London's Olympic Stadium is expected to be the venue for the Championships
UK Athletics is to launch a bid to bring the World Championships to London in 2017.
A letter has been sent to international governing body the IAAF, which will be followed by a formal bid in September, with a final decision due in November.
London's Olympic Stadium is likely to be the proposed venue for the event.
"The World Athletics Championships is the greatest sporting event never held here and we're committed to changing that," UKA Chairman Ed Warner said.
London was due to host the 2005 Worlds at a proposed new stadium in Picketts Lock, Edmonton, but pulled out in 2001 after the project was deemed too expensive.
We are a leading host for major sporting events and we have the experience and expertise to deliver a World Athletics Championships that will make the IAAF proud
The championships were switched to Helsinki, with any future British bid for the event thought to be unlikely and having very little chance of success.
At the time Lord Coe admitted: "People abroad must be looking at us with incredulity, and if I was sitting on the IAAF committee I'd genuinely wonder if we in Britain were capable of operating a whelk stall."
But the subsequently successful bid for the 2012 Olympics that was led by Coe has rebuilt relationships and provided the physical infrastructure that was missing before.
And BBC Sport's athletic commentator Mike Costello says that although a bid for the 2015 World Championships was withdrawn in 2010 because of uncertainty over the future of the Olympic Stadium, such issues have since been resolved.
"Now with the backing of the government and the Mayor of London's office, the capital is in the running for 2017," Costello said.
UKA is now working with the government and organising bodies to develop the bid and agree its budget ahead of an evaluation visit by IAAF officials in October.
"We are a leading host for major sporting events and we have the experience and expertise to deliver a World Athletics Championships that will make the IAAF proud," Warner said.
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Minister for Sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson said: "I want this country to host a series of world-class events as a key legacy from London 2012. For those in track and field they don't come more prestigious than the World Athletics Championships.
"There is still work to be done on the stadium legacy and the finances but I am delighted to support UK Athletics and the Mayor in the expression of interest to the IAAF."
Liz Nicholl, Chief Executive of UK Sport, said: "As the lead agency responsible for co-ordinating the bidding and staging of major sporting events in this country, we are determined to use 2012 as a catalyst to bring even more world class competition to towns and cities across the UK.
"A World Athletics Championships in London would undoubtedly add to this programme of inspirational sporting events and we are delighted to be supporting UKA with this letter of intent to bid for the 2017 event."
Costello added that the IAAF says there is a high level of interest from other cities for 2017 ahead of a decision to be made in November.