Industry Intel

May Industry News Headline Round-Up; Property, Environmental Health & Housing.

Tina Ledger

Graphic Designer

Jul 27, 2022

This May, more funding has been dedicated to schemes including active travel and a drive to improve the energy efficiency of public buildings, driven by a desire to reduce carbon emissions.

It has also been found that over two-thirds of UK homes breach the air pollution guidelines outlined by the World Health Organisation.

In other news, the home office has rejected safety recommendations from the Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan to reduce the chances of a situation like the Grenfell tower fire. A new bill is also being put into place to emphasise beauty when planning houses and towns.

Read on in our latest industry roundup!

Home Office Rejects Grenfell Inquiry Safety Recommendation

The Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEP’s) consultation recommended that owners of high-rise residential buildings make a number of changes, including personal evacuation plans for disabled residents, which would mean that a situation like Grenfell would be unlikely to occur again.

However, the government decided to reject the recommendation, a decision which has left Grenfell United outraged, stating: “They (the government) decided that cutting costs is more important than the value of human life.”

The Home Office raised concerns over implementing PEEPs in buildings with varying fire safety policies and stated that more evidence was needed.

For more information, click here.

New Bill to Put Beauty at the Heart of Planning

Michael Gove has revealed that the Queen’s speech will include a new bill which will revamp planning and boost housebuilding with a focus on aesthetics.

The bill aims to give the public more of a voice in the designs of local developments and for the secretary of state to be able to call in applications on design grounds.

Michael Gove’s Levelling Up and Regeneration Plan has a five-point checklist, including points such as:

  • Beauty
  • Infrastructure
  • Democracy
  • Environment
  • Neighbourhood

For more information, click here.

Ministers Announce £200m for New Active Travel Schemes

£161m has been dedicated to improving accessibility nationwide to affordable zero-emission travel.

Transport minister Trudy Harrisson has confirmed that Active Travel England will oversee the delivery and implementation within local authorities of 134 schemes, including new cycle lanes, footways, and pedestrian crossings.

Active travel commissioner Chris Boardman said: ‘Active Travel England is going to make sure high-quality spaces for cycling, wheeling and walking are delivered across all parts of England, creating better streets, a happier school run and healthier, more pleasant journeys to work and the shops.’

For more information, click here.

Government to Penalise Companies: ‘Plague of Potholes’

A new law is being introduced to penalise companies who leave potholes in streets after carrying out street works.

Utility companies are the industry most responsible for leaving roads in disrepair after roadworks. 9% of utility companies fail post works inspections, with one prominent utility company failing 63% of inspections.

A new performance-based inspection system will be introduced, with those who fail facing financial penalties.

For more information, click here.

Government Announces £553m Investment to Improve Energy Efficiency in Public Buildings

There will be a £553m investment in improving the energy efficiency in public buildings, including Kew Gardens, The National Football Museum, and Nottingham Queens Medical Centre.

The measures will include fitting heat pumps, electric heating, double glazing, LED lighting, installing wall and roof insulation, and implementing renewable solutions such as solar panels across 160 public sector organisations.

The largest portion of funding, £133.9m, has been awarded to the West Midlands, with the East Midlands following with £103.9m.

For more information, click here.

Government Reveals Data Behind £4bn Fire Safety Repair Bill Claim

After being forced by a committee of MPs, the government has finally shared the reasoning and data behind its claim that fire safety remediation works will cost around £4bn.

Almost 9,000 mid-rise housing blocks, those between 11 and 18 metres, will need repairs to comply with fire safety requirements.

For more information, click here.

Queen Visits Paddington Station for Official Opening of Elizabeth Line

The Queen and His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex made a surprise visit to unveil a plaque at Paddington station.

This event marked the completion of the Elizabeth line, part of the long-awaited Crossrail project.

For more information, click here.

UK Homes Breach Air Pollution Guidelines

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has revealed that over two-thirds of UK homes breach air pollution limits outlined by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

WHO specifies three key pollution guidelines which relate to atmospheric particulate matter. Air pollution is a known cause of cancer, and CIEH is working hard to improve air quality by ensuring the UK government amends the Environmental Bill to be in line with WHO’s recommendations.

Currently, 97% of UK addresses are affected by air pollution that falls short of the guidelines, and as many as 70% breach all three categories.

For more information, click here.

Commencement of the Fire Safety Act 2021

The Fire Safety Act 2021 was passed through parliament last year. and as of 16 May 2022, it has come into effect.

The Act amends the existing Fire Safety Order with precise specifications for requirements to buildings with two or more domestic premises. The Order applies to the structure, external walls, and doors between domestic premises and communal areas.

The regulations arising from the bill will carry out fire safety recommendations made by the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry.

For more information, click here.

Government Rebuffs Fresh Calls for Retentions Reform

The government has confirmed that it is not making any changes in its policies around retention within the construction industry.

Construction minister Lee Rowley has confirmed that the government is aware of the issues raised by retentions and that they are working “with both officials and the Construction Leadership Council to implement a solution.”

It has previously been estimated that suppliers and subcontractors have lost around £1bn since 2018 through retentions. However, Rowley has stated it is difficult to measure the exact amount.

For more information, click here.

Planning Fees to Soar by a Third in Bid to Ease Planning Gridlock

The government’s Chief Planner Joanna Averley has said that the government is looking to increase planning fees for developers by more than a third in recognition of the current stress on the planning system.

A briefing paper stated that fees for major applications would increase by 35% and minor applications by 25%.

The increased fees will be used for better resource planning departments to enable local authority planners to better cope with the number of planning applications received and improve service.

For more information, click here.

Gove Ditches Five-year Land Supply Policy

New planning reforms announced in May will mean that councils with up-to-date housing site plans will no longer need to provide a five-year housing land supply plan.

For more information, click here.

Share this article

Graphic Designer

Tina Ledger

Being such a people person makes Tina exceptionally good at her job. She not only can relate to most people in one way or another, but she also genuinely enjoys hearing about other people’s experiences. Couple that with her resilience and ability to flourish under pressure, and you’ve got yourself a cracking recruiter.

More from our blog