Week commencing 21st September 2015

In today's bulletin

• House building between 2011 and 2014 falls far short of national need, but on the rise for 2015
• £11.8 billion HS2 bidding process now open

• Government cash to guarantee Hinkley C investment
• Renewables on the rise in spring 2015

Property, Planning and Regeneration

House building between 2011 and 2014 falls far short of national need

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) and Local Authority Building Control (LABC) have joined forces in a new partnership intended to raise the profile of quality builders.
The organisations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will bring together their joint aims.

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CIH launches academy to stave off skills shortage

The housing workforce faces a skill shortage unless the industry increases its efforts to attract the best young workers, according to the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH).
In response, the CIH has launched a housing academy, with the aim of bringing the training and qualifications offered by the group under one roof.

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NHBC reports rise in new homes for 2015

According to the National House Building Council (NHBC), the UK’s house building activity during 2015 is set to top levels seen last year. This comes despite a dip in activity during August.
Figures released by the NHBC reveal an increase of 11 per cent from June-August, compared to the same period last year. This represents a total of 40,101 new homes, up from 36,149 registered June-August in 2014.

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Calls for greater scrutiny of public land sell-off

A newly published report from the Government’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) suggests there has been no record of any homes built on sold-off public land. Despite disposing of land, with the capacity for an estimated 109,950 homes,
the Department for Communities and Local Government does not collect information on the actual number of house built or under construction. With the current government seeking to expand the land disposals, this has led to calls for greater records to be taken to allow for proper scrutiny.

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RICS advisory group to develop new conflict of interest mandate

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has announced that a new national advisory working group will be formed to develop a new conflict of interest mandate for all chartered surveyors.
Industry leaders from Deloitte, Lothbury Investment Management and Countrywide Surveyors will be present, with independent solicitor, Will Glassey, chairing the group.

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New right-to-buy deal could bypass parliamentary scrutiny

An agreement negotiated between housing association chiefs and government ministers could mean plans to extend the right-to-buy policy are put in place without parliamentary scrutiny. Communities Secretary, Rt Hon Greg Clark, and National Housing Federation (NHF) chief executive,
David Orr announced the deal would abandon plans to legislate for an extension of the right-to-buy scheme to 1.2 million housing association homes. Housing associations would then voluntarily agree to sell their homes to any tenants who wished to buy them.

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Transport

£11.8 billion HS2 bidding process now open

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon George Osborne MP, has announced the start of the bidding process for phase one of the High Speed 2 rail project. At least seven new contracts will be opened up to companies with a total combined value of £11.8 billion.
It was also announced the ‘HS2 partnering days’ will be held between British and Chinese firms to explore the opportunities for joint bids for contracts.

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Highways England urged to limit stretches of roadworks

The Government is exploring ways to reduce delays for motorists in the UK with Secretary of State for Transport Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin reportedly urging Highways England to make stretches of roadworks no more than two miles long.

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Energy and environment

Government cash to guarantee Hinkley C investment

The Government has announced a financial guarantee for the development of the Hinkley C new nuclear power station. Chancellor of the Exchequer,
Rt Hon George Osborne MP made an initial £2 billion pledge, which will encourage a final investment by EDF, during a five-day trip to China this week.

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Business chief criticises Government renewables policy

CBI director general John Cridland has warned that the Government’s stance on renewable energy was threatening investment.
In a speech on 21 September, he also made the business case for action against climate change.

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Renewables on the rise in spring 2015

The share of electricity generated by renewable sources grew to 25 per cent between April and June this year, with wind accounting for much of that figure.
The figures, released by the Department for Energy and Climate Change, mark a 8.6 per cent increase when compared to the same time last year.

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Tube trains to power stations with recycled energy

The trial of a new ‘inverter’ system at the Cloudesely Road substation on London Undeground’s (LU) Victoria Line has produced enough power to run an entire station. LU is using the latest technology to capture waste energy from Tube train brakes and convert it into usable power.
Initial tests found that enough energy was generated to power a station the size of Holborn for over two days a week.

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Other News

Nationwide devolution could unlock productivity and bolster economy

According to the Local Government Association (LGA), a shift in government powers to local areas could unlock £80bn in economic growth by removing the barriers that constrain businesses.
34 devolution proposals from towns and cities across England have been submitted ahead of this year’s Spending Review with many asking for the power to take control of infrastructure and economic development locally.

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