Week commencing 26 October 2020

In today's bulletin

• UK leads the way with offshore wind as global pipeline grows 47 per cent despite COVID
• Levelling up takes shape with first Town Deals totalling £180 million announced

• Regional income disparities will limit First Homes success, new research suggests
• UK Green Building Council seeks feedback on renewable procurement framework

Property, Planning and Regeneration

£180m First Town Deals announced

A new regeneration fund for seven areas in England was announced by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick on 27 October.
Local authorities in Barrow-in-Furness, Blackpool, Darlington, Peterborough, Norwich, Torquay and Warrington will share £178.7 million as part of the government’s levelling up agenda.

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Neighbourhood Plans lead to bigger, better developments

The neighbourhood planning system has produced more homes, improved design policy, refined local priorities and strengthened local engagement, according to the University of Reading.
Published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on 26 October, the Impacts of Neighbourhood Planning in England report recommends increasing the accessibility and uptake of neighbourhood planning.

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First Homes research highlights regional disparities

The First Homes scheme will see significant regional disparities in home ownership opportunities for lower earners, according to a new study.
The report by Savills suggests the government’s flagship affordable housing policy scheme will be more accessible to low-threshold incomes in the north and midlands than in London and the south.

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Fifty per cent more sales agreed than this time last year, but the future looks bleak

The pause in stamp duty has led to an annual house sales increase of 50 per cent with prices rising much higher in affluent areas, according to Zoopla.
The website’s monthly house price index was published on 28 October, revealing a median house price ten per cent higher than last year.

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Transport

Bus journeys fell ahead of March lockdown

Local bus journeys in England fell by 5.5 per cent in the year ending March 2020 as people took up social distancing measures in the final weeks before the national lockdown.
New statistics published by the Department for Transport on 28 October show that 51 per cent of all passenger journeys took place in London this year.

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Network Rail commits to science-based climate targets in world first

Network Rail has become the first rail firm to set independently verified goals to limit global warming to meet the aims of the Paris Agreement on climate change.
The company has taken part in the Science Based Targets initiative, including aiming for a 46 per cent reduction in all direct emissions and a 28 per cent reduction in non-direct supply chain emissions by 2029.

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Call for sustainable transport funding in spending review

Sustainable transport must be supported by the government in its upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review, the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) said on 29 October.
Writing to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, CBT urged the Treasury to consider cancelling the planned rail fare increase in January and to better incentivise take-up of zero emission vehicles.

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Energy and Environment

Industry group seeks views on renewable energy procurement

The UK Green Building Council is seeking feedback from stakeholders on guidance for renewable energy procurement, carbon offsetting and carbon accounting.
The consultation will include two workshops before it closes on 17 November.

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Have your say on the government’s long-term environmental goals

Can the government deliver its environmental ambitions, mitigate risk to achieving net zero and maximise value-for-money?
That’s the question being asked by an inquiry into the government’s long-term plan for environmental health, which runs until 25 November.

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Offshore wind pipeline grows despite pandemic

The UK has the biggest pipeline for offshore wind projects in the world, according to a report published by RenewableUK on 28 October.
The Offshore Wind Project Intelligence report also reveals that the global capacity of offshore wind project pipelines has grown by 47 per cent since the start of this year.

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Other News

Local government funding: a spending review inquiry

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee is seeking views for its inquiry into how local government funding should be addressed in the upcoming 2020 Spending Review.
The inquiry runs until 27 November and will assess local authorities’ finances and services amid COVID-19.

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