Week commencing 9 November 2020

In today's bulletin

• Labour sets out green investment priorities
• Heavier intermodal freight set for trial

• Walk the walk before UN climate conference
• New taskforce to drive green transition in jobs market

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Labour sets out green investment priorities

The Labour Party has challenged the government to support a set of “priority programmes”, included in a report launched on 10 November, that it believes will spur a green economic recovery in the UK.
Among the programmes highlighted for investment in Labour’s Green Economic Recovery are carbon capture and storage (CCS), numerous hydrogen-based projects, and a coordinated UK-wide system of retrofit and building stock decarbonisation. The party also called for more government support for wind power supply chains in what they described as an enhanced Offshore Wind Sector Deal.

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Planning reforms won’t achieve the homes needed

The government’s planning white paper will not satisfy the country’s need for new homes, according to 72 per cent of respondents to an Affordable Housing Commission survey of social landlords.
The findings were published in an 11 November report, with a further 85 per cent believing the reforms will decrease the amount of social housing and almost three-quarters saying this is the wrong time to be drastically changing the planning system.

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Inconsistency in utility planning across London

Planning experts have called for utilities infrastructure to be granted the same importance as social and transport infrastructure in planning developments.
On 12 November, a new report from the Royal Town Planning Institute challenged the current fragmented approach and called for cohesion across all stages of planning – from policy and investment, to data and workforce skills.

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Government’s planning reform ambitions concern councils

Local Authorities lack the resources to deliver on the Planning for the Future white paper proposals, according to a survey by Public Practice – a not-for-profit social enterprise focused on public sector planning.
The results, published on 9 November, found 82 per cent of respondents believed they did not have the existing in-house capacity and skills to deliver on the government’s ambitions.

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Healthcare sector outperforms wider commercial property market

The healthcare property market outperformed commercial property in 2019 following a series of major hospital and care home deals, the latest research from Knight Frank shows.
Published on 9 November, Healthcare Capital Markets Research 2020 reports that property transactions in the healthcare sector were up 17 per cent from 2018 – hitting a record high of £1.76 billion.

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Transport

Heavier intermodal freight set for trial

The government has opened a consultation over a potential trial to allow some goods vehicles to carry heavier loads on UK roads – raising the limit for intermodal freight from 44 tonnes to 48 tonnes.
The consultation runs to 4 January 2021 and the government hopes feedback will help to ascertain how such a trial could be implemented, including how results are tracked.

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Jobs and GDP to benefit from ban on polluting cars

32,000 new jobs could be created if the government brings forward the UK-wide ban on selling cars using internal combustion engines (ICE), Greenpeace has claimed in a new report published on 10 November.
The impact of a 2030 ICE phaseout in the UK argues the policy could spark a 0.2 per cent growth in GDP and needs to be complemented by significant funding for other forms of transport that enable people to leave their cars at home.

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Pandemic drives reliance on cars

The pandemic has made having access to a car more important despite 49 per cent of the UK’s motorists telling a RAC study that they have driven less over the past year.
Published on 12 November, Car dependency and the pandemic reveals that 57 per cent of drivers think having access to a vehicle has become more important since the pandemic began, a figure partially attributed to increasing concerns about hygiene on public transport.

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Energy and Environment

Walk the walk before UN climate conference

The UK’s activity around reducing carbon emissions must be quickly increased if it is to show credible leadership when it hosts next year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference.
In a report published on 12 November, the Net Zero All-Party Parliamentary Group set out a ten-point action plan to achieve the government’s carbon reduction targets, including proposals to mandate the use of low carbon materials in building, and developing an ambitious hydrogen strategy.

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UK water industry sets sights on net zero

Water companies have put investment in innovative methods of renewable energy generation at the heart of their 10-point plan for achieving a net zero water supply across the UK by 2030.
Water UK, the body representing the UK’s water suppliers, published its Net Zero 2030 Routemap on 12 November, in which it argues that beating the government’s 2050 target will help save up to 10 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

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RIBA charts path for councils to build sustainably

Councils must adopt low carbon standards for home construction, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has recommended as part of its new report on how to speed up the delivery of new, more sustainable and attractive council homes.
Homes for all, published on 6 November, aims to provide advice to local and national government, and recommends new standards for design and build quality that can be protected through the procurement process.

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Renewables go from strength to strength

Renewable power has shown robust growth this year, particularly when compared with the steep decline of fossil fuels since the onset of the pandemic, according to a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Published on 10 November, Renewables 2020 shows that green energy will account for almost 90 per cent of the increase in overall power capacity globally in 2020 – led by wind, hydropower and solar PV.

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Other News

New taskforce to drive green transition in jobs market

A new working group has been set up to help steer the jobs market over the next ten years and support the government’s strategy to achieve net zero by 2050.
The Green Jobs Taskforce includes representatives from the public, private and third sectors who met for the first time on 12 November to start building an action plan aimed at supporting the transition to a low carbon economy.

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