Week commencing 21 September 2020

In today's bulletin

• Beauty, design, and environment at heart of planning
• End of the line for rail franchises

• Green light for green gas consultation
• The Oxford-Cambridge Arc: ambitions and actions for good growth

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Beauty, design, and environment at heart of planning

In a bid to secure beauty, design and the environment through the planning process, the Government has appointed the chair of the new design body responsible for guiding local authorities in planning regulations.
Nicholas Boys Smith was given the new role on 22 September, following the announcement of sweeping planning policy reforms this summer.

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Social care pressures can be relieved through town planning

Dementia-friendly town planning could enable people to stay in their own homes longer and reduce the pressures on the social care system, according to new guidance.
A report published by the Royal Town Planning Institute on 21 September advises industry professionals how to accommodate the needs of people with dementia, using examples including clear street signage and accessible toilets.

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Spend £500m to ensure planning white paper objectives materialise

The Government will not achieve the ambitions outlined in its white paper without a £500 million funding increase for the planning system, the Royal Town Planning Institute said.
The industry body’s response to the Comprehensive Spending Review proposes funding allocations for nine planning sub-categories to prioritise local plan-making, design, wider placemaking, climate change and enforcement.

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Demand for space to work from home drives up house prices

The demands of working from home have driven up asking prices for three-bedroom and four-bedroom homes, according to Rightmove.
However, the property sales website’s September index showed an overall increase of just 0.2 per cent.

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Transport

End of the line for rail franchises

The end of rail franchising was confirmed by the Department for Transport on 21 September prior to an expected White Paper on rail industry reform.
The 24-year-old system has been replaced with new transitional Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements – with tougher performance targets – which the Government hopes will help to manage the continued impact of the Covid pandemic on Britain’s railways.

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HS2 cuts carbon through renewable welfare

Solar and hydrogen powered cabins for construction workers have been trialled by HS2 and praised by the Minister of State for the Department of Transport Andrew Stephenson MP.
Tested across 16 locations for 21 weeks, the welfare units saved 112 tonnes of carbon as the project continued to receive criticism from environmentalists.

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Setting the flightpath to carbon-free plan for travel: Jet Zero Council launched

A new industry and government group has been set up to deliver zero-emission air travel.
Details of the membership of the Jet Zero Council were released on 25 September, including representatives of aviation firms, tech companies, investors and NGOs.

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Energy and Environment

Green light for green gas consultation

The Government has launched a consultation on a new measure to help the UK reach its net zero target by 2050.
The Green Gas Levy is a proposed incentive applied to gas suppliers across the UK to help a transition to biomethane and support the decarbonisation of the energy grid. The consultation closes on 2 November.

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Government to back hydrogen as clean energy saviour?

The UK’s leading energy trade association has urged the Government to promote green hydrogen as a central part of the country’s net zero vision of clean energy.
On 23 September, RenewableUK published a new report calling for a clear hydrogen strategy to bring the fledgling technology into the mainstream and reduce costs by 75 per cent. However, some experts are warning that this unproven technology will not provide the climate solution currently promised.

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Other News

The Oxford-Cambridge Arc: ambitions and actions for good growth

Camargue’s latest Strictly Infrastructure podcast explores economic, spatial, social and environmental ingredients for sustainable development in the Oxford to Cambridge corridor.
We talk about leadership, collaboration, design, opportunity and the impact of Covid-19 on how we view the Arc and its potential.

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