Industry Intel

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

Tina Ledger

Graphic Designer

Jul 27, 2022

From struggles with land, labour, and material shortages to the UK government offering additional grants to support work towards a carbon-neutral future, there have been many new developments in the housing world throughout October.

As Brexit and the effects of Covid-19 continue to disrupt work and impact small businesses, grants have been authorised to assist companies in continuing construction and creating energy-efficient homes that will reduce carbon emissions. In more positive news, one London borough has been tackling homelessness with the construction of modular homes.

Read on to discover the key issues in the construction industry.

Councils Caution Against Free Garden Waste Collections

Local governments have warned against the proposed plan to begin free garden waste collections, stating that it would cost an extra £564m per year and require an additional 600 HGV drivers.

Although this scheme aims to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills, councilors have spoken out against it because it could clog up the local roads, worsen air pollution, and increase demand for HGV drivers at a time of a nationwide shortage.

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Land Shortage Preventing New Buildings

New research published by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) states that 63% of small builders are limited to buying new homes due to a lack of land. 62% also revealed that they are struggling with material shortages to complete these buildings.

There have additionally been complaints about the constraints of the planning system, with 61% of those surveyed in the 2021 House Builders Survey feeling held back.

However, recent government commitments to improving the system will allow small builders to access the self and custom build market for an extra boost.

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Haringey to Tackle Homelessness with Modular Homes

A joint development between Haringey Council and developer Hill Group has seen 33 modular homes delivered as part of an initiative to tackle homelessness in London.

The modular homes, also known as SoloHaus, cost £5 per week to run. The £15m initiative is situated in a former storage yard and will consist of 200 homes. Within the next five years, more than 150 homes currently in development are set to be completed.

Haringey Council will provide a team of staff to support those living in the homes to tackle the root issues of homelessness. Half of the homes have been donated by Hill Group, with the other half funded by the Greater London Authority and central government.

For more information, click here.

Camden Considering Climate Bond Scheme

Camden has become one of the first councils in the UK to put climate bonds in place to aid the funding of green projects. This will enable residents to invest as little as £5 to assist with environmentally friendly initiatives. Other councils joining the scheme include Eastbourne, Islington, and Lewes.

Climate bonds were piloted by Warrington and West Berkshire councils last year in a bid to help Camden become a carbon-neutral borough by 2030, twenty years ahead of schedule.

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Chancellor Struggling to Find Funding for Local Governments

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak reportedly has no plans to increase funding for local governments despite taxation rising to their highest level in peacetime. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) states that £28bn worth of tax hikes have been planned, although this will be spent on areas such as healthcare.

Paul Johnson, director of the IFS and editor of the Green Budget, stated: “On central forecasts, there will be little or no scope to increase spending on things like local government, the justice system, and further education, after a decade of sharp cuts.”[1]

For more information, click here.

More Safer Streets Funding Allocated

A third round of safer streets funding has been awarded to help women and girls feel safer on the streets.

This funding was doubled in March to £23.5m following the murder of Sarah Everard by police officer Wayne Couzens. Along with the murder of Sabina Nessa in September, there have been many calls from activists and MPs to make the streets safer for women.

The funding granted to local authorities and police forces will improve education, attitudes, and public spaces.

For more information, click here.

London Boroughs Plan to Improve Energy Performance

The Retrofit London Housing Action Plan has announced a plan to upgrade all domestic buildings in London to EPC B by 2030. Improving the energy efficiency of homes will help to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change.

Each individual borough will retrofit 390,000 council homes to help to guide the city away from gas heating.

It is estimated that achieving this goal will cost around £9bn, but will support 200,000 jobs, encourage green industries, and reduce fuel poverty. Philip Glanville, the Mayor of Hackney, and chair of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee states that this investment will lower fuel bills and encourage a green economic recovery.

For more information, click here.

Government Plan £2bn Housing Plan for Brownfield Sites

The government has announced that 160,000 green homes could be built on the brownfield sites that are no longer in use as part of the agenda to reach zero emissions by 2050.

Building on brownfield sites is a more eco-friendly and sustainable option than using fields or green belts. Nigel Wilson, the Chief Executive of Legal and General, is calling for these homes to be affordable so that poverty-stricken people have the opportunity to enter the housing ladder for eco-friendly homes.

This plan also comes with a promise from the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to build ‘pocket parks’across the UK to improve access to green spaces for those in urban areas.

For more information, click here.

Homes England to Offer Green Loans for Enterprises

Homes England has partnered with lender Octopus to finance small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) builders in developing environmentally friendly, low carbon housing.

Finance will be available between £1m and £20m to create homes with a minimum EPC rating of B. Homes built with higher energy efficiency rates will benefit from lower interest rates on the loans.

The Housing Minister Christopher Pincher states: “We are determined to ensure that our homes are fit for the future and improving energy efficiency is a key part of our ambitions to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.”[2]

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Build-to-Rent Developers Exempt from Cladding Tax

Build-to-rent developers are confirmed to be exempt from the £2bn cladding tax proposed by the government to pay for fire repairs on existing buildings. Investment in this sector is encouraged to help meet the demand for housing across the UK.

The cladding tax will pay for unsafe cladding to be removed and make the buildings more secure. This comes after the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire, where flammable cladding partially caused the building to burn for over sixty hours.

However, this exclusion is still under review and may be subject to change in the future.

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Mayor of London to Review Housing Delivery

Lord Bob Kerslake has been tasked with finding ways for the Greater London Authority (GLA) to deliver affordable housing promptly. Sadiq Khan aims to build 79,000 affordable homes between 2021 and 2026, with only £540m left from the £4bn budget remaining. £3.46bn has been used to fund 29,500 homes.

The review will identify how many homes have been delivered and how the GLA can work more effectively to deliver on the targets set.

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Material and Labour Shortage Puts the Brakes on Building

The lack of materials and labour has impacted the registration and building of new homes, with numbers dropping significantly. New home registrations, which occur when work is started on site, fell by 27%. Completions dropped by 8% in total.

Covid-19 restrictions, Brexit, and a skills shortage have combined to create a perfect storm of conditions to slow building and prevent the completion of construction on many sites.

For more information, click here.

Net Zero Strategy Grants to Help Push for a Carbon Neutral Future

Additional money has been granted to support the electrification of vehicles and the government’s plan to produce zero carbon emissions by 2050.

An extra £350m has been added to the £1bn already provided by the government. It will be spent on electric vehicle grants and residential charging points. The additional funding will also be used to add thousands of zero-emission vehicles to the road.

This investment will support up to 440,000 jobs in green industries by 2030 and stimulate £90bn in private investments.

For more information, click here.

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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.

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