Week commencing 12 November 2018

In today's bulletin

• Housing minister and Chartered Institute of Housing at odds over latest figures
• Call for evidence on new ‘specialist Housing Court’

• Rail Minister launches Community Rail Strategy
• Committee on Climate Change publishes two strategies on land use reforms

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Housing minister and Chartered Institute of Housing at odds over latest figures

222,190 new homes were delivered in 2017-2018 representing a two per cent increase on the previous year, the latest data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has revealed. Published on 15 November, the figures were welcomed by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, who said the Government is on track to deliver 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.
In contrast, Melanie Rees, head of policy and external affairs at the CIH, described the figures as “still a long way short of where we need to be.” She called on Government to provide greater support to councils and housing associations to help increase the supply of homes for social rent.

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Call for evidence on new ‘specialist Housing Court’

Plans for a new Housing Court aimed at providing faster and more effective justice in the event of property disputes were announced by the Government on 13 November.
The proposals include a single path of redress both for tenants and landlords, as well as a reduction in the need for multiple hearings in different courts and moving certain types of cases from tribunals to courts and vice-versa. A call for evidence on the plans will run until 22 January.

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Call for lenders to bring back 100 per cent mortgages

Buying a home without a deposit could be on the cards after the Building Societies Association called for lenders to consider bringing back the 100 per cent mortgage. In its report, Intergenerational mortgages: Building on the Bank of Mum and Dad, released on 14 November, the industry body suggested mortgages could be offered to select customers to combat falling home ownership rates among young people.
The report includes other recommendations to help first-time buyers, including tax breaks to encourage the transfer of wealth to younger generations and measures to encourage older people to downsize.

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Net income rises for rural estates

Rural estates up and down the country have experienced a rise in net income of 0.3 per cent, according to Savills’ Spotlight: Estate Benchmarking 2018 survey.
The report revealed that the majority of an estate’s income is generated from its residential and agricultural assets, with owners of privately-owned estates increasingly looking to diversify their income stream to increase revenue and manage the impact of Brexit on farm incomes.

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House prices stagnate in England

House price growth stagnated across England in September, according to the latest figures from the Government’s House Price Index.
Published on 14 November, the Index shows that the average price of a home in England remained unchanged from August to September, with the East and West Midlands regions accumulating the greatest monthly rise, up by 1.1 per cent.

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Average UK rents increase by 2.1 per cent

The average UK monthly rent now stands at £928 per annum, up 2.1 per cent in October 2018 compared to the same month last year.
The latest data by the HomeLet Rental Index also reveals that the average UK monthly rent would fall by £160 to £768 if London rental prices were excluded from the total – an increase of 1.7 per cent year-on-year.

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Rail Minister launches Community Rail Strategy

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Andrew Jones MP, has launched an updated Community Rail Strategy to encourage train operators to support community rail projects across the UK.
He has called on train companies to give more time and resources to both new and existing partnerships to ensure railways benefit local people through various initiatives. The scheme also aims to support the Government’s loneliness strategy by urging community groups to use vacant or underused railway properties for community activities.

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Long-term thinking needed to unlock sustainable transport network potential

Better strategic planning is required to overhaul the UK’s National Cycle Network and open up walking and cycling to more people, according to a report published on 12 November by Sustans. The sustainable transport charity argues that significant investment is needed to prevent the UK’s walking and cycling network from falling short of its potential.
The group’s Paths for everyone report warns that over half of the UK’s population lives near to the National Cycle Network, but much of it is unsafe for children to use and only a third of the network is separated from motor traffic.

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FTA sets ambitious targets for the logistics industry

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has announced an ambitious framework for the UK’s logistics industry as it targets zero atmospheric emissions and near-zero death and injuries from freight movements by 2050.
Speaking at the FTA’s Future Logistics Conference & Expo on 14 November, chief executive David Wells also spoke of the need to attract skilled workers to the sector and create systems able to adapt to meet the changing needs of consumers.

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Energy and Environment

Committee on Climate Change publishes two strategies on land use reforms

Two linked reports setting out strategies to improve land use and help tackle climate change were released on 15 November by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).
Land use: Reducing emissions and preparing for climate change reveals that wholesale agricultural reform is essential to ensure land stores carbon more effectively, while Biomass in a low-carbon economy sets out a strategy for using biomass to reduce emissions. The committee argues that the approach to land use must change if the UK is to meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement.

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Vision to cut plastic packaging pollution

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has called for collaborative action to create a more sustainable circular plastic economy and eliminate single-use packaging by 2025.
WRAP’s UK Plastics Pact Roadmap to 2025, published on 15 November, sets out key targets and actions to help UK businesses, manufacturers, NGOs and local authorities cut their plastic consumption and improve recycling.

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Mixed picture for global energy markets

Trends in the world’s energy markets paint a mixed picture for different resources in the next twenty years, according to the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2018. Published on 13 November, the report states that energy demand is set to increase by 25 per cent in the period to 2040 and that government policy will play a pivotal role in determining how this demand is met.
The Outlook identifies the potential for a supply gap in oil by the end of the decade, while solar demand remains strong and other low-carbon technologies show more limited take-up.

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Limited investment in low-carbon options

The oil and gas industry continues to make minimal investment in low-carbon alternatives despite producing over half of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new report published on 12 November.
Beyond the cycle, produced by non-profit research provider CDP, shows industry-wide investment in renewables is just 1.3 per cent of total 2018 capital expenditure, despite the European oil and gas heavyweights investing up to 7 per cent.

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UK workers add 18 hours to their annual commute in ten years

The average UK commuter now spends an additional 18 hours travelling to and from work every year compared with a decade ago, according to figures released by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) on 13 November. Workers living in the capital have been particularly affected, commuting one hour and 21 minutes every day compared with the national average of 23 minutes.
It also shows that the commutes of black and minority ethnic (BME) workers outstretch those of the average white commuter by more than ten minutes, with BME commuters more likely to travel by bus.

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