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The London commuter belt is the metropolitan area surrounding Londonmarker, Englandmarker from which it is possible to commute to work in the capital. It is alternatively known as the Greater South East, the London metropolitan area or the Southeast metropolitan area. It should not be confused with Greater Londonmarker or the Greater London Urban Areamarker.


The boundaries are not fixed; they expand as transport options improve and affordable housing moves further away from London. The commuter belt currently covers much of the South East region and part of the East of England region, including the Home Counties of Kentmarker, Surreymarker, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshiremarker, Bedfordshire, and Essex. The population of Greater London and these adjacent counties was 13,945,000 in 2001. Much of the undeveloped part of this area lies within a designated metropolitan green belt so further significant urban development is generally resisted by local authorities and the Planning Inspectorate. The Green belt currently covers nearly all of Surreymarker, eastern Berkshire, southern Buckinghamshire, southern and mid Hertfordshiremarker, southern Bedfordshire, south-west Essex, and western Kentmarker.


Travel to Work Area

The London Travel to Work Area, defined by the Office for National Statistics as the area for which "of the resident economically active population, at least 75% actually work in the area, and also, that of everyone working in the area, at least 75% actually live in the area." has a population of 9,294,800 (2005 estimate).

Environs of Greater London

The built up area of London (grey) extends beyond the London boundary.
The M25 is also shown.
There are seventeen local government districts that share a boundary with Greater London in the East and South East regions. Most districts are entirely, or have sections, within the bounds of the M25 motorwaymarker or are within of Charing Crossmarker. Adjacent districts often share some characteristics of Outer London such as forming part of the continuous urban sprawl, being served by the London Underground, being covered by the London telephone area code, until 2000 forming part of the Metropolitan Police District and having a relatively high employed population working in London. These districts are:

Region County Districts where less than 25%
of those employed work in London
Districts where more than 25%
of those employed work in London
East Hertfordshire Welwyn Hatfieldmarker Broxbourne, Hertsmeremarker, Three Rivers
Essex n/a Brentwoodmarker, Epping Forest, Thurrockmarker
South East Kent n/a Dartford, Sevenoaksmarker
Surrey Mole Valley, Reigate and Bansteadmarker Elmbridgemarker, Epsom and Ewellmarker, Spelthorne, Tandridgemarker
Berkshire Sloughmarker
Buckinghamshire n/a South Bucksmarker

Areas to the west of London also come within the commuter pull of Reading.

ONS Greater London Urban Area

The Office for National Statistics includes the following urban sub-units from adjacent regions in their "Greater London Urban Area" :

South East Region

East Region

Adjacent sub-regions

The East of England London commuter belt sub-region is defined as the whole of Hertfordshire together with the Essex districts of Brentwoodmarker, Chelmsfordmarker, Epping Forest, Harlowmarker and Uttlesfordmarker.

The South East England London fringe sub-region is defined as a large proportion of Surrey including all of Spelthorne, Runnymede, Woking, Elmbridge, Epsom and Ewell and parts of the districts of Surrey Heath, Guildford, Mole Valley, Reigate andBanstead, and Tandridge; and part of the Sevenoaks district of Kent.

See also


  1. London Assembly - London in its Regional Setting (PDF)
  2. Mayor of London - London Plan (PDF, 7.6MB)
  3. BBC News - The new commuter belt. 18 July 2006.
  4. Demographia - Southeast England Population by Area from 1891
  5. Travel to Work Areas (TTWAs) Beginners' guide to UK geography, Office for National Statistics
  6. State of the Cities Database Report on the Urban Competitiveness Theme for: - London TTWA (LA) State of the Cities Database - Department for Communities and Local Government (Mid year population estimates on page 4 of the report)
  7. North Hertfordshire - A Housing Strategy for the London Commuter Belt Sub-region 2005 - 2008 (PDF)
  8. South East RA - London Fringe Sub-region

External links

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