Week commencing 25 March 2019

In today's bulletin

  • CPRE argues for brownfield first policy
  • House price growth subdued in March
  • ‘Patch and mend’ approach to potholes is ‘not value for money’
  • European Parliament votes to ban more single-use plastics

Property, Planning and Regeneration

CPRE argues for brownfield first policy

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) says there is space for more than one million new homes on brownfield sites.
The State of Brownfield 2019 report, published on 25 March, features an analysis of councils’ brownfield land registers and argues for building on derelict and vacant land to meet housing needs while limiting development on greenspaces and the countryside.

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Local plans lagging behind in areas constrained by green belt

Council areas where more than 50 per cent of the land is green belt are struggling to keep their local plans up to date, according to new analysis.
The report by Savills published on 27 March contrasts the approaches taken by different areas across London and the South. Tensions between the National Planning Policy Framework, support for the green belt concept and the challenge of delivering housing targets continue to exercise politicians.

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Social rent homes delivered by housing associations hit record levels

Statistics from the National Housing Federation show the number of social rent homes completed by housing associations in the final three months of 2018 was the highest since records began in 2016.
Survey results released on 26 March showed London and the South East were the best performing regions, while the North East and Yorkshire and Humber were delivering the fewest new properties for social rent.

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New home owner satisfaction rate highest since 2006

Satisfaction among new home owners is at an all-time high, according to the Home Builders Federation (HBF).
The industry body released survey results on 26 March showing that 86 per cent were satisfied with the quality of their new home and 87 per cent would recommend their builder to a friend. Launched in 2006, the National new home customer satisfaction survey is one of the largest studies of its type in the UK.

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London retail sites offer housing opportunity

London’s housing crisis could be eased by changing the use of large retail sites to provide new homes, according to Savills.
Around eight per cent of ‘big box’ sites are vacant and could be changed to mixed-use under proposals to ‘diversify and intensify’ that could also include redeveloping car parking space.

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Concerns growing over UK’s “not fit for purpose” homes

Almost two-thirds of people are worried about the quality of the UK’s homes, up six per cent in the past year.
The annual HomeOwners survey by YouGov also found that 60 per cent were worried about the leasehold/ freehold system due to high fees, unfair service charges and a lack of control over major works.

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House price growth subdued in March

House price growth remains subdued according to the March Nationwide House Price Index.
The building society’s tracker found a 0.2 per cent rise from February and only a 0.7 per cent annual rise. The index also showed that London was the weakest performing region in Q1, with prices 3.8 per cent lower than the same period in 2018.

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Transport

‘Patch and mend’ approach to potholes is ‘not value for money’

The Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) has warned that 40,000 miles of Britain’s roads are at risk of crumbling within five years, despite an increase in highway maintenance budgets.
AIA chairman Rick Green said that using budgets to patch and mend potholes will not provide value for money. The AIA says investment is still falling short and that £1.5 billion extra is needed every year for the next decade to solve the problem.

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Khan calls for TfL to take control of rail infrastructure

Sadiq Khan has asked the government to put Transport for London in charge of the infrastructure for suburban services.
The Mayor of London said the move, which would take responsibility away from Network Rail, would pave the way for a metro-style service for the South and South East London.

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European Parliament adopts new emission standards for vehicles

Cars and vans will have to meet more stringent environmental standards inside the EU after 2020 as the bloc seeks to reduce transport emissions.
The new rules mean that by 2030 new car emissions must be 37.5 per cent lower than in 2021, with vans required to be 31 per cent lower.

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Energy and environment

Cost of oil and gas decommissioning still unclear

There is ‘significant uncertainty’ over the cost to taxpayers of work to decommission offshore oil and gas assets, according to an influential group of MPs.
The Public Accounts Committee also raised concerns that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has no plan in place to take advantage of the potential economic benefits of decommissioning.

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European Parliament votes to ban more single-use plastics

The European Parliament has voted to ban more single-use plastics among a raft of new rules aimed at reducing marine litter.
The new rules also include measures to reduce consumption of single-use plastic, and schemes giving producers responsibility to clean up litter caused by their plastic products. The move marks the latest step in the EU Plastics Strategy which aims for all plastic packaging in the EU market to be reusable or recyclable by 2030.

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Renewables provide a third of UK power in 2018

Increases in solar and wind generation took renewable energy production to a record high of 33.3 per cent for the UK in 2018, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
A report on 28 March also showed that low carbon sources of electricity generated a record of 52.8 per cent. In contrast, coal now provides 13 times less output than bioenergy and waste, wind, solar and hydro production.

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Other News

Infrastructure delivery problems could cost the economy £19bn by 2030

Poorly planned and badly executed infrastructure projects will cost the economy £19 billion by 2030, according to Mace.
The construction consultancy’s report, A Blueprint for Infrastructure, states that 80 per cent of projects world-wide experience cost or project overruns. The report assesses the flaws that hinder the planning and delivery of successful developments and gives ten practical and policy solutions.

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