The UK’s population is expected to rise by 6.2 million by 2070, with some 5.3 million people living in the south east of England, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The figures were released on Monday as the Government announced it would invest £10 billion to build the country’s first national high-speed rail network.
In a statement, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “We’re going to build a high-capacity network that is as fast as it is comfortable, accessible and secure.”
We know there is much more work to do.
Our ambition is to build an electrified network that provides reliable journeys to and from all parts of the country, and we are taking a bold step towards that goal.
“The £10bn investment will fund the construction of high-frequency trains and bus routes, as well as connecting them to existing rail links.
In order to reach the target of delivering 5.6 million journeys per day by 2040, London is expected by the end of 2020 to have one of the most congested transport systems in the world.
But the Government’s decision to invest the money in new infrastructure has sparked concerns about its viability.
Transport for London (TfL) said in a statement that “in recent years, we have seen record levels of passenger traffic congestion on London’s roads and railways”.
It said the government had “laid the foundations for a high level of reliability for the foreseeable future”.
However, TfL also admitted that its high-performance train network is “in need of repair and maintenance”.
The service is expected “to deliver more frequent, reliable and affordable services to Londoners”, TfT added.
It also said that, “while our network is in excellent shape, the future of this important transport system will depend on the quality and resilience of the network.”
Transport Secretary Grayling, speaking at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham on Monday, said the Government would invest up to £10.4bn in new high-quality rail services over the next four years, adding that “it is not too late to get the right infrastructure built to deliver the ambitious timetable for our electrification programme”.
He added that the Government was working with the private sector to make sure that the public sector is fully up to speed on high-tech infrastructure such as rail and road improvements.