Week commencing 13 May 2019

In today's bulletin

  • Reconsider economic case for HS2, Lords committee says
  • Focus on benefits of major infrastructure projects, not cost
  • £25 million pot available for zero-emission projects
  • Labour announces plan for new National Energy Agency

Property, Planning and Regeneration

‘Focus on benefits of major infrastructure projects, not cost’

The success of major infrastructure projects should be measured on benefits rather than costs, according to the Institution of Civil Engineers.
A report published on Thursday by the Institution showed 74 per cent of adults think too much focus is placed on budgets and not enough on potential gains.

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Japan’s biggest housebuilder brings modular experience to the UK

Japan’s biggest housebuilder has bought 35 per cent of Urban Splash’s modular housing business.
The £90 million investment will see Sekisui House work with Homes England to help speed up production of new homes.

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NHBC publishes guide to help site managers streamline build programmes

The National House Building Council has published a guide for site managers at new-build developments to help them buy services such as gas and electrical installation.
The document aims to promote smooth running of projects by providing tips on the legal requirements of commissioning.

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CMA investigation into leasehold mis-selling welcomed

The Competition and Markets Authority has announced an investigation into the mis-selling of leasehold properties.
The department will examine the extent of mis-selling and whether demands such as permission fees and double ground rents constitute ‘unfair terms’. Enforcement proceedings could be brought against developers and freeholders.

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Transport

Reconsider economic case for HS2, Lords committee says

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee has called for a review of the business case for HS2.
In a new report, Rethinking High Speed 2, released on Thursday, the committee argued the Government has made little progress answering key economic questions raised in the past.

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£25 million available for zero-emission projects

The Department for Transport has awarded £25 million to 22 projects working to develop zero-emission technologies for new vehicles.
The investment, announced on Wednesday, is a key part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy. The winning projects range from promoting electric motorbikes to lowering emissions from agricultural vehicles and HGVs.

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Minister urges transport improvements for older and disabled people

Jesse Norman has urged companies developing new modes of transport to prioritise accessibility for people with mobility issues.
Speaking on Tuesday (14 May), the Transport Minister said that new technologies like autonomous vehicles can transform accessibility for older people and those with disabilities.

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Almost three quarters of vehicles comply with ULEZ in first month

The proportion of ‘cleaner’ vehicles entering central London’s new ultra-low emission zone has increased by 16 per cent in its first month of operation.
According to the Mayor of London’s office 74 per cent of vehicles were compliant in the period following launch on 8 April.

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Energy and environment

Labour announces plan for new National Energy Agency

Energy transmission infrastructure would be nationalised under a future Labour Government, the party announced on Thursday.
The National Energy Agency would replace National Grid and 14 regional energy agencies would replace the current private distributors.

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Committee criticises ‘overly cautious’ approach to Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed is no more damaging to properties than other disruptive plants, according to a new report by MPs.
The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has criticised the ‘overly cautious’ approach to tackling the problem, with members stating that other countries do not treat the plant with the same level of caution.

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Other News

Women in work push UK employment to 48-year high

UK employment rates have hit a record-high of 76.1 per cent, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The peak has been driven by the highest ever proportion of women in work, which increased to 78.1 per cent in the latest statistics.

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Brexit’s growing toll on UK business

Business confidence has fallen to its lowest level since 2012 and manufacturing is expected to dip in the coming months, according to a new study.
BDO’s report on UK output growth blames Brexit for the bleak outlook and reveals that stockpiling as a result of no-deal fears had helped prop up the economy in early 2019.

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