Week commencing 25 November 2019

In today's bulletin

• Planners’ vital’ for local authority housebuilding success
• Home building on the rise after months of uncertainty

• Business leaders critical of transport infrastructure
• Europe could deliver 450 GW of offshore wind by 2050

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Planners ‘vital for local authority housebuilding success’

A report by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has highlighted the vital part planners play in the success of local authority housebuilding.
‘Local Authority Direct Delivery of Housing RTPI Practice Advice’ was released on 26 November and considers how they balance supporting and promoting local authority-led development with impartial scrutiny of all developments.

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Home building on the rise after months of uncertainty

NHBC statistics show an increase in new homes built in October, up 6 per cent compared with the same month last year.
The figures are being welcomed by the home building industry after several months of Brexit uncertainty and the accompanying slowdown. The registration statistics makes October the second busiest month of 2019 so far for the new homes market.

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UK should adopt climate impact resilient infrastructure by 2030

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has launched a rallying cry for action on climate resilience in the built environment.
In his blog published on 25 November, UKGBC Director of Policy and Places John Alker has responded to recent widespread flooding in the Midlands and the North by urging a radical re-imagining of homes, workplaces and infrastructure to better manage future climate impacts, as well as address the ecological and biodiversity crisis.

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Mixed picture in NAEA Propertymark sales figures

Demand for housing is higher than the same point last year, but lower than it has been earlier in 2019, according to NAEA Propertymark figures for October 2019.
Sales figures remained steady, however sales to first time buyers decreased, and 85 per cent of properties sold for less than the original asking price.

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Business leaders critical of transport infrastructure

Over a third of UK businesses don’t believe the public transport network meets their needs, research from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and Stagecoach has found.
The BCC has called on the next government to invest more heavily in the road and rail networks, as well as giving businesses more of a say in local decision making.

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RSSB preps rail network for net zero carbon

The Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) has set out plans for environmental improvements to improve the UK rail network, targeting both air quality and decarbonisation.
Its Clean Air Research (CLEAR) programme implements an air quality strategy designed to cut emissions. Meanwhile the DECARB initiative sets out both short and long-term targets to help the industry contribute to the push for net zero carbon by 2050.

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Energy and environment

Europe could deliver 450 GW of offshore wind by 2050

WindEurope has examined how to deliver 450 GW of offshore wind as part of the European Commission’s scenario for climate neutrality by 2050. Its ‘Our energy, our future’ report released last week (26 November) is a remit from the Energy Ministers of the 10 ‘North Seas’ countries.
It sets out where 450 GW of offshore wind could be deployed in the North Sea and Southern European waters. With only 20 GW today, reaching this scale would require significant investment in offshore grids and space-efficient spatial planning.

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England’s recycling rate ticks up slightly

England’s household waste recycling rate rose by 0.3 per cent in the 2018/19 financial year, according to official Defra figures published on Thursday (November 28).
While recycling rates across the country plateau at around 45 per cent, individual councils are still showing significant improvements, with Lewes District Council showing the biggest yearly jump from 27 to 40 per cent. East Riding of Yorkshire was again the council with the highest recycling rate at 65 per cent, while Newham had the lowest at 17 per cent.

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How to get the UK to net zero

The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) published its ‘Zero Carbon Britain: Rising to the Climate Emergency’ report on Thursday (28 November). It sets out how the UK could reduce its energy demand using existing technology and cut greenhouse gas emission to get to net zero before the Climate Change Act target of 2050.
CAT says that offshore and onshore wind energy can provide around half of the energy supplied, with the remainder met by solar, geothermal, hydro, tidal and other renewable sources.

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70p ‘bag for life’ call

A new report from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Greenpeace UK has revealed that despite their ‘green promises’, single-use plastic used by UK supermarkets increased in 2018 to over 900,000 tonnes.
‘Checking Out on Plastics II: Breakthroughs and backtracking from supermarkets’ showed an average of 54 ‘bags for life’ were bought by every UK household in 2018, and only three of the top ten UK supermarkets achieved small reductions to their overall plastic footprint. The report calls for legally binding targets to reduce plastic packaging by at least 50 per cent by 2025, raising the price of ‘bags for life’ to 70p and banning single-use plastic bags.

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