Week commencing 13 March 2017

In today's bulletin

• Housing minister promises personal assistance for developers
• Brexit uncertainty a cause for concern in construction industry

• Business leaders urge government to prioritise Crossrail 2
• UK climate action reduces emissions and avoids bill hikes

Property, Planning and Regeneration

New deal announced for Cambridge and Peterborough

The new Mayor of Cambridge and Peterborough will have access to an investment fund of £20 million a year for the next 30 years as part of the devolution deal for the region. Speaking during a visit to the area on 16 March, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, confirmed that £170 million would be made available to aid
housing delivery with £70 million specifically earmarked for the Cambridge City region. The Mayor, who is set to be elected on 4 May, will have power to manage planning across the region and will also be responsible for the transport budget.

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Housing minister promises personal assistance for developers

Housebuilders struggling to find land have been promised personal assistance by the Minister of State for Housing and Planning, Gavin Barwell MP. The minister used the UK government’s inaugural MIPIM promotional stand to
make the assurance to an international audience of developers and reaffirm a Government pledge to tackle the housing crisis by releasing land for 160,000 new homes.

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Brexit uncertainty a cause for concern in construction industry

Almost 200,000 workers in the British construction industry – eight per cent of the overall workforce – are EU nationals, new figures from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) have shown. The professional body advised that, for Brexit to be a success, the UK must retain access to the
single market or take steps to safeguard the future of the construction sector in other ways. According to the RICS, major projects lined up could be put at risk if EU nationals lose the right to remain in the UK.

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Higher density housing key to London’s sustainable future

Sian Berry AM has called for more, higher density housing in the capital, using “every scrap of land in Central London” before building on the Green Belt is permitted. Berry, who was the Green Party candidate in the 2016 London mayoral elections, stressed that new homes should be concentrated in
areas with strong public transport links to reduce the city’s reliance on cars. The Camden councillor also criticised London’s approach to upgrading older homes with insulation and solar panels, stating that it was “way behind” other UK cities in the push for energy efficiency.

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London retains real estate investment title

London remains the most attractive European city for real estate investment for the sixth year in a row, CBRE’s annual Investor Intentions Survey has found. London was the preferred destination for investment according to 17 per cent of respondents, followed by Berlin at 15.8 per cent. The UK was cited as the second most popular country, with a fifth of investors considering it the
most attractive, compared to 22 per cent who favoured Germany. The offices sector was judged the most attractive, although its lead over others is in decline, with investors perceiving industrial and logistics as second most attractive.

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Blueprint to improve home-moving process

A blueprint aimed at providing greater certainty, better protection against fraud and more effective communication for home movers has been published by the Conveyancing Association (CA). Published on Tuesday 14 March, the CA’s Building the framework for the future includes eight work
streams to bring “significant improvements”, including enhanced ID verification, leasehold reform and improvements to the lending process. The plans also aim to enable those moving home to send completion money a day in advance to make the process easier on the day.

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Electric vehicle market inquiry launched by MPs

An inquiry into the role that electric vehicles will play in the shift to a low-carbon economy has been opened by members of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee. Launched on Thursday 16 March, the month-long inquiry will examine the obstacles that the electric vehicle
market needs to overcome, as well as looking into charging infrastructure and purchase costs as part of the government’s forthcoming Industrial Strategy. The BEIS Committee has invited submissions to consider how the emergence of autonomous driving technology could influence the market.

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Business leaders urge government to prioritise Crossrail 2

More than 70 business leaders from across the South East have called on the government to prioritise the delivery of Crossrail 2 as a project of national significance. In a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, The Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP and the Secretary of State for Transport, The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, representatives from EY, Deloitte, Gatwick Airport, Heathrow
Airport and Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce amongst others cited a £150 billion boost to the UK economy from the new railway. They also argued that the project would ease overcrowding on existing routes and benefit the UK’s engineering, construction and manufacturing sectors.

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Cuts to local bus services could isolate rural residents

Over 500 bus routes have been cut down or stopped entirely across England and Wales during 2016/17, according to the Campaign for Better Transport. The charity’s Buses in Crisis report, released on 13 March, indicates that local authority funding for buses has been cut by £30 million compared to
2015/16, and by £100 million – or 33 per cent – since 2010. Based on Freedom of Information requests to over 100 local authorities, the report argues that these cuts to services can create ‘transport deserts’, especially in rural areas, making residents more isolated.

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Energy and environment

London waste and recycling board launches new business plan

Recycling and the circular economy were among the key focuses of a new business plan approved on 14 March by the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) under its new chair, Dr Liz Goodwin. Covering 2017-2020
and with a total budget of £50 million, the plan outlines how the LWARB will contribute to the Mayor of London’s recent goals on sustainable resource management for the capital.

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UK climate action reduces emissions and avoids bill hikes

The UK has seen increased energy efficiency alongside a reduction in household energy bills since the Climate Change Act was passed, according to new analysis by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). Although the
measures that were introduced added around £9 to the average monthly UK household energy bill during 2016, the impact of more efficient lights and household appliances reduced bills by over £20 every month.

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