London in 2012: Challenging year ahead

As far as years go, 2012 has the potential to be about as big as they get for London.

In May, Londoners will go to the polls to vote for a mayor who will continue the role of repairing the damage caused by last summer's riots.

Meanwhile the Olympics, the Paralympics and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee are set to be defining moments.

But are the people in charge of making sure things run smoothly feeling confident about the year ahead?

BBC London spoke to some of the city's influential figures about the challenges the capital faces in 2012.

Olympic Delivery Authority chairman John Armitt

Olympic and Paralympic Games offer an unparalleled opportunity to showcase London and the UK by not only being a fantastic sporting festival but also highlighting the depth, vitality and strength of our culture.

The Games have already delivered a legacy as the British engineering and construction industry can stand tall after having demonstrated its ability to deliver the London 2012 venues and infrastructure on time and within budget.

These skills can be exploited at home and overseas to help drive economic recovery.

There are many challenges that lie ahead for us and the wider world economy, but 2012 can be a springboard for London and the UK to face the future and address those challenges with confidence and purpose."

Barry and Margaret Mizen, parents of murdered Jimmy Mizen

During the recent disturbances we witnessed the disaffection of many young people in our society, and although the reactions can in no way be condoned it is important that we learn from our experience.

Image caption Jimmy Mizen was 16 when he was murdered in the Three Cooks Bakery, in Lee, south London in 2008

The issues will never be answered by retributive action alone, only through early intervention, education and greater understanding will progress be made for the long term.

Our hope for the Olympic Games is that the legacy will be a better future for all our young people. It is an opportunity to come together in a spirit of peace, to make our communities safer and to show the world that cities do not have to be blighted by confrontation, crime, violence and anger.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to showcase London and the marvellous majority of young Londoners who are a credit and inspiration to us all.

Barry and Margaret Mizen are founders of the Jimmy Mizen Foundation which aims to help young people play a positive role within their communities.

Greater London returning officer John Bennett

On 3 May 2012, around 5.7 million people across London can vote in the mayor of London and London Assembly elections.

Image caption The London mayoral elections will be held on 3 May 2012

This is the most complex election in the UK, which uses three different electoral systems, and provides each voter with three ballot papers.

My team, and the electoral staff across London, have been working hard behind the scenes for many months to get ready for the election.

We do everything from making sure polling staff are trained, getting ballot papers printed and preparing information for polling stations, to taking the candidates' nominations, testing the e-counting machines and ensuring ballot papers are kept secure at all times.

NHS London chief Dame Ruth Carnall

These are challenging times for the NHS. There are fantastic examples of patient care, but there are some areas we must improve.

We are determined to build on our successes, including our stroke units and major trauma networks to save more lives and improve outcomes.

Patients are always at the centre of what we do but London's healthcare system needs to compete with the best in the world as a centre of specialist care, research and training.

We will make a particular priority reducing deaths from cancer where we know we can and should do better.

We have a lot to look forward to in London, with planning under way for the Olympics. The health authority has 16 months left and we are determined to use every minute of that to ensure we leave our capital with a lasting health legacy.

NHS London will be abolished on 31 March 2013 under the government's Health and Social Care Bill.

Bishop of London Dr Richard Chartres

One of the sobering aspects of being the 132nd Bishop of London is that you can look back over more than 1,400 years and see the Church's response to plagues, invasions, fires, civil war, bombs, riots and protests.

Image caption Dr Richard Chartres says the church is "not easily daunted"

We are not easily daunted and I look forward to the challenges of 2012 with great hope and expectation, with prayer and dependence on God.

The Church in London has always been engaged with communities at a grassroots level and will continue to work towards finding solutions to the rifts highlighted by the riots this summer.

We will open new schools, promote fair trade and responsibility for the environment, and work alongside those of other faiths and none for the common good and to build a just and compassionate society.

BBC London has spoken to a further five influential Londoners. You can read what they had to say about the year ahead on Wednesday.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites