Week commencing 30 November 2020

In today's bulletin

• Planning reforms to fast-track schools and hospitals
• Landlords challenge reforms to renting rules

• Electric vehicle charging under review
• Government needs to ‘step up’ to reach net zero target

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Planning reforms to fast-track schools and hospitals

A quicker planning process for public buildings, such as schools and hospitals, is among the “unprecedented” planning reforms announced by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) on 3 December.
The proposals also allow for commercial and business properties to be switched to residential uses more easily. The consultation runs until 28 January 2021.

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Landlords challenge reforms to renting rules

Almost a year after the government promised a Renters’ Reform Bill, UK landlords are campaigning for a system that also protects the interests of property owners.
In a report titled Striking a Balance published on 2 December, the National Residential Landlords Association called for clarity on legitimate repossession and a dedicated housing court for resolving disputes.

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Half of housing associations committed to building more homes

A major loss of confidence in the UK economy has not stopped almost half of housing associations from ramping up their plans to build new homes over the next five years, according to accounting and business experts.
The results of BDO’s Social Housing Barometer also revealed areas in the north and north west of England had the most ambitious plans.

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Strong growth for house prices in November amid long-term uncertainty

November saw house prices grow at their fastest rate since January 2015 as buyers’ priorities continued to focus on access to outdoor space.
However, the figures from Nationwide’s monthly price index come with a warning from the building society that the outlook remains highly uncertain.

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Office market holding up well during pandemic

The market for office space in the UK’s prime central locations is holding up well compared to other European countries, according to a new study.
CBRE’s EMEA Real Estate Market Outlook, published on 3 December, says yields from investment have remained stable during the pandemic.

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Record interest in industrial warehouse space

Demand for warehouse space in the online retail sector has grown dramatically this year, data published on 3 December by Savills has shown.
The market for data centres and film studios has also grown as the COVID-19 pandemic forces employees to work from home.

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Government seeks views on night-time flights

Proposals to change the regulations for night flights from Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted have been published by the government.
The Department for Transport is consulting on plans to keep the same restrictions until 2024 but is asking for views on new restrictions after that.

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Electric vehicle charging under review

In a bid to boost the UK’s transition to net zero by 2050, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is reviewing the electric vehicle charging sector.
The review aims to ensure the sector is equipped for the 2030 ban on polluting vehicles and the deadline for comments is 5 January 2021.

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Energy and Environment

UK aims to STEP up clean energy plans

The government has set a deadline of the end of March 2021 for local communities to put forward their vision to host the UK’s prototype fusion energy plant.
It is claimed that the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) provides limitless energy – copying the processes that power the sun – and could bring thousands of highly skilled jobs to the host region.

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Barriers to net zero target identified

Reaching net zero by the government’s 2050 target will be a huge challenge requiring significant collaboration across all public sector bodies, according to the National Audit Office.
Published on 4 December, the Achieving Net Zero report says barriers include ambiguity on costs and strategy, public opinion and the need for better monitoring to track progress.

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Net zero plan needed for the North Sea

A net zero deal for the UK’s oil and gas industry must be developed to set caps on extraction and investment in new industries.
That’s the view of the Institute for Public Policy Research, which says the transition should be co-funded by the UK and Scottish governments.

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Other News

Manufacturing grows but Brexit deadline brings raw materials shortage

The looming end of the Brexit transition period led to year-high demand in supply chains, causing shortages of raw materials.
The IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index published on 1 December shows that UK manufacturing grew overall to a 35-month high, but the consumer goods sector shrank due to falling consumer confidence.

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