Research Summary and Key Points

  • Newham has huge potential: it’s the second most diverse borough in the UK, it has a large population of young people, and most of those young people leave school with good qualifications.

  • But it also faces serious challenges. It is one of the most deprived areas in the country, and the third most deprived London borough. It is also the third worst borough in the country for child poverty.

  • At the moment, Newham has a very high level of unemployment and the second lowest job density in London; it also has a very transient population, with many people moving on less than a year after coming into the borough. Solutions to the borough’s challenges will lie in providing suitable employment and an urban environment that encourages people to stay and settle long-term in the borough.

  • Air pollution: 4000 people die every year in London due to air pollution, and Newham has not escaped this problem. Developments like London City Airport contribute to air pollution through emissions from planes and from traffic travelling to and from the airport.

  • Noise pollution: Noise can damage health and disrupt children’s educational development. London City Airport monitors noise levels and runs schemes to minimise impact on local residents. But there have been criticisms of the monitoring methods used, and a study by University College London found unacceptable levels of noise in some communities around the airport.

  • Biodiversity: Newham plays host to a wide variety of different species and habitats, including some rare species. Access to green space is also important for the health and wellbeing of local residents, and some areas of the borough don’t currently have enough green areas available. 

  • In 2012, the eyes of the world will be on London and Newham; but once those eyes turn away, it will be what we choose to do with the legacy of the Olympics that decides Newham’s future. There are different models of development that the borough can pursue, and we argue that the airport has not been the right model for Newham, delivering only a small number of jobs for Newham residents while damaging their local environment.