if its wants remain the top city for business. London First’s Connectivity Commission is due tomorrow to release its reportthe policy and investment required to secure London’s road, rail and air links, for the capital to remain globally competitive and support the UK’s long-term growth.”

London: Too Dirty for Business?

31.1.2012 (HACAN)

‘London has got to clean up its act if its wants remain the top business city’

Report at:   London “Too Dirty for Business”

A new report – released today – claims that it is not a lack of airport capacity which threatens London’s position as the top city in Europe to do business but its poor environment.

“Too Dirty for Business?” concludes that London’s excellent transport links to the rest of the world make it Europe’s premier business city. However, that position is under threat because many of its rivals score more highly on quality of life, pollution and a lack of traffic congestion, which are all key considerations for businesses when deciding where to locate.

The report is published on the same day as London First’s Connectivity Commission is launching its findings. It is expected to call for more airport capacity in the South East.

“Too Dirty for Business?” highlights the findings of the annual survey carried out by the respected global property consultants Cushman & Wakefield which found that in 2011 “London is still ranked – by some distance from its closest competitors – as the leading city in which to do business.”    Cushman & Wakefield European Cities Monitor 2011

Cushman & Wakefield found that London’s international transport links were much better than those of its competitors. This finding has been endorsed by WWF in its report, International Air Connectivity for Business, which said Heathrow was ‘in a class of its own’ as far as its international air links were concerned.  ( WWF August 2011 report )

London performed badly in all the surveys on the quality of life it offered, scoring particularly poorly on air pollution [see below and traffic congestion [see below]

Report author John Stewart said, “The message is clear. London has got to clean up its act if its wants remain the top city for business. New runways and new roads will just add to the pollution, noise and traffic congestion. You can’t have more flights and a better quality of life. A clear choice has got to be made.”

“Too Dirty for Business?” argues it cannot be assumed that, if no more airport capacity is built, London will lose its top spot: “The market will determine which destinations are served. Airlines using a constrained Heathrow, for example, will concentrate their resources on their most profitable, inter-continental routes which attract a significant number of business passengers, squeezing out short-haul leisure flights which will relocate to other London airports with spare capacity.”

[ The Connectivity Commission will publish its recommendations on 1 February 2012.]

“Too Dirty for Business?” has been published by HACAN which represents residents under the Heathrow flight paths.

Report at:   London Top City for Business but too Dirty and Noisy

Cushman & Wakefield tables on  quality of life, and freedom from pollution in  European cities.  Freedom from pollution.    Quality of life.

From the Cushman & Wakefield European Cities Monitor 2011  page 24



From the Cushman & Wakefield European Cities Monitor 2011  page 23

WWF/AEF report, “Available UK airport capacity under a 2050 CO2 target for the aviation sector”, shows that there is already sufficient available runway and terminal capacity in the Southeast and other regions to meet demand to 2050, and in line with CCC limits to aviation growth, without the need for further expansion:

According to AirportWatch international connectivity research funded by WWF, Heathrow is in a class of its own as far as its connectivity to key business centres is concerned, offering more flights to these destinations than any other airport in Europe. London as a whole also offers a greater number of total flights to the world’s main business destinations than other Continental cities. UK connectivity to business destinations, key to economic growth, is still unrivalled.” International Air Connectivity for Business”


London First’s Connectivity Commission – Report launch and drinks reception

Tuesday 31 January 2012

The website says:

London’s continued success as a leading centre for world trade and commerce is critically dependent on free-flowing, frequent and predictable travel to and from the capital.

London First has formed an independent Commission  in early 2011 to examine the quality and capacity of London’s transport links with the rest of the UK and the wider world. It has gathered evidence from a wide range of interested members and stakeholders and is now launching its report on the policy and investment required to secure London’s road, rail and air links, for the capital to remain globally competitive and support the UK’s long-term growth.

Demand for the rail, road and air transport infrastructure that links London to the rest of the UK and the wider world continues to rise, as it has for decades. Much of it is at or near capacity and in many cases is ageing, heavily congested and lacks resilience when put under pressure.


London First established an independent Commission to examine London’s transport links with the rest of the UK and the wider world – rail, high speed rail, road and air. It will identify the constraints on the infrastructure and services that define London’s connectivity, and set out recommendations to tackle these constraints in the short, medium and long term.

The Commission received a range of responses to its Call for Evidence from businesses, policymakers and a range of interested parties – including local authorities, chambers of commerce and interest groups. The Commission also heard oral evidence from key players at a small number of hearings. The Commission refined its conclusions last autumn and will publish its recommendations on 1 February 2012. The outcome being sought is a national transport strategy that supports both London’s ability to remain competitive with other world cities and the UK’s long-term growth.


Chairman – Peter Robinson, Chairman, Berwin Leighton Paisner
Sir Adrian Montague, Chairman, 3i
John Vincent, Director of Strategic Planning and Advisory, AECOM
Chris Elliott, Managing Director, Barclays Infrastructure Funds
Peter Damesick, EMEA Chief Economist, CBRE Limited
Mike Redican, Managing Director, Deutsche Bank
Andy Street, Managing Director, John Lewis
Francis Salway, Group Chief Executive, Land Securities
Ruby Parmar, Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers


Baroness Jo Valentine says:

“London’s ability to attract talent and investment from around the world depends on the free-flowing, frequent and predictable movement of people to and from the capital. But major infrastructure renewal in the UK is all too often the subject of sterile political debate. If London is to compete and succeed in an increasingly competitive global marketplace, more needs to be done. The Connectivity Commission will gather the views of business and experts and set out its view of a national transport strategy that will truly meet the needs of business in London, as well as the UK’s long-term aspirations for economic growth.”

