Week commencing 5 August 2019

In today's bulletin

  • Chancellor pledges a fast-tracked Spending Round ahead of Brexit
  • Climate change means change to land use, warns IPCC
  • RICS to establish a global standard for land measurement
  • Making the agriculture industry greener: Select Committee inquiry

Property, Planning and Regeneration

RICS proposes global best practice standards for measurement of land

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has launched a consultation on new guidance for a uniform approach to measuring land.
RICS has proposed clear definitions for land area, site area, net development area, plot ratio and site coverage.

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Latest Halifax House Price Index shows slight cool-off in July

The cooldown in the housing market continued into the start of the summer, according to newly released figures.
Halifax’s latest House Price Index shows a 0.4 per cent growth from May to July when compared to the previous quarter, but a fall of 0.2 per cent in July.

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Falling supply driving increase in rents, says RICS

Rental prices are being pushed up by falling supply in the lettings market at a time when the government’s focus is on increasing home ownership.
The RICS Residential Market Survey for July 2019 shows that increases in sales and prices in recent months could start to flatline too, with sales figures struggling despite an uplift in enquiries from new buyers.

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UK construction activity falls for third month

UK construction output fell for the third consecutive month into July, according to latest industry figures.
The IHS Markit/ CIPS UK Construction Total Activity Index shows a sharp drop in new orders, reflecting lower volumes of work amid political and economic uncertainty.

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Young adults not flying the nest

One in four young adults still live at their childhood home or have moved back in, according to new data from the Office for National Statistics.
The high cost of renting and growing house prices are cited among the reasons affecting the accommodation choices of people aged 20 to 34.

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Age UK publishes report on the accessible housing crisis

Age UK has published a report outlining the challenge of providing enough accessible housing for older people.
The charity wants to dispel myths that it says are used in arguments against new standards, and calls for new regulations to help provide homes better suited to people’s needs.

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Transport

M1’s new rubber surface

A new road surface using recycled tyres is being trialled on the M1 motorway near Leicester. Highways England is funding the scheme to assess whether the new material, developed by Tarmac, could be more widely adopted in the future.
The UK sends over 500,000 disused tyres each year to landfill, so reusing tyres would have both economic and environmental benefits.

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Ditch the car to hit carbon targets

A thinktank has released a report that suggests ways to make London a private car-free zone and improve low-carbon transport across the UK.
The report by Common Wealth recommends free bus travel, vehicle sharing services and an Uber-style ride hailing system as the best ways to help replace private car journeys.

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Energy and environment

Making the agriculture industry greener: Select Committee inquiry

Agricultural practices must be reformed to enable the UK to meet the 2050 net-zero target, according to MPs. The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee noted that the industry produces 10 per cent of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
The committee’s inquiry will consider ways of reducing agriculture-related emissions without threatening food production or making life harder for farmers.

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Industry coalition calls for government to support onshore wind

Onshore wind is the cheapest and most effective way to reduce carbon emissions, according to the signatories of a letter sent to the new Energy Minister.
Renewable energy developers, investors and trade bodies have urged Kwasi Kwarteng to back the technology, insisting its benefits come at a low cost to the consumer.

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Climate change means change to land use, warns IPCC

Changing our diet and reducing food waste are key actions people can take to help adapt use of land to a changing climate, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The Panel’s new report on land use and global warming suggests reforms to food systems as one method for reducing impact on land quality while improving public health.

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‘Reuse rather than replace’, says green think tank

Replacing single-use plastics with alternatives like aluminium cans is not as effective as using refillable water bottles, according to a report published by an environmental think tank.
The Green Alliance’s research found that replacing half of the UK’s plastic bottles with aluminium would create enough toxic waste to fill the Royal Albert Hall more than six times.

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Other News

Chancellor pledges to speed up Spending Round ahead of Brexit deadline

Sajid Javid has announced a fast-tracked Spending Round to support commitments made by the new Prime Minister and fund government activities over the next year.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said his decision to speed up the process will “clear the ground” before the Brexit deadline on October 31.

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Weak pound and new work abroad helps service sector grow

Activity in the service sector increased in June, according to new figures published by economic analysts.
The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit/CIPS UK Services PMI Business Activity Index revealed the increase, with survey respondents suggesting that increased export sales and the sharp rise in new work internationally were down to the weakness of the pound.

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Retail sector continues to suffer slow sales

Retail sales only increased by 0.3 per cent in July – the lowest figure for July since records began and 1.2 per cent lower than last year’s increase.
Slow wage growth and Brexit uncertainty is to blame for The British Retail Consortium’s findings, according to the trade association’s Chief Executive.

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