Week commencing 6 March 2017

In today's bulletin

• Government must address imbalance in housing fund, says CIH
• Savills says 2016 the best year for commercial property investment

• Traffic hotspots receive £110 million in funding
• Mayor delivers London’s first Low Emission Bus Zone

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Government must address imbalance in housing fund, says CIH

New figures compiled by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) have revealed that despite the government’s ambitions to solve the housing crisis,
only 16 per cent of the £51 billion it has earmarked for housing will directly fund affordable homes.

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CPRE urges new strategic approach to land

In its latest pamphlet – Landlines: why we need a strategic approach to land – the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has urged the government to tackle the “fragmented approach to land use”. It argues that dozens of
different organisations are responsible for different issues, often meaning problems are caused by conflicting demands.

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House price growth declines to lowest rate since July 2013

The annual rate of growth in UK house prices has slowed to its lowest pace in three and a half years, according to the Halifax. Prices increased by 5.1 per
cent in the year to February, the lowest since July 2013.

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Joint Committee urges vacating the Palace of Westminster during refurbishment

Independent consultants and a Joint Committee of the two Houses have put forward an independent options appraisal (IOP) that recommends vacating of the Palace of Westminster during its much-needed refurbishment.
With a high risk of fire and the removal of asbestos required, this approach has been suggested as the most technically feasible option that also represents the best value for money to the taxpayer.

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Savills says 2016 the best year for commercial property investment

According to real estate advisor Savills, last year’s real estate investment activity in Europe was the third highest on record, with transaction volumes reaching €207 billion. Despite this figure being down 15 per cent
year-on-year, with notable decreases in the UK and Germany, increases in Italian, Dutch and Swedish markets made 2016 the best year to date for commercial property investment.

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Residential sales market remains subdued while lettings continues to grow

According to February’s RICS UK Residential Market Survey, transaction volumes remained broadly unchanged for the third month running, with new buyer enquiries yet to see any meaningful growth since November 2016.
Conversely, in the lettings market, tenant demand increased for the third consecutive month with 15 per cent more respondents noting an increase on a non-seasonally adjusted basis.

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Transport

Traffic hotspots receive £110 million in funding

Transport Secretary, Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, has unveiled the traffic hotspots in England to share £110 million in funding. The schemes aim to cut congestion and journey times, as well as improve road safety.
A further £110 million of funding to improve more of England’s roads will be revealed at a later time.

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Mayor delivers London’s first Low Emission Bus Zone

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, opened the city’s first ever Low Emission Bus Zone on Thursday, 9 March. The new scheme, being run in Putney High
Street, one of the most polluted areas of London, is the first of 12 new Low Emission Bus Zones to be introduced to the capital’s streets.

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Over four per cent of Britain’s bridges “substandard”

More than 3,000 of Britain’s council run road bridges are “substandard”, according to analysis by the RAC Foundation. Data compiled from 199 of the 207 local highway authorities showed that 3,203 bridges over 1.5 meters in
length (4.4 per cent of the country’s total) are unfit to carry the heaviest vehicles. The total cost to bring all of these back to perfect condition is estimated to be around £890 million.

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Energy and environment

Inquiry into plastic bottle and coffee cup waste begins

The Environmental Audit Committee has launched an inquiry into the environmental impacts of disposable drinks packaging, particularly plastic bottles and coffee cups.
The inquiry comes as household recycling rates are flat lining across the country with just one in 400 cardboard coffee cups recycled daily, leaving almost seven million going to landfill or ending up in the ocean

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Oil demand forecast to outpace supplies from 2020

According to market analysis from the International Energy Agency (IEA), oil supplies are predicted to slow significantly after 2020 as companies struggle to meet demand.
The report suggests that new projects need to be approved soon in order to cope with the pressures of increased oil usage across the world, particularly in India and China.

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