Week commencing 11 July 2016

In today's bulletin

• International real estate advisor forecasts shopping investment crunch
• ONS promises house building increase

• Highways England makes headway in infrastructure delivery but more planning needed, says ORR
• New prime minister’s sweeping changes include closure of DECC

Property, Planning and Regeneration

International real estate advisor forecasts shopping investment crunch

Savills predicts UK shopping centre investment volumes will total approximately £2.5 billion in 2016 compared to a long term average of
£4 billion, but investors will see the market remain resilient.

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ONS promises house building increase

The number of houses in England is set to increase at an average of 210,000
per year to 2039, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has announced.

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Housing market falls sharply following Brexit

According to surveyors, the supply of houses and buyer demand in the UK housing market fell at the sharpest rate recorded following the UK’s referendum vote to leave the European Union.
A study, completed by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), showed that surveyors across the whole of the UK expected prices to fall in the coming months.

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Thames Estuary growth plan launched

Leading experts from across business and government gathered to launch the Thames Estuary growth plan, which seeks to boost productivity, attract skilled workers and capitalise on major infrastructure projects.
The Thames Estuary Growth Commission, led by Lord Heseltine, will be consulting with businesses and stakeholders before submitting their plans to the government ahead of the Autumn Statement 2017.

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Government tinkering thwarts council home building

Successive government tinkering has undermined a plan with the potential to build over 500,000 homes over 30 years, according to a joint report by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH).
The report examines how the 2012 ‘self-financing settlement’ was undermined by successive policy changes which cut rental income, so that today just 45,000 new homes are expected.

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Construction output falls in May following April spike

Construction output was down 2.1 per cent in May, reversing the promising 2.5 per cent growth in the industry in April. According to the figures, the industry was also down 1.9 per cent compared to the same month last year,
with private new housing contributing most to the decrease. Output decreased in all work types with the exception of infrastructure, which had a 0.6 per cent increase, its first rise since December.

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Committee warns government to boost housing target

A report released this week by the Economic Affairs Committee has recommended a 50 per cent increase in the number of homes built each year. The committee criticised Government policy, stating that the current housing target would fail to meet demand, and recommended increasing
it to 300,000 homes per year. Further powers for local authorities and housing associations are also suggested in the report to allow them to speed up the construction process.

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Javid becomes Communities Secretary in May’s first reshuffle

Former Business Secretary Sajid Javid has taken over at the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) as part of Theresa May’s first
Cabinet reshuffle. Mr Javid, who has been the MP for Bromsgrove since 2010, replaces Greg Clark in what is widely seen as a demotion.

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Transport

Highways England makes headway in infrastructure delivery but more planning needed, says ORR

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has published its first annual performance assessment of Highways England. The report notes that it has made a good
start on delivering £15 billion of investment in England’s strategic road network by 2020-21 while calling for further planning in order to meet other future targets.

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National Rail plans for the next three decades of Scotland’s railway

Network Rail has published its Scotland Route Study (14 July 2016) – a long-term plan looking at how Scotland’s railway could evolve over the next 30
years. The report highlights possible growth in rail usage between 2019 and 2043, and outlines options to enhance the network to meet future needs.

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Grayling takes over as Secretary of State for Transport

Chris Grayling, MP for Epsom & Ewell, has been appointed Secretary of State for Transport.
Mr Grayling replaces Patrick McLoughlin who has become the Conservative Party chairman.

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Energy and environment

New prime minister’s sweeping changes include closure of DECC

As part of a suite of sweeping governmental changes brought in by the Rt. Hon. Theresa May MP on Thursday 14 July, her first day in office as the new prime minister, the Department of Energy and Climate (DECC) has been closed.
Its functions have been transferred to a new department, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), headed up by the Rt. Hon. Greg Clark MP as Secretary of State.

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Report reveals risks of climate change

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) Adaption Sub-Committee (ASC) has presented its new independent UK Climate Change Risk Assessment Report (July 2016) to the Government. The report suggests the UK is likely to experience periods of too much or too little water supply, rising sea levels and
an increase in extreme and average temperatures. These changes pose risks to local communities and businesses such as a higher risk of flooding; the impact of high temperatures on health, wellbeing and productivity of the UK’s population and a rise in water shortages.

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Tidal lagoons are the cheapest option for bill payers, says report

Tidal Lagoon Power, the developer behind the £1.3 billion Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project has published The New Power Cost League Table (July 2016) report. The report claims that tidal lagoons are the cheapest new power generation option for consumers, with a large scale tidal lagoon at Cardiff offering the cheapest price of all new energy generation options with £7.80
per Megawatt an hour over the lifetime of the plant. Although the report claims tidal lagoon is the cheapest option for consumers, it also recognises that the UK requires a diverse energy mix to achieve sustainable and secure energy in the future while limiting the cost to the consumer.

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EFRA Committee launches English food waste inquiry

On Monday 11 July the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee announced that it is launching an inquiry into the economic, social and environmental impacts of food waste in England.
The Committee plans to make a decision on whether voluntary initiatives can tackle this problem or if legislation may be required.

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