Week commencing 3 February 2020

In today's bulletin

• Government to reduce cost for first-time buyers
• Local authorities to compete for funding to become Britain’s first all-electric bus town

• The end of coal
• New guidance for major UK infrastructure projects

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Government to reduce cost for first-time buyers

First-time buyers will be given a 30 per cent discount on new homes if a new proposal becomes Government policy.
The average saving would be around £100,000 and would apply to new builds reserved for local people, with an emphasis on helping veterans, police, nurses, prison officers and teachers.

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UK housing land values increase after two years of uncertainty

UK residential land values increased towards the end of 2019 after two years of stagnation, according to the latest analysis from real estate adviser Savills.
However, the policy of reducing carbon emissions from new homes by 20 per cent by 2050 is pressuring land values and increasing the cost of property.

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West Midlands commits to ‘real world’ affordable housing

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has become the first region in the UK to introduce its own localised definition of affordable housing. The upper limit for rent or mortgage payments for an affordable property will now be set at 35 per cent of average pre-tax local earnings.
The policy will only apply to developments receiving investment from the Combined Authority.

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Ninety-seven per cent of local authorities to increase council tax

An annual survey of councils has found that 97 per cent of local authorities in England are set to increase council tax this year.
The LGIU MJ State of Local Government Finance Survey 2020, published on 5 February also notes that 77 per cent of authorities surveyed lacked confidence in Business Rate Retention as a way to self-fund. However, 63 per cent claimed they would still support it.

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Transport

Local authorities to compete for funding to become Britain’s first all-electric bus town

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced on 6 February that local authorities can apply to become the first all-electric bus town, with the winning area receiving a maximum grant of £50 million.
This is part of a wider fund aimed at overhauling England’s bus services, helping to make them greener and more reliable.

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Data sharing project to transform travel

Transport for West Midlands is leading a new £8 million consortium to open up travel data for vehicle makers, inventors, coders and entrepreneurs.
The public-private consortium will set up a National Data Exchange named ConVEx aimed at accelerating the development of new mobility products, enabling the UK to capture benefits of new transport technologies sooner.

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Energy and Environment

The end of coal

The Government intends to consult on bringing forward the deadline for removing coal-generated power from Britain’s energy system from 2025 to 2024. In 1990, 70 per cent of Britain’s energy came from coal, but that has declined to three per cent today.
As coal is the most carbon intensive fuel, the change will help the UK’s drive to lower emissions as the country works towards net zero by 2050.

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Energy watchdog publishes plan for a net zero future

Ofgem has published its Decarbonisation Action Plan, which sets out its recommendations on how the UK can reach net zero by 2050.
Suggested actions include building a system to support electric cars, developing an offshore grid, and creating an innovation fund to support research.

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Consultation launches on the recovery and disposal of chemical waste

New guidance on the recovery and disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous waste is set to be introduced to improve the design and operation of processing facilities.
A consultation was launched on 3 February with stakeholders involved in the transfer or treatment of chemical waste.

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Other News

New guidance for major UK infrastructure projects

The National Infrastructure Commission has set out a blueprint for future projects with the development of four design principles: climate, people, places and value.
These principles aim to guide the planning and delivery of major UK projects, challenging those in the industry to think about what constitutes good design.

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