Week commencing 12 October 2020

In today's bulletin

• New builds and rural markets lead housing recovery
• Government behind on broadband programme

• Four scenarios for tackling climate change amid Covid-19 recovery
• €10million benefit for every new wind turbine installed in Europe

Property, Planning and Regeneration

New builds and rural markets lead housing recovery

Real estate experts have described the housing market recovery as ‘incredible’ but say the effect has not been uniform across the country.
The New Homes and Market Sentiment published by Savills on 13 October details how a shift in priorities following lockdown has led to commuter and rural areas seeing double the number of sales compared to the equivalent four weeks last year.

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Housing need should be determined by affordability

Affordability must be the priority when determining housing need in different areas of the UK, according to the housing minister.
In a speech on the government’s planning reforms, Christopher Pincher told District Council leaders that the government wanted to enable people to live and work where house prices are currently prohibitive.

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Government behind on broadband programme

Communities in hard-to-reach rural areas are lagging behind their urban counterparts on superfast broadband access, according to a new report.
The National Audit Office’s Improving Broadband study found that 20 per cent of premises in rural areas do not have speedy internet access, compared to just three per cent in towns and cities.

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New call for evidence on planning in England

A group of MPs has opened an inquiry into the government’s proposed reform of the English planning system.
The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee has issued a call for evidence covering greenbelt, public engagement and modern technology in the planning system.

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UK “must turn away from car travel”

The Government should focus on reducing the number of people making car journeys and encourage greater long-term use of public transport, according to energy experts.
The report from the UK Energy Research Centre published on 14 October also recommends buses and trains be upgraded to electric or hydrogen-powered if the UK is to meet its 2050 net zero carbon emissions target.

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Asbestos removal driving up HS2 costs

The unexpected discovery of asbestos on the proposed route of HS2 and the re-development of Euston Station could add an extra £800 million to the bill for the first phase.
The Government’s first biannual HS2 report highlights these increased costs and the possibility that Covid-19 may delay the project past the 2033 scheduled completion date.

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Energy and Environment

Government support ‘vital’ for business climate goals

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and energy firm Drax Group jointly urged the Government to make it easier for UK businesses to achieve climate targets.
BCC’s survey of 527 businesses as part of the build-up to the UN Climate Change Conference revealed that financial barriers were seen as the main obstacle.

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Four scenarios for tackling climate change amid Covid-19 recovery

Investing in renewables and upgrading the grid are the keys to ensuring global energy systems are fit for tackling climate change, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency.
Published 13 October, the World Energy Outlook report projects four scenarios, with the most ambitious outlining the measures needed to achieve global net-zero by 2050.

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€10 benefit for every new wind turbine installed in Europe

Each new wind turbine installed creates €10million of economic activity, according to an influential industry group.
WindEurope’s report on 16 October showed the strengths of the growing industry in outlining its €37billion contribution to Europe’s economy, but the group also warned that the sector could lose 20,000 jobs if there was not more clarity on policy.

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Other News

Solving Britain’s housing crisis

In the latest Strictly Infrastructure podcast we speak to Peter Bill as he explores why the Planning for the Future White Paper and proposed planning reforms may not be the key to getting more homes built.
We also delve into the details of planning policy, from the role of beauty and importance of densities, to land values and the size of homes.

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