Week commencing 29 June 2020

In today's bulletin

• Government to strip back planning regulations in ‘Project Speed’
• Ban combustion engines to meet net-zero target

• £79 million towards net zero industry and homes
• UK most attractive G20 country for the young

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Government to strip back planning regulations in ‘Project Speed’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revealed plans to radically reform the planning system to boost the construction industry and housebuilding in the UK. Among other implications, the new rules announced on 30 June will allow many commercial properties to be converted into housing without planning permission.
These immediate reforms will also be followed by a more comprehensive planning policy White Paper later this month.

Read More

Labour criticises Jenrick “land grab”

Plans to give Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick extended control over the housebuilding and planning are a “land grab” and must be stopped, according to Shadow Housing Secretary, Thangam Debbonaire.
Published 30 June, the Labour MP’s statement argues that the proposed plans, which include extending the use of Permitted Development Rights for commercial to residential conversion, will damage the pipeline of affordable and zero-carbon housing. Mr Jenrick is yet to respond to the criticism.

Read More

Put commercial real estate at the heart of delivering economic recovery, report urges

Real estate investor-developers have reduced their intended spend on UK development by £1.2 billion as a result of the economic fallout from Covid-19, according to the British Property Federation’s (BPF) June survey. The trade association simultaneously published its Covid-19 recovery roadmap,
Building a Shared Recovery, to argue that a comprehensive investment programme is needed to encourage renewed confidence in the sector. The document outlines how real estate can deliver private sector investment in areas from high quality housing to creating reimagined urban centres.

Read More

Property market recovery remains uncertain

Real estate experts are mapping out the recovery of the property market, with the best-case scenario seeing building outputs returning to pre-Covid-19 levels in 2021-2022 according to Savills. Published on 29 June, Savills calculations also pointed to the “downside scenario” which would see housing delivery in 2020 fall to 50 per cent of last year’s output and push recovery back until 2023-24.
In this case, greater reliance on Build to Rent and affordable housing sectors will be paramount.

Read More

Renewed demand for new build homes

A Home Builders Federation (HBF) survey has revealed that 55 per cent of respondents value their home space more than ever after weeks of spending more time than usual indoors. The survey, released on 1 July, also shows that two in five people now consider home office space a priority when searching.
The HBF supplements its findings with figures from Zoopla that show buyer demand for new builds has resurged to 66 per cent in the six weeks after the property market reopened in May, in line with demand levels recorded in February 2020.

Read More

Annual house price growth flatlines in June

The annual growth rate of house prices slowed to -0.1 per cent in June, according to Nationwide’s latest UK House Price Index published last month. As the initial impact of the pandemic filters through, this is the first time that annual house price growth has been in the red since December 2012.
While the building society remains cautiously optimistic in the short term, it warns that the medium-term outlook for the housing market remains uncertain as the industry waits to see what the lasting behavioural shifts will be.

Read More


Ban combustion engines to meet net-zero target

The Government must use the economic response to Covid-19 as an opportunity to recalibrate transport infrastructure around a net-zero target. This is one of the central recommendations in the ‘State of the Nation: 2020’ report from the Institution of Civil Engineers, published on 1 July.
The report suggests prioritising bans on internal combustion vehicles by 2030 and stronger incentives to purchase electric vehicles, while also advising on ways to decarbonise the wider built environment and energy sectors.

Read More

Solve wider issues with station development, says design charity

Establishing connections to local centres, improving the quality of green spaces and helping to address the climate emergency are three of nine priorities for future passenger hubs set out in the Design Council’s ThinkStation Summary Report, commissioned by Network Rail.
The report provides a framework for the future design of local railway stations following its engagement programme earlier this year.

Read More

Energy and Environment

£79 million towards net zero industry and homes

Targeting some of the UK’s most energy intensive sectors, the Government announced a programme of funding on 29 June to support the country’s drive to net zero.
The funding includes £30 million to reduce emissions from manufacturing processes renowned for their carbon footprint, and £49 million to help develop innovative heat-efficient homes and heating networks, including green tech, insulation, and repurposing geothermal water in disused mines.

Read More

Committee inquiry calls for evidence: a greener economic recovery from Covid-19

A parliamentary inquiry into ensuring the UK’s economic recovery from Covid-19 helps further net-zero, biodiversity, circular economy and sustainable development goals has made a call for evidence.
Following a session on Covid-19’s environmental implications in May, the Environmental Audit Committee now asks for submissions to inform Greening the post-Covid Recovery to be submitted by 14 August 2020.

Read More

Nationwide home retrofit scheme should be urgent priority

A total of ten organisations, including the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), have signed an open letter to the Prime Minister asking for investment in retrofitting the UK housing stock as the country moves towards economic recovery.
The letter, dated 29 June 2020, calls on the Government to prioritise energy efficiency in a green recovery by immediately kick-starting a nationwide home retrofitting programme as well as setting out a comprehensive roadmap to 2050.

Read More

Other News

UK most attractive G20 country for the young

A survey of 18-34 year olds has shown that the UK is the most attractive country in the G20. Though it does not score top in any of the individual metrics such as attractiveness to study or visit, overall it comes out first in the data by Ipsos MORI.
74 per cent of participants rated the UK as attractive, topping 73 per cent for Canada. It is the first time the UK has been top of the table since 2016 and is an increase of three places from the last survey in 2018.

Read More

New Office for Talent to be established

The creation of a new cross-departmental unit called the Office for Talent was announced on 1 July as part of the Government’s research and development ambitions. Its brief includes ensuring that the UK’s talent offer is stronger than ever, both for experts and those at the beginning of their careers.
The creation of the department has been criticised as an attempt to negate the effects of Brexit, with the Government also announcing a £300 million investment to upgrade scientific infrastructure across the UK.

Read More