ALMOST half of the tower cranes erected across the country were put up in London during the first half of this year, a report has revealed.

It comes as the number of cranes on the UK’s skyline dropped to its lowest point in two years.

Data obtained by law firm Pinsent Masons shows that the number of tower cranes registered with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the first six months of this year dropped to 413. This is just over half of the number of tower cranes erected over the same period in 2011.

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Infrastructure law expert Graham Robinson of Pinsent Masons said that the lack of cranes was "symbolic of the sharp falls in new commercial and public sector construction", as well as being an indication of the UK's lack of a positive infrastructure policy.

"People often look at the number of cranes as a barometer of the health of UK construction," he said. "If that is correct, then we should be concerned. Tower cranes are generally only required for major projects so their absence from the skylines of cities around the UK tells its own story. This is forcing larger construction companies to compete for smaller projects."

The figures show a particular drop in major projects in cities outside London, with an overall fall of over 50 per cent to only 28 tower cranes erected in regional cities.