Week commencing 22 February 2016

In today's bulletin

• Building charity launches online housing resource for communities
• New build homes at highest level since before housing crisis

• High Speed Rail’s final report released
• Doubts cast on ‘Dash for Gas’ usefulness

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Coastal communities set to benefit from over 100 economic plans

On Monday 22 February, coastal communities from across the country submitted economic plans to boost growth and employment in their areas. More than 100 plans were submitted and included a proposed new
history centre in Plymouth, a high street redesign in Scarborough and a town “rebrand” for Folkestone.

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Building charity launches online housing resource for communities

The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community launched a new online housing toolkit on Monday 22 February. ‘Beauty In My Back Yard’ (or BIMBY) is designed to help communities influence the quality and aesthetic of new
developments in their area. It has so far received support from HRH the Prince of Wales and the housing minister Brandon Lewis MP.

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New build homes at highest level since before housing crisis

Construction began on more than 143,500 new homes last year, with latest figures up 23 per cent on the same quarter in 2014 and almost double the industry low point of 2009. Statistics released on Thursday also showed
that completions rose by 21 per cent, putting both starts and completions at their highest level since 2008.

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House prices across UK see annual increase

Data released by the Land Registry’s House Price Index on 26 February showed an annual average price increase of 7.1 per cent putting the average cost of a home in England and Wales at £191,812. London saw the
greatest gains with a 13.9 per cent rise while house prices in the North East increased by only 0.2 per cent.

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Residential planning approvals make strong recovery in Q3

According to a report by Glenigan, residential planning approvals in the third quarter of 2015 made a good recovery; up 12 per cent. The number of approved units was nine per cent higher than in 2014 and corresponded with a rise in approvals in both the private and social housing sector.
The size of approved projects also increased, with schemes of 10 or more units accounting for 85 per cent of consented applications.

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High Speed Rail’s final report released

The High Speed Rail Bill Select Committee published its final report on Monday 22 February, after two years and 1,600 petitions against the bill.The report recommends amendments to the discretionary compensation
scheme, noise mitigating measures at Wendover and a long Chilterns tunnel. The next stage for the report is to be examined by the House of Commons and the Department for Transport.

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Liverpool to pay £2bn for HS2 link to avoid falling behind northern rivals

Joe Anderson, the Mayor of Liverpool, has offered £2 billion toward the cost of High Speed Rail 2 (HS2) if the government sends high speed trains to the city. With HS2 planned to directly link Manchester and Leeds to London, via
Birmingham, Liverpool’s leaders are worried the city will be left behind its northern counterparts and could seriously harm George Osborne’s plans for a “northern powerhouse”, unless it’s incorporated in the proposals.

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Government fails to set example for integrated transport plan

The Transport Committee has published a report into transport links to UK airports. The report has blamed the lack of leadership in strategic planning for Heathrow and Gatwick for holding up plans for improved rail and road links to the nations other airports. The Committee has urged
the Government to create an integrated transport plan to improve links to regional airports and in turn boost economic development in the regions.

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Energy and environment

Doubts cast on ‘Dash for Gas’ usefulness

A new report from the UK Energy Research Centre has cast doubt on the role gas could play in bridging the gap to a low carbon energy sector. The report
found that a lack of carbon capture and storage technology means the opportunity for gas growth by 2050 is little more than 10% on 2010 levels.

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DONG to build unsorted household waste bio plant

DONG Energy is to open the world’s first commercial bio plant capable of turning unsorted household waste into energy and recycled materials, in
Northwich, Cheshire. The plant, with an annual capacity of 120,000 tonnes, is based on technology first seen in a demonstration plant in Copenhagen.

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UK oil production jumps for first time in over a decade

UK oil production jumped significantly for the first time since 1999, according to the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s 2015 energy statistics. Other headlines included a seven per cent jump for low-carbon generation
(to 43% of supply) and a one percent fall in primary energy consumption, a 10th annual fall in a row.

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