Week commencing 14 December 2020

In today's bulletin

• Housing plans redirected to urban areas
• Infrastructure experts back rail links for the north

• Energy White Paper charts path to net zero
• New tool launched to predict bus use in cities

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Housing plans redirected to urban areas

The government’s new housing formula is redirecting housing plans away from the south east and towards urban sites elsewhere.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick suggested the adjustment was part of the ‘levelling up’ agenda in his announcement on 16 December.

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Challenge to commercial property valuations

Professionals, consumers and other stakeholders are set to give their view on commercial property valuation methods in an effort to improve industry guidance.
The first step of the independent review of the practices by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors was launched on 16 December.

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Social housing providers becoming more confident with MMC

Housing associations are becoming more confident in adopting modern methods of construction, according to an industry representative.
A report by Mark Farmer for the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government suggests collaboration, and research and development have helped the sector improve.

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House demand and sales break records in November

Demand for homes hit a new high in November, with the number of house sales per estate agent branch up by 86 per cent to new record highs.
The rise is thought to be driven by upcoming changes to Stamp Duty and other taxes.

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House prices up in year to October

House prices rose by an average of 5.4 per cent in the year to October, according to the House Price Index published by the Office for National Statistics.
The East Midlands, North West and Yorkshire and The Humber have experienced the highest rises.

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Transport

Infrastructure experts back rail links for the north

Creating better regional rail links between northern cities and the midlands should be a bigger priority than a key section of HS2, the National Infrastructure Commission has said.
The NIC’s Rail Needs Assessment report recommends a series of upgrade packages for the immediate, short and long-term, including delaying delivery of HS2’s Sheffield to Leeds route in favour of intercity links in the north instead.

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New tool launched to predict bus use in cities

A new model has been launched to predict bus use in cities and help the industry recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Urban Transport Group’s Metropolitan Bus Model incorporates data from a range of variables including population, car ownership and employment.

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Energy and Environment

Energy White Paper charts path to net zero

Increasing wind and nuclear energy, phasing out gas and investing in low carbon industrial ‘clusters’ are among the ambitions of the Energy White Paper, which was published on 14 December.
The policy document sets out a key part of the government’s work to reach net zero by 2050.

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Assessing the cost of net zero

The government has published an interim report on the UK’s move to net zero, focused on how the green transition will be funded and the potential impact of decarbonisation on the economy.
HM Treasury’s Net Zero Review, published on 17 December, provides analysis ahead of a final Net Zero Strategy next year.

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Other News

Covid-19 vaccine boosts public opinion of government

Labour and the Conservatives have ended the year tied on 41 per cent in the polls, following a Covid-19 vaccine boost for Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
However, the government’s track record on core issues was thought to be less successful, with 63 per cent of Britons saying it had done a ‘bad job’ on Brexit.

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