Week commencing 8 October 2018

In today's bulletin

• New £20m fund aims to tackle homelessness
• Relax planning restrictions to increase home ownership among young adults

• Consultation on Lower Thames Crossing begins
• The UK has enough gas and power for the winter

Property, Planning and Regeneration

New £20m fund aims to tackle homelessness

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, has announced a £20 million scheme that aims to help up to 9,000 homeless people secure tenancies in private rented homes.
Launched on 10 October to coincide with World Homeless Day, the Private Rented Sector Access Fund is a key part of the Government’s Rough Sleeping Strategy. Its purpose is to enable local councils to assist those at risk of being homeless to access a home, through avenues including providing financial support to tenants or managing rental properties directly.

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Relax planning restrictions to increase home ownership among young adults

An imbalance between rising property prices and average incomes is one of the key barriers to home ownership among young adults, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies’ (IFS) Green Budget 2018 which is due to be published on 16 October.
The report found that the number of 25-34-year-old homeowners has fallen by 20 per cent in the last two decades, sitting at just 35 per cent in 2017. Reducing stamp duty for young buyers and easing planning restrictions to increase the supply of homes are highlighted as solutions to increase home ownership among young people.

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Planning system limiting affordable housing delivery in poorest areas

The UK’s planning system is failing in areas where the demand for affordable housing is most acute, according to a new report funded by the Nationwide Foundation. Published on 11 October, Planning for Affordable Housing highlighted that 70 per cent of councils feel they rely on the planning system to meet affordable housing need.
The report suggests that poorer authorities are left more vulnerable to developers reducing affordable housing delivery through viability assessments where profit margins are tighter. In contrast, it claims that some affluent areas with high housing costs are delivering almost all of their affordable housing through developer contributions.

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New approach needed to make the most of modular methods

Current thinking must be overhauled if modular construction is to deliver high-quality, affordable and sustainable homes for London, according to a new report from New London Architecture (NLA).
Factory-Made Housing: a solution for London? found that factory methods could deliver better-quality homes up to 70 per cent quicker than traditional methods, with less impact on existing communities and the environment. Published on 10 October, the report highlights that modular construction must be met by a cross-discipline, collaborative approach focused on long-term partnerships to ensure continuous improvement from assessment to installation.

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House price growth slows in September

House prices in the UK increased by 1.8 per cent in the three months to September, despite a monthly drop of 1.4 per cent from August to September, according to Halifax’s latest House Price Index.
Published on 5 October, the report showed that the quarterly figures were 2.5 per cent higher than in the same three months of 2017. However, the annual growth rate slowed from the 3.7 per cent recorded in August to 2.5 per cent last month, reflecting an overall stabilisation of house price inflation.

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Transport

Consultation on Lower Thames Crossing begins

Proposals to build a new Thames road tunnel to connect Kent, Thurrock and Essex have been updated and put to public consultation.
Highways England, which launched the 10-week consultation on 10 October, said the tunnel will now have three lanes in each direction, giving a 90 per cent increase in capacity for traffic going between Kent and Essex, and reducing the number of vehicles using the Dartford crossing by 22 per cent. With a length of 14.5 miles, the route will include a 2.4-mile tunnel under the river.

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New high for private sector investment in rail

The private sector invested £1.3 billion in rail in the year 2017-18, marking an increase of 36.1 per cent on the previous year, according to a new report by the Office for Rail and Road.
Published on 11 October, the Rail Finance 2017-18 Annual Statistical Release recognised the total value of private sector investment over the last decade to be £6.9 billion, signifying that the sector is on track to make the greatest investment in the rail industry since the age of steam.

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Energy and Environment

The UK has enough gas and power for the winter

The UK will have enough energy supplies to last the winter, even under colder conditions than those experienced in recent years, National Grid has assured in its Winter Outlook Report published on 11 October.
The statement comes after National Grid was forced to issue a gas deficit warning last winter following the ‘Beast from the East’ cold snap. The organisation has claimed that more gas has been brought onto the UK market, and that it is confident in its diverse range of energy supply sources.

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Rapid change needed to meet global warming targets

Limiting climate change to a temperature increase of 1.5 degrees will require “rapid and far-reaching change” to global energy systems, industry, transport and cities, the United Nations’ InterGovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned.
Its Special Report on Global Warming, published on 8 October, states that a switch to 80 per cent renewable energy production is needed by 2050, including reducing coal use to near zero and wider uptake of electric vehicles. 195 nations, including the UK, agreed to take steps to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees as part of the Paris Agreement adopted in 2015.

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