Week commencing 20 August 2018

In today's bulletin

• Leading campaign organisations call for land value reform
• CBI report calls for pan-regional infrastructure investment

• Sustainable transport hit by local authority funding squeeze
• British public favour energy system overhaul

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Leading campaign organisations call for land value reform

The Government has been urged to ensure that local communities benefit from increased investment off the back of the ‘huge uplifts’ in land value that occur once agricultural land secures planning permission for new housing.
An open letter from sixteen organisations including Shelter and the National Housing Federation was sent on 20 August to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, and states that using this capital uplift to provide more community benefits such as improvements to infrastructure and more affordable housing will help to solve the UK’s housing crisis.

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CBI report calls for pan-regional infrastructure investment

Transport infrastructure projects such as HS2, Crossrail and the new runway at Heathrow have seen record levels of Government investment, but the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has warned that a disconnected investment strategy risks leaving some regions behind.
Driving Delivery: Turning plans into action on regional infrastructure (August 2018) highlights complicated decision-making procedures and a lack of transparency about the Government’s investment decisions as limiting progress across the country. The report proposes several solutions, including increasing local transport funding in the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review and the creation of a cross-Whitehall Infrastructure Committee.

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Construction employment reaches highest level on record

Job levels within the construction sector have reached an all-time high in Britain, new figures released on 22 August by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed. According to the ONS, employment in the sector has steadily improved since 2014, with employment levels in 2017 increasing by 3.8 per cent compared to 2016.
London, the South East and the North West of England are experiencing the highest concentration of construction jobs, corresponding to 14, 15 and 12 per cent of all construction-specific employment in the country. The ONS estimates that the industry contributed around 2 million jobs in 2017.

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Fall in migration figures could be detrimental for UK construction

A drop in EU net migration could be problematic for the UK construction sector, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has said in response to new data from the ONS. The Migration Statistics Quarterly Report, which was published this month, reveals that EU net migration has returned to levels last seen in 2012.
The FMB has pointed to the falling value of sterling and perceived hostility to immigrant workers as possible reasons for the decline, and warned that the consequences would be felt most acutely in London where nearly one third of the industry’s workers are from the EU.

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Transport

Sustainable transport hit by local authority funding squeeze

A lack of revenue funding and uncertainty over long-term finances are preventing local authorities from investing in sustainable travel options, the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned. In a survey of local councils in England, published on 24 August, more than 80 per cent cited revenue funding as a barrier to investing in public transport and cycling and walking initiatives, which would help to reduce car use, tackle air quality issues and promote exercise.
The LGA asserts that by 2020, Government funding cuts will mean that councils will have lost 60 pence of every £1 the Government had provided to spend on local services.

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Logistics sector critical of Government’s no deal preparation

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has responded to the Government’s no deal Brexit papers by calling for more ‘detailed information’ to prepare the UK for a possible break from the European Union.
The group urged that more ‘workable solutions’ are needed to ensure the UK’s logistics businesses continue to trade effectively, and warned that reduced access to EU workers, new customs and border arrangements, and disruption to vehicle permits could cause issues for the industry’s supply chains.

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Energy and environment

British public favour energy system overhaul

A survey has uncovered large-scale support among the British public for a transition to a more decentralised, renewable-focused energy system. ClientEarth, an environmental law organisation, commissioned the Climate Snapshot survey which was conducted by YouGov, and found that three in five people believe that the Government is not adequately preparing for the challenges of climate change.
It also revealed that almost two-thirds of the British public would install solar panels and energy storage devices in their homes if greater assistance was available from the Government.

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ESA proposes new recycling strategy

The recycling sector should move away from weight-based recycling targets and adopt a strategy based on ‘smarter indicators’ in order to meet targets set by the EU Circular Economy Package, the Environmental Services Association (ESA) has urged.
The organisation’s new research report found that the current approach focuses on ‘quantity not quality’ which has led to low quality, often contaminated materials being sent for recycling. The report also sets out how weight data should be combined with new metrics, information and performance standards to ensure recyclables are managed more efficiently throughout the whole value chain.

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Other News

Manufacturing outpaces rest of economy on productivity and wages

The manufacturing sector now accounts for 45 per cent of UK exports and is outperforming the rest of the economy, according to a new report from EEF – The Manufacturers’ Organisation.
UK Manufacturing Facts 2018/2019 shows that the sector’s productivity growth from 2012 to 2017 was 3.1 per cent, compared to 2.4 per cent for the whole economy and the services sector over the same period. Wages reflect this strong performance with an average salary of £32,467 – £3,358 higher than the rest of the economy and £4,188 more than those working in the services sector.

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