Week commencing 13 November 2017

In today's bulletin

• Local Government Association calls for Right to Buy changes
• New transport powers for the Northern Powerhouse

• Wind to become leading EU electricity source by 2030s
• Figures show 15 per cent increase in new homes

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Building affordable homes in rural areas preserves the life of towns and villages

According to a report published by the National Housing Federation on 13 November, building just a few affordable homes for young families in rural areas could preserve the life of England’s towns and villages.
The new report highlights where the intervention of housing associations, having built over 3,000 rural homes over the last year, has kept pubs, schools and post offices open in rural areas.

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Local Government Association calls for Right to Buy changes

The Local Government Association (LGA) has warned that the Right to Buy scheme is under threat, with councils unable to replace a third of homes currently being sold under the scheme. Since 2012, councils have been forced to sell off enough affordable homes to house the population of a city the size of Reading, Canterbury or Oxford.
The LGA is calling on government to use the Autumn Budget to allow councils to retain 100 per cent of Right to Buy sales receipts and have more freedom to borrow to invest and to set rents, as well as they flexibility to determine how they implement Right to Buy locally.

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Government housing targets need better economic foresight, says RTPI

New Government proposals for assessing local housing need will only entrench existing house building patterns and fails to address the need for a housing type and tenure mix, according to the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).
In response to a Government consultation on the issue, the RTPI said wider plans such as local authorities’ employment projections and economic growth strategy should be considered when assessing housing need.

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New homes on London’s rooftops could help fix capital’s housing crisis

More than 40,000 new homes could be built in central London using vacant space on existing rooftops, according to research by Knight Frank.
The study identified over 28 million square feet of potential floor space, worth £51 billion.

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Figures show 15 per cent increase in new homes

New figures released by the Government on 16 November showed the number of new homes in England has risen by 15 per cent over the past year.
Of the 217,350 net additions to the residential property market in 2016-17, 183,570 were new build homes.

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Energy and rail sectors set to grow as surveyor workloads increase

The results of the Q3 2017 RICS Construction and Infrastructure Market Survey shows steady growth relative to the previous quarter, with a net balance of 22 per cent of surveyors reporting a rise in workload.
While rail and energy are set to be the fastest growing infrastructure subsectors over the next twelve months, the increase in output costs and shortage of labour restricts the growth in profit margins.

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Transport

Transport Committee launches public inquiry into rail infrastructure investment

On 13 November the Commons’ Transport Select Committee launched a new public inquiry into the current system of planning and delivering investment in rail infrastructure. With significant overruns in the period
2014-2019, which will now likely run into the 2019-24 funding period, the committee is seeking feedback on whether the current system remains adequate.

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New transport powers for the Northern Powerhouse

The North is set to be given new devolved authority over how money is spent on transport, so said the Transport Minister on 16 November. New legislation is set to transform Transport for the North into the first ever statutory
sub-national transport body, with Jesse Norman MP stating that this underlines the Government’s commitment to the Northern Powerhouse.

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Energy and environment

New policy statement aims to streamline planning process for water resources

The Government opened a consultation on their National Policy Statement for Water Resources on 13 November as they prepare for an expected increase in demand. The NPS proposes making a wider variety of
schemes eligible to go through the planning process for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs). The consultation will run until 22 December.

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Wind to become leading EU electricity source by 2030s

The World Energy Outlook 2017, released on 14 November, has predicted that wind will become the leading source of electricity in the EU by soon after 2030. The report also says that global energy demand will increase by
30 per cent by 2040, but efficiency improvements will mean this figure is only half as much as it would have been otherwise.

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