Week commencing 21 November 2016

In today's bulletin

• Smart building revolution a decade away
• Government crackdown on local authorities holding up planning decisions

• Rail industry backs new approach to travelling in ‘the digital age’
• Welsh counties lead the way for solar and onshore wind improvements

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Smart building revolution a decade away

Seventy four per cent of property professionals believe the UK is a decade away from a smart building revolution, according to a new report by law firm, Charles Russell Speechlys. The report identifies that while around three
quarters of the 270 professionals interviewed recognise the potential commercial benefits of smart technology, more needs to be done to measure the benefits and adapt to manage the new risks involved.

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Government crackdown on local authorities holding up planning decisions

The Government has introduced new measures aimed at improving planning performance. They include proposals to tackle local authorities who are slow at making decisions and who refuse development without good reasons.
Housing and Planning Minster, Gavin Barwell MP said, “An effective and strongly performing planning system is a crucial part of delivering on our commitment to increase housing supply. We are very clear that planning delays are bad for both applicants and local residents.”

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Property prices set to rise steadily over the coming years

While property price growth in the UK is set to slow down, the value of properties will continue to rise year on year, a new forecast from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) predicts. The OBR expects property values to end 2016 up 6.6 per cent, with a 3.4 per cent rise in 2017 and a further 4.4 per
cent in 2018, suggesting that despite Brexit and the expected related economic uncertainty, they believe the fundamentals of the housing market remain unaffected.

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London’s stamp duty too much for first time buyers

London’s escalating house prices and stamp duty reforms have pushed the average price of property in the capital to £548,688 meaning Stamp Duty Land Tax of around £17,433, according to market data from independent estate agent, haart.
The findings have led Paul Smith, Chief Executive of haart to call on the government to cut the cost of stamp duty for first time buyers, to prevent them leaving the capital in search of more affordable homes.

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London property costs 14 times more than average salary

An 86 per cent surge in house prices since 2009 has increased London’s property price to annual average salary ratio to 14.2 times, more than double the UK average of 6.5, according to the Hometrack UK Cities House Price
Index. Other cities identified as expensive compared to earnings are Oxford, Bournemouth and Cambridge, while Glasgow, Liverpool and Newcastle are the cities with the lowest ratios.

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Government plans new housing drive

The government has announced it will invest £7.2 billion in housing, including plans to build 100,000 new homes and 40,000 affordable houses. Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid said, “We have been clear that we need to
build a lot more homes if we are to achieve a country that works for everyone. That is why we are announcing the biggest dedicated housing investment in a generation to get house building firing on all cylinders.”

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Rail industry backs new approach to travelling in ‘the digital age’

Rail industry leaders have said that after a decade of growth and investment we should embrace the latest technology if Britain’s railways are to improve and support the economy. The report, Our Customers, Our People. A railway for the digital age was published last week by the Rail Delivery Group, which
represents train operators, Network Rail and High Speed 2. It shows how technology on new trains, in new signalling systems and in the way tickets can be bought and used will benefit customers and the rail industry.

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Government calls for competition on the tracks

Transport Secretary, Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP will set out proposals, within weeks, to end National Rail’s monopoly over the UK’s rail infrastructure.
Mr Grayling has launched an investigation into how competition should be introduced and is expected to make an announcement before parliament goes into recess on 20 December.

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Measures introduced to reduce London congestion

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced a series of measures aimed at dealing with the capital’s growing congestion and improving reliability for all road users.
The measures include better communication with road users and better collaboration to reduce disruption from roadworks.

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Energy and environment

BEIS asks for industry views on reducing energy consumption

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is looking at the best way to alter the use of heat and energy in non-domestic properties. The Department’s Business Energy Efficiency Survey (BEES) has
identified the potential to save 63,160 GWh per year from increased energy efficiency. Over a third of this could come from measures which could payback investors in three years or under.

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Welsh counties lead the way for solar and onshore wind improvements

The charity and independent think tank, Green Alliance, has named Gwynedd and Mid Glamorgan as the counties in England and Wales that have made the biggest improvements in renewable energy over the past year.
Gwynedd tops the rankings for progress made in solar power developments, and Mid Glamorgan for onshore wind. The results also ranked Cambridgeshire in the top three for both categories.

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