Chief Construction Adviser role axed, new format of CLC to be introduced

DBIS have announced that Peter Hansford’s role as Chief Construction Adviser will not be renewed following the end of his tenure position this year, and the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) is to have a new structure and focus on business.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (DBIS) writes:
The council was created in 2013 to work between industry and government to identify and deliver actions to improve efficiency, skills and growth in UK construction.

Skills Minister Nick Boles (who co-chairs the council), said:  The construction industry recently saw its 24th month of consecutive year on year growth, and is key to our plan for increasing Britain’s productivity and prosperity.  We will work closely with the newly focussed Construction Leadership Council, with its top business expertise, to deliver that plan and drive growth for the sector and wider economy.

The new membership of the council sees a reduction from its previous 30 members to 12, in response to calls from the sector to make it more effective and business-focused. Members have been drawn from leading construction firms such as Laing O’Rourke and Bouygues UK.

The Council’s industry co-chair, David Higgins, said:  I’m delighted the government has responded to calls for a smaller, more business-focused Construction Leadership Council. The new Council of 12, with its business leaders from across the sector, will be best placed to drive the skills, innovation and productivity outcomes to help the industry build on its recent growth.

New Council member, Madani Sow, Chairman & CEO of Bouygues UK, said: This is an exciting opportunity for Bouygues UK and the industry. The UK’s construction sector is growing and leading the way in many fields, but productivity and skills are big issues we need to address and I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Council to achieve this.

The new Council will build on the work of the government’s Chief Construction Adviser, working closely with ministers to ensure the industry’s concerns and ambitions are addressed. As a result, the role of the Chief Construction Adviser will not be continued after the incumbent Peter Hansford’s tenure ends in November 2015.

New Council members include: Madani Sow (Bouygues UK), Anna Stewart (Laing O’Rourke), Mike Putnam (Skanska) and Andrew Wolstenholme (Crossrail). They will be joined by the Chair of UKTI’s Construction Advisory Group, a volume housebuilder, a supply chain small/medium business and the Council co-chairs: Skills Minister Nick Boles and Sir David Higgins, Executive Chair of High Speed 2.

Additional information:

  1. The government has worked with David Higgins to move to a smaller, more business led construction council. Taking advice from the Chief Construction Adviser and industry, a small group of people has been identified whose seniority in business equips them to give leadership to the sector. The new Council represents a mix of businesses and broad range of perspectives on the construction industry.
  2. Council members will lead a specific workstream to deliver improvements to working practices in the industry:
    1. skills – Anna Stewart
    2. supply chain / business models – Madani Sow and small supply chain business
    3. innovation – Andrew Wolstenholme
    4. sustainable – Mike Putnam
    5. trade – Chair of the UKTI Construction Sector Advisory Group
  3. The Chief Construction Adviser (CCA) role was created in 2008 to support joined-up working between government and industry, and to add expertise to the role of government as construction customer.
  4. Since that time, a Government Construction Strategy was developed with the launch of the Construction 2025 strategy and Construction Leadership Council. This has led to duplication with the role of the adviser in building on the successes of those who’ve held it.
  5. The new Construction Leadership Council will meet with ministers 4 times per year to advise and update on efforts to drive improved productivity and growth across the industry.
  6. The Council members have committed to attend the Council for a 2 year period.
  7. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will hold a permanent place on the Council. Other government departments will attend as determined by the agenda.
  8. Discussions have been opened with the Strategic Forum for Construction about identifying an individual who would connect the Forum to the Council and bring a manufacturing perspective.

View the press release 

View more information on the CLC 

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RTPI research on LEPs reveals potential for key role in city regions but concerns over resources

The RTPI have released their research on Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) concludes that LEPS have the potential for a key role in city region growth as part of the devolution agenda, but a lack of staffing and concerns over their exact remit is limiting their effectiveness at present.

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) writes:
Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) could play a critical role in devolution to cities and regions and in promoting economic growth, but their potential is being held back by their unclear status and unfamiliarity with town planning, as well as a lack of personnel, a new study by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) finds.

The first comprehensive analysis of the roles of all LEPs shows that they have considerable potential to work across different policy areas such as planning, and to shape strategy and implementation from housing to employment across local authority boundaries. 

However, the analysis finds that LEPs continue to operate with an opaque remit and lack firm institutional foundations. This limits their effectiveness as brokers of cross-boundary, strategic planning issues.  The study reveals that LEPs feel they have limited freedoms to devise and coordinate place-based strategies, and that nearly all LEPs are understaffed, especially in the area of strategic planning. While the planning roles performed by LEPs have increased over time, there is widespread uncertainty over their planning role, including among LEPs themselves.

