MD1466 World Expo 2025

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Date signed: 
19 May 2015
Decision by: 
Boris Johnson MP (past staff), Mayor of London

Executive summary

As a result of the findings of the London Bid Consideration Phase for Expo 2025 (approved under cover of DD1230 and MD1399), the Mayor’s Investment and Performance Board (IPB) has endorsed the recommendation to continue the feasibility phase of the project at a cost of £150k and this is now put forward for Mayoral approval.

Detailed investigation into site, costs, revenues, funding and consultation with stakeholders has resulted in the recommendation that the project continues to a phase 2 which will:

• Undertake detailed work to assess potential site including site options to develop the legacy opportunity and forecast the cost and economic impact;

• Develop the funding model and the governance options; • Continue business and government engagement;

• Develop an appealing Expo theme.

The outcome of this work will be to recommend whether a bid should be submitted and how much this would cost. It has been agreed that the allocated budget will take it to this stage and IPB will then need to recommend (based on the findings) whether to proceed.



That the Mayor approves expenditure of up to £150k to conduct between April and September 2015, a second feasibility study phase focusing on the assessment of the site for London Expo 2025.



Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    The Bid Consideration phase for World Expo 2025 was approved under DD1230 and MD1399.

1.2    From June to December 2014 the project explored the feasibility of London bidding for and hosting a World Expo in 2025. Areas of focus included: site, economic impact, cost and revenues, business engagement and other factors key to assessing whether it would be worthwhile for London to bid.

1.3    The final Bid Consideration report concluded that there was a compelling argument to continue to explore the feasibility of London bidding for a World Expo which was endorsed by the project Steering Group and IPB (18th December). It offered the following specific conclusions:

•    the business community is supportive of a UK bid for World Expo London 2025;
•    there were four potential sites in areas where the Expo could provide new infrastructure, development, employment and a legacy beyond what could ordinarily be delivered;
•    the UK’s creativity could be showcased, and exports could be boosted through our Expo theme;
•    an Expo would attract millions of visitors.  Whilst London has huge destination appeal for business and leisure tourists it is vital for the growth of tourism that we sustain our reputation as one of the most exciting cities in the world;
•    there are estimated to be broad economic benefits to the UK – direct (building the Expo site and infrastructure), indirect (supply chain), increased trade and investment as a direct result of the Expo and the unmeasurable boost to London and the UK’s reputation;
•    the event would take place over 6 months and is projected to make a modest operating profit, with the main revenue sources being ticket sales and sponsorship;
•    in time the Expo project would need revenue funding for a bid and significant revenue and capital investment if London hosted the event;
•    the bid will need a recognisable figurehead, strong and sustained commitment across the political spectrum and support from the public and media to be successful.
1.4    An update was provided at IPB on the 14th April 2015. This narrowed the potential sites being looked at to just one, and IPB approved the undertaking of detailed work to assess the potential of that site to host Expo 2025 including a next-level assessment of costs and legacy potential. Expenditure for the second phase is estimated at up to £150k.

1.5 Officers will ensure that the services required are procured in accordance with the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code, and, as per IPB request, the Executive Director Housing and Land will be consulted on the briefs prepared for consultants.


Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    The second phase of the feasibility study will focus on; 

•    carrying out further technical work and assessment of costs and legacy potential for the shortlisted site.
Some work will also take place on:
•    Developing an Expo theme to appeal to UK businesses, potential visitors, exhibiting countries and sponsors
•    Continuing business and HM government engagement ahead of a central government decision to bid in autumn 2015
•    Developing funding and governance options for the project

2.2    On completion of this second phase of work, a recommendation will be presented to Central Government, who in order to meet the bid timetable, would need to make a decision in autumn 2015. 


Equality comments

3.1    The continuation of this project will ensure that Equality impacts are considered at all stages of the development, including how positive impact can be maximised. 


Other considerations

4.1    This project can be linked to the following five objectives of the Mayor’s Economic Development strategy;

•    To promote London as the world capital of business, the world's top international visitor destination and the world's leading international centre of learning and creativity. 
•    To ensure that London has the most competitive business environment in the world. 
•    To make London one of the world's leading low carbon capitals by 2025 and a global leader in carbon finance. 
•    To give all Londoners the opportunity to take part in London's economic success, access sustainable employment and progress in their careers. 
•    To attract the investment in infrastructure and regeneration which London needs, and to maximise the benefits from this investment and in particular from the opportunity created by the 
2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and their legacy. 


4.2       Project Risks





The Expo theme is too limited in its appeal to the business community and is too weak to win the bid



Consult widely on theme – within and outside the UK and test emerging ideas with the BIE (Expo awarding body)

Sites are not assessed in sufficient detail leading to inaccurate cost calculations and poor understanding of the legacy possibilities




  • Engage experts to carry out detailed and comprehensive site analysis as required.

Businesses withdraw their essential support for the project.




  • Continue to involve the business community particularly in building economic business case to build on their involvement and contribution.


Financial comments

5.1    The estimated cost of conducting the second feasibility study phase for London Expo 2025 is up to £150,000 and will be funded from the budget allocated in 2015-16.


Investment and Performance Board

7.1    On 18 December 2014, IPB agreed to endorse the second phase of work and the approach being taken to continue to establish the feasibility of a London bid. In principle approval was given to the budget request subject to the detailed breakdown of work being circulated to members. 

7.2    On the 14th April 2015, it approved the undertaking of detailed work to assess the potential of the shortlisted site including next level assessment of costs and legacy potential.


Planned delivery approach and next steps



Mayoral approval to commence phase 2 bid consideration

April 2015

Detailed work to identify a preferred site and carry out further technical

Detailed work to assess costs and legacy potential

Detailed work on developing an Expo visitor experience which will appeal to UK businesses, potential visitors, exhibiting countries and sponsors

Continue business and HM government engagement ahead of a central

Develop funding and governance options for the project

Jan – Jun 2015

Presentation of findings to IPB and the Mayor and IPB/Mayoral decision

Jun 2015

If bid proposal is well received, organisation of official visits to Milan 2015

Sept-Oct 2015

HM Government decision to proceed with a bid

Oct-Nov 2015

Should a bid proceed


Submission of UK candidacy application

May-Nov 2016

Voting to award 2025 host


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