Week commencing 7 September 2020

In today's bulletin

• Affordable homes funding programme revealed
• Energy storage and research initiatives receive £65 million funding boost

• MPs reject Labour’s Grenfell inquiry amendment
• Four key principles crucial to achieving net zero

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Affordable homes funding programme revealed

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has confirmed details of the Government’s Affordable Homes Programme, outlined in the Spring Budget.
The £12.2 billion programme’s prospectus, launched on 8 September, outlines affordable housing investment plans and initiatives to improve market accessibility for first-time buyers.

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MPs reject Labour’s Grenfell inquiry amendment

An amendment to the Fire Safety Bill, tabled by Labour to reflect recommendations from the Grenfell Inquiry, failed to pass a House of Commons vote on 7 September.
The opposition had proposed greater obligations for residential building owners to share construction information with Fire and Rescue Services, and regular inspections of lifts and entrance doors.

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New show to provide housing market insight

The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and ITN Productions Industry News aired the first episode of their news-style show about issues facing the housing market on 7 September.
Future of Housing aims to showcase leading initiatives in affordable and aspirational housing and to shine a light on sector-issues that have been highlighted by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Government consults on making homes more accessible

The Government is seeking views on designing new accessible homes, as part of the wider development of a National Strategy for Disabled People.
The consultation runs until 1 December and is focused on addressing the housing needs of elderly and disabled people to help them live longer, healthier lives.

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UK house prices rise as buyers prioritise access to the great outdoors

National house price growth has hit a four-year high while interest and sales continue to rise, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ latest UK Residential Survey.
The pandemic has made its mark on buyers’ wish lists and approximately 80 per cent of survey respondents anticipate an increased demand for homes with a garden or nearby green space.

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Targets important for net zero by 2050, says UK highways sector

Regular goals would help the highways industry meet the Government’s 2050 net-zero target, according to industry leaders.
On 8 September, the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation Roundtable agreed that supportive legislation and a greater understanding of carbon emissions is needed by the sector.

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Hitting green traffic lights a win for the environment

Technology that helps cars navigate their surroundings could be used to reduce emissions by decreasing time spent in traffic jams and waiting for traffic light changes, the RAC Foundation says.
The transport research and policy organisation announced on 7 September that it supports trials of connected vehicle technology being used in infrastructure supporting self-driving vehicles.

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Not enough chargers to support EV use

Insufficient charging infrastructure is preventing the widespread uptake of electric vehicles and must be addressed, research commissioned by the Department for Transport has suggested.
The study, conducted by the Behavioural Insights Team and the Transport Research Laboratory, explores behaviour-led changes that could help increase electric vehicle usage in the UK.

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Energy and Environment

Four key principles crucial to achieving net zero

Climate Assembly UK has suggested that efforts to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 must be guided by four principles – education, choice, fairness and political consensus.
The first UK-wide assembly, commissioned by six House of Commons Select Committees to ensure public views inform the Government’s net-zero plans, published its final report on 10 September.

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New £65m investment in energy storage and research initiatives

The Government announced a £44 million funding boost to aid development of electricity storage technology on 10 September.
The money will be allocated via the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, while a further £21 million was announced for aiding nuclear power and gene therapy research.

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Do more to protect the environment, water companies told

Water company bosses were urged by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to improve environmental performance and better safeguard water supplies.
They met with Environment Minister Rebecca Pow on 8 September ahead of the Environment Agency’s upcoming publication of their environmental performance. Storm overflows, chalk streams, resources and leakage were raised as key issues.

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Other News

Incentivise investment in infrastructure, says CBI

The Government must provide more encouragement for private infrastructure investment if it is to achieve its ambitious levelling-up goals, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has said.
Creating a UK infrastructure bank and ensuring clarity of long-term Government-led projects proposed for private finance are included in the CBI’s 13 recommendations published on 7 September.

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