Baroness Jo Valentine
Chief Executive
London First

London ranks among worst European cities for air pollution

Air quality study judges UK capital to be ‘below average’ for its lack of action on tackling deadly soot particles 

• Read the air quality rankings here (PDF)

Guardian (7.9.2011)  by John Vidal, environment editor

 ranks as one of Europe‘s unhealthiest major cities, having done little to tackle deadly particles from diesel vehicles, according to a major air quality study published on Wednesday.

The home of the 2012 Olympics ranks “below average” in a sootpollution league table by German environment and consumer groups, coming behind Glasgow, Copenhagen and Stockholm. Berlin is judged to have Europe’s cleanest air and only Düsseldorf, Milan and Rome are judged to have worse air than London.

The survey, which comes after Barack Obama last Friday put off legislation to force US cities to clean up air pollution, shows that bad air quality in Europe causes nearly 500,000 premature deaths a year across all countries, and costs up to €790bn a year to address. It supports two major official air quality studies published earlier this year in Europe andBritain.

The 17 cities were judged on the action they had taken to reduce soot in the air between 2005 and 2010 when new European limits for particulate matter (PM10) came into force.

London was ranked low because of the “backward steps” it has taken to address air pollution since 2005. It has tightened its low emission zone for heavy goods vehicles and promoted some cycling and walking, but it has halved the size of its congestion charging zone, scaled back plans for new hybrid buses and sharply increased public transport fares. Nine criteria including traffic management, the shift to sustainable public transport and public information were taken into account.

“With less than a year to the Olympic Games, London is doing less to deal with its dangerous air pollution levels than other major European capitals. The government and the mayor of London can no longer ignore the biggest public health crisis since the great smog of 1952,” said James Grugeon, chief executive of Environmental Protection UK, an NGO that is part of a coalition of environment and health groups campaigning to raise awareness of air pollution and put pressure on government to meet minimum EU air quality laws.

“It’s shameful that Londoners are still forced to breath dirty air. Urgent action is needed by both the mayor and UK government to help Londoners breathe more easily – and this will also help tackle climate change,” said Jenny Bates, London campaigner for Friends of the Earth.

“The mayor seems to have crippled the potential of existing measures to improve London’s air quality,” said Simon Birkett, head of the Campaign for Clean Air.



Boris Johnson and the ‘invisible crisis’ of air pollution

Guardian   4.1.2012

London Claims Most Traffic Congested City in Europe Prize

– Paris and Dublin next in snarl-up hall of shame and things set to get worse

Friday, 7th January 2011   (London Net)

London Claims Most Traffic Congested City in Europe Prize

LONDON has been crowned king of the traffic jam, its roads suffering the worst road congestion of any city in Europe and experts say new measures brought in by Boris Johnson are likely to make things even more stuffed up.

According to research by digital map company Navteq, London leads a list of European cities for regular snarl-ups, with Paris and Dublin taking second and third worst spots. At seventh place in the league table, Manchester is the only other UK city in the top ten.

Navteq has piles of data on traffic thanks to its products being used by police departments, local authorities and all sorts of GPS devices.

The company’s European boss, Andreas Erwig, takes a Zen-like approach to traffic problems.

“[Local] circumstances and many others intersect with time to produce traffic,” he said.

“Because the fascinating complexity of traffic is that it’s not only about movement from here to there, but from now to then.”

Meanwhile, London Mayor Boris Johnson has scrapped the western extension bit of the Congestion Charge zone, which is set to increase traffic flows.

Johnson has also put up bus and Tube fares and changed traffic light phasing, both of which are predicted to make driving more attractive and therefore increase congestion.

Those Most Congested Euro Cities in Full:

1. London
2. Paris
3. Dublin
4. Berlin
5. Stockholm
6. Hamburg
7. Manchester
8. Lyon
9. Vienna
10. Marseilles

London or Bust!

Posted by David Hutchings
October 8, 2010   (Cushman & Wakefield)

While some commentators are unsure whether London will hang on to its crown as a top centre for global finance, according to our latest European Cities Monitor (click here to access) it retains a healthy lead as far as corporate decision-makers are concerned.

The 10  Best Cities in Europe to Locate in Today

Cushman & Wakefield, European Research Group

Not only was London voted the top city in which to locate a business (for the 21st year running, yawn!), it actually managed to increase its lead over some of its main competitors. The news for Europe’s other core markets is still good however, with Paris secure in 2nd place, Brussels up to 4th and Germany enjoying more popularity– with 4 cities in the top 10 thanks to the rise of Dusseldorf.

… and it continues ………



European Cities Monitor also asked companies which were the key factors when deciding where to relocate their business. The availability of qualified staff came ahead of easy access to markets, customers or clients as the single most important factor with telecommunications marginally ahead of national and international transport links. (Cushman & Wakefield)

2011 Quality of Living worldwide city rankings – Mercer survey  

puts London 38th in world for quality of life.

also an earlier survey by Cushman & Wakefield

UK has ‘worst quality of life in Europe’

Survey of 10 developed European countries puts UK at bottom of the pile due to high costs of living, while France takes top spot

29.9.2011 (Guardian)