London

London in 2012: The challenges ahead

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

Londoners will hit the polls for the mayoral election in May, while 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?

On Tuesday, BBC London spoke to some of the city's influential figures about the challenges the capital faces.

Here are a further five people who have important roles to play in 2012.

Adrian Evans, pageant master, Thames Diamond Jubilee

Eighteen months ago I was asked to come up with an appropriate way in which London might mark and celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

What could be more fitting than a flotilla of 1,000 boats on the River Thames, with Her Majesty resplendent on a glittering Royal Barge?

Image caption The Diamond Jubilee is due to be celebrated with a flotilla of 1,000 boats on the River Thames

The idea caught hold and after 18 months in the pageant master's chair, I can appreciate why this sort of thing has not been attempted in over 350 years.

Firstly, there is the monumental scale of the Thames to be challenged, its 7m (23ft) twice daily tidal rise and fall and its consequently accelerating and decelerating waters.

Then there is the issue that many beautiful and historically significant vessels will be travelling great distances to take part in the pageant, yet their masters might have only limited experience of the Thames and its eddies and currents.

The pageant will be a remarkable collective effort to thank the Queen for her 60 years of service, an effort for which I hope London and the whole country will be proud.

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison

The Olympics is the biggest peacetime policing challenge that we have ever faced. We have to police the biggest show on earth in a summer when we have a range of other events.

Image caption Chris Allison says 2012 will be "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all of us to become involved"

We have built plans to ensure we deliver routine policing - business as usual - as well as protecting the 34 venues and the millions of people watching the Games.

The military have always been part of our planning - to deal with terrorist threats, threats from the sky, potential maritime threats, and support around explosives

But this is a blue Games and the streets of London will be policed by the British police service.

We'll be deploying nationally around 12,000 police officers on the Games, more than 9,000 of these in London.

They are a pan-London resource that could nip anything in the bud.

There will be a feeling of pride. This is an opportunity for us to show to the world that that the police service puts on really successful sporting events.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all of us to become involved. London will come alive. It will be a fantastic place to be next summer.

London's Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy

The London 2012 Games presents us and other transport operators with the ultimate test.

Around 800,000 spectators and 55,000 athletes will be travelling to and from the Olympic venues on the busiest days, along with Games officials, sponsors and media who all need to get to events on time.

On the busiest days, an additional three million journeys will be undertaken, against a backdrop of 24 million journeys made on our roads and public transport network every day.

Working with the Games organisers and many others, we will ensure that those competing, watching and working on the Games can move around the city quickly and safely.

We will also be proactive in communicating about the transport hot-spots at certain times and certain places to ensure that business and the public have all the information they need to ensure that they get the most from the Games.

London will be very busy and very much open for business.

London First chief executive Baroness Jo Valentine

London will be an exciting place to be in 2012 - with the spectacle of the Olympics, the opportunities it brings to the capital, and the legacy it will leave.

Image caption European banks have a significant presence in the City of London

But there is also a challenging road ahead for business; continuing uncertainty in the economic climate means the path out of recession is likely to be slower than previously anticipated.

With Europe's future uncertain, London companies more than ever need to search out business worldwide and London needs to continue to attract business people from across the globe in order to maintain our innovation and productivity.

We look to the new mayor, being elected in May, to stand up for London at home and abroad and make full use of his powers to deliver more transport, more housing and a safe city.

Homeless charity Centrepoint chief executive Seyi Obakin

2012 will be another tough year for the many young Londoners who find themselves sleeping rough, moving from sofa to sofa, or live in hostels.

Centrepoint supports more than 1,000 16- to 25-year-olds in London each year through housing and training and they tell us they want two things: a job, and a safe place to live.

In the current economic climate, these simple aspirations are increasingly out of reach.

There are still too many overcrowded homes and not enough places for young people to go to once they leave places like Centrepoint.

The costs of youth homelessness are simply too big for us to fail to tackle these twin problems.

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