News Hub

London housing ban likely in face of data centre energy usage

Written by Fri 5 Aug 2022

Housing Crisis

The Greater London Authority (GLA) has informed housing developers that the power grid in certain parts of the city is overextended, and it may take up to a decade to build the infrastructure out to support new housing projects. This may result in a moratorium on residential housing construction through 2035.

Residential housing in the city has always been in short supply, and halting new construction in specific neighborhoods throughout London is likely to make the market even worse. The power supply crisis is being blamed on the proliferation of data centres in the area – particularly in the three areas mentioned specifically by the GLA: Hounslow, Ealing, and Hillingdon.

The moratorium would affect all major new applicants for grid connections, not just housing developments but also commercial and industrial enterprises, which “will have to wait several years to receive new electricity connections.”

The three boroughs specifically named by the GLA are now responsible for 11% of the total housing supply in London. A ban on new building projects will exacerbate the existing shortage, potentially driving rent higher in these boroughs and having a knock-on effect on rents in other areas of the city.

According to datacenters.com, there are currently 66 data centres and 34 providers in London. “This includes 62 colocation facilities, 47 cloud nodes, 13 internet exchanges, and 32 disaster recovery and business continuity sites.” London is one of the largest European data centre hubs, used by millions as a data connection between Europe and the rest of the world. However, large parts of the city struggle with aging infrastructure, which is difficult and expensive to replace with higher-capacity data connections.

There have been an increasing number of protests worldwide, as residential consumers question the necessity of enormous, unsightly data centres in their towns. Not only do data centres draw an enormous amount of power from the local grid, they also overuse other resources, like water, and bring few jobs to the area in exchange for enormous tax breaks for their business.

Written by Fri 5 Aug 2022


housing infrastructure London power
Send us a correction Send us a news tip