The construction of Crossrail, the £16bn project to build a new mainline railway tunnel under central London and run trains from Maidenhead and Heathrow through to Shenfield and Abbey Wood, is now underway. The construction will affect many in London and beyond, both in terms of environmental effects and financially.

Work to build the stations started in 2009 and will continue for the next six years. The first tunnel boring machine is expected to be launched in late 2011 at Royal Oak near Paddington. There is therefore a lengthy period of disruption for many businesses and residents on or near the route in prospect.

The financial implications will be felt more widely. About a third of the £16bn cost is to be met from businesses in London in two main ways. The majority is to be raised through a supplement to the business rate across London. This will be levied at 2p per pound of rateable value for the next 24-30 years, and will affect about 40,000 properties. A smaller amount is to be raised through a tariff on planning permissions for larger commercial developments in central London, the northern Isle of Dogs, and near other Crossrail stations. The Mayor has already been seeking voluntary contributions, but this will soon become compulsory.

Crossrail will have further effects on Londoners such as noise, lorry movements, planning restrictions and the compulsory acquisition of land. For full details of these impacts, please see our latest Crossrail newsletter.