England on the verge of becoming 'the most crowded country in Europe'
By JAMES SLACK
Last updated at 22:00pm on 25th February 2008
England will be bursting at the seams within 25 years, with a fifth more people crammed in.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal there will be 464 men, women and children packed into every square kilometre by 2031, compared with 395 today.
That will be the equivalent of around 1,200 per square mile.
By next year, England will overtake Holland as the most crowded country in Europe.
Around 70 per cent of population growth is from immigration, and much of the rest is accounted for by higher birth rates among recent immigrants. With “zero immigration” – the same number arriving as leaving – the population would rise to only 414 per sq km by 2031.
The figures were revealed in a letter to Tory MP James Clappison. The ONS said that by 2011 there will be 405 per sq km – the official measure of how crowded a country has become. This will rise to 450 by 2026.
The population density here is almost double that of Germany and quadruple that of France. Malta is more crowded, but is a small island with only 400,000 citizens, most of whom live in and around the city of Valletta.
Mr Clappison, a member of the home affairs select committee, said: “We urgently need to have a debate about how crowded Britain is going to become.”
London and the South-East will suffer the greatest impact, along with the North-West. By 2056, the 521 per sq km in England will compare to 165 in Wales, 67 in Scotland and 153 in Northern Ireland.
Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said: “These projections show what might happen unless we take action now.”
He said the Government was making sweeping changes to the immigration system, such as introducing a points-based system, to restrict the numbers who could come here to work and study.
Foreigners will be thrown out of Britain if they refuse to give details for ID cards