Richard Blyth, Head of Policy and Research at the RTPI said:
“More local authorities are preparing joint local plans across areas that are similar to LEPs, and combined authorities, directly elected metropolitan mayors and city regional devolution deals are set to become more common. If LEPs are to seize these opportunities our study shows there is a clear need to formalise their status in the planning system and their relationship with local authorities. They need to find more ways to work more closely with local authorities on a range of strategic planning issues. Central government could encourage this through future rounds of the City/Growth Deal process, by seeking and rewarding a greater integration between LEPs economic strategies and the housing provision in local plans.” 

Lee Pugalis, Reader at Northumbria University and principal author of the report said: ‘Strategic planning is returning to prominence with different approaches and institutional mechanisms emerging in different parts of the country, for example between those places that have secured devolution deals to those with little history of inter-authority and multi-sector collaboration. LEPs are but one piece in this evolving institutional architecture, but our research shows that they have the potential to be powerful players in sub-national development and planning.’

LEPs are voluntary partnerships between local authorities and businesses set up in 2011 by central government, to help determine economic priorities and lead economic growth and job creation within the local area. To date there are 39 LEPs in operation. They provide a ‘business perspective’ on planning matters, and LEPs’ priorities and decisions have important implications for local and strategic planning.

According to the study more than half of LEPs (25 out of 39) intend to align or pool local authority growth funding, particularly in relation to housing, transport, economic development, regeneration, planning and infrastructure. Nineteen refer to joint contracts or collective decision-making arrangements with local authorities, and 17 to combined authorities or ‘economic prosperity boards’. 

In a report published earlier this year the RTPI highlighted the serious disconnect in parts of England between some LEPs’ plans for job growth and local authorities’ housing plans, and the need for LEPs to align their Strategic Economic Plans with local authorities’ joint housing provision plans.

The new “Planning for Growth: the role of LEPs” study was conducted for the RTPI led by Lee Pugalis of Northumbria University and Alan Townsend of Durham University with support from Nick Gray and Ania Ankowska of Northumbria University. It is funded through the RTPI’s Small Projects Impact Research scheme.

View the press release 

Download the report

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NI Rural Proofing Bill proceeds further

The Northern Ireland Rural Proofing Bill is now passing the final draft stages, aiming to put rural needs higher up the policy agenda and make sure proper assessment of the effects of policies on rural areas are considered.

The Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (NIDARD) writes:
Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill today welcomed the Executive’s agreement to the final policy content of the proposed Rural Proofing Bill and that drafting of the bill should begin.

She said: “The proposed Rural Proofing Bill will be important legislation which I firmly believe will benefit hundreds of thousands of rural dwellers in the north. These proposals are designed to promote a fair and inclusive rural society by introducing a duty on government and local councils to consider the needs of our rural dwellers when developing policies and delivering public services.’

‘We want to put in place a mechanism that will require policy makers to assess whether policy proposals could have a different impact in rural areas compared with elsewhere. The proposals will advance the cause of equitable treatment for rural dwellers by addressing their needs as an integral part of government policy. The bill will help ensure that the impacts of policies and strategies are fully assessed to tackle unfair disadvantage for our rural dwellers. This presents us with a huge opportunity to support vibrant, thriving and sustainable rural communities, where people choose to live, work, learn and play’

‘I will be working hard to ensure that this new legislation can be introduced to the Assembly in September and will complete its passage within the current Assembly mandate.’

A draft bill will now be prepared and brought back to the Executive for agreement, prior to its introduction to the Assembly.

View the news release

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IHBC NI branch

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Cornwall in rural devolution first

Cornwall is to be designated the first rural Council to obtain devolved powers in new decentralisation plans announced by the Government this week.

DCLG writes:
An historic devolution deal for first time to give Cornwall new powers to control local services, bringing jobs and prosperity to the area

  • Cornwall to be the first county to gain historic new powers – giving local people tools to take charge
  • Cornwall to be in control of bus services, adult skills and regional investment – health and social services will also come together
  • Major step in “government’s one nation” commitment to extend opportunity to every corner of our country

An historic devolution deal will for the first time, give Cornwall new powers to control local services, bringing jobs and prosperity to the area.

As part of a major decentralisation in decision making, Cornwall will become the first rural county to benefit from