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Electricity shortages could halt new housing in West London until 2035

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West London could be without any new housing projects until 2035 due to constraints on the electricity supply in the area. 

The Greater London Authority has written to housing developers to warn them that grid capacity issues could jeopardise any future housing projects in the West London area. In fact, the boroughs of Hillingdon, Ealing and Hounslow could be without any new properties until at least 2035 due to there not being sufficient electrical capacity for any new connections. 

According to David O’Leary, Policy Director at the Home Builders Federation, “Our basic understanding is that developments of 25 units or more will be affected. Our understanding is that you just can’t build them.”

That would be a major blow to the housing targets in those West London boroughs, with Hillingdon, Ealing and Hounslow expected to deliver 559, 1,297 and 822 homes, respectively, each year until 2025. 

The Greater London Authority has laid blame on data centres in the nearby area for the capacity constraints. The M4 corridor has become a popular spot for those developing new data centres, thanks to fibre optic cabling that connects directly with Atlantic subsea cables. However, due to the high power usage of those data centres, West London now faces a crisis of not being able to build any new housing. 

Work on freeing up grid capacity is currently underway, with both Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks and the National Grid working to upgrade their networks to deal with the increasing demand for electricity. However, there are concerns surrounding how long those upgrades will take, with the Greater London Authority not confident they will be ready to accept large scale housing developments until 2035. 

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