Week commencing 14 May 2018

In today's bulletin

• Building regulatory system needs ‘radical reform’, finds Dame Judith Hackitt
• City Hall launches council house comeback

• RTPI and TCPA publish new guide to help planners tackle climate change
• Communities hit out at government fracking proposals

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Building regulatory system needs ‘radical reform’, finds Dame Judith Hackitt

The chair of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety has said that the UK’s building regulatory system needs ‘radical reform’.
. Speaking after the publication of her Final Report which was commissioned by government following the Grenfell Tower fire, Dame Judith Hackitt said the current system ‘is far too complex’ and ‘lacks clarity’. Her report sets out a new framework that aims to improve building standards for both new and existing buildings.

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Government makes commitments to building safety reforms

In response to the publication of Dame Judith Hackitt’s report on building regulations and fire safety, the government has made a series of commitments about making sure people living in high-rise buildings are safe.
. It will launch a consultation on banning the use of combustible materials in cladding systems on high-rise residential buildings, help residents blow the whistle on landlords who do not maintain safe buildings, and change the law to reform the building regulatory system.

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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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City Hall launches council house comeback

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, launched a dedicated City Hall programme on 16 May to support the provision of council housing across the capital.
The Building Council Homes for Londoners programme will help kickstart the delivery of 10,000 new council homes over the next four years. It will offer councils access to expertise and resources to encourage large-scale new-build programmes that replace properties sold under Right to Buy.

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New build homes offer buyers considerable cost savings

According to the Home Builders Federation, home ownership is becoming a reality for increasing numbers of first time buyers, thanks to a combination of the Help to Buy scheme, better energy efficiency and cheaper running costs.
The federation flagged research which showed that buying new build homes could offer considerable savings when compared with older properties. When it came to energy efficiency, calculations suggested this could amount to almost £5,000 annually, with further savings made through not having to invest in upgrades to fittings and fixtures.

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Mayor of London should receive greater powers to get land for homes, says new report

A report published by Urbanism Environment and Design Ltd – entitled Capital Gains: A Better Land Assembly Model for London – has said that the Mayor of London and local authorities should be given greater powers to get more land into development for new homes in order to help fix the capital’s housing crisis.
The report suggests that a specialist team at City Hall be set up to identify land for housing and compulsory purchase powers are reformed and devolved to the mayor.

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Four million new homes needed, according to figures

New figures released on 18 May have shown that the housing need backlog in England has reached 4 million homes.
The research, published by the National Housing Federation and national homeless charity Crisis, suggests that 340,000 new homes need to be built per year until 2031 to meet existing need and provide for future demand.

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Transport

DoT introduces new remote control driving laws

New laws introduced by the Department for Transport (DoT) on 16 May mean that from June 2018 drivers will be able to use remote control parking on British roads.
The changes to the Highway Code were supported by manufacturers, insurance groups and haulage companies and it is hoped the updates will give motorists clarity about how this technology can be used.

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Hydrogen trains to steam ahead in UK

On 14 May the Institute of Mechanical Engineering (IMECH) announced that Alstom, the French multinational transport company, plans to introduce hydrogen trains to the UK.
Alstom plans to fit hydrogen tanks and fuel cells to ‘upcycle’ Eversholt Rail’s Class 321 trains. As a result, steam and condensed water could replace noxious fumes along train routes and at busy terminals.

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Energy and environment

RTPI and TCPA publish new guide to help planners tackle climate change

On 16 May, The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) announced that they have come together to produce a new guide aimed at helping planners and politicians tackle climate change.
The new guide, Planning for Climate Change – a Guide for Local Authorities, provides an overview of policy and legislation which can be used to address climate change at a local level, overcoming the barriers faced by many local authorities in England.

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Green finance report finds investment at lowest in ten years

A report published by The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee on 16 May, ‘Green finance: mobilising investment in clean energy and sustainable development’, has found that the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy does not do enough to meet legally binding climate change targets.
In its report, the committee calls on ministers to urgently publish a delivery plan to secure the investment needed to meet the fourth and fifth carbon budgets between 2023 – 2032.

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Communities hit out at government fracking proposals

Government plans to allow shale gas explorers to drill test sites in England without planning permission have been met with opposition from environmental groups and local communities.
The proposals, released on 17 May promised to ‘streamline and improve’ the process, in addition to launching a £1.6m shale support fund for local authorities.

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Bank of England should put climate change to top of the agenda

The Bank of England has been urged by monetary reform campaign organisation Positive Money to place climate change and low carbon initiatives at the ‘front and centre’ of the Bank’s directive, to help reach carbon goals set out in the Paris Agreement.
The Green Bank of England report makes several recommendations to the Bank of England and the government to achieve this, including not buying bonds issued by fossil fuel companies.

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Wind energy could rise 10pc thanks to global warming

Onshore wind energy potential in the UK could increase by 10 percent if the average temperature of the world rises to 1.50C above the pre-industrial level, a new study by the Institute of Physics has found.
The research found that while most of Europe would see an increase in wind power generation potential, the increase would be greatest in the UK.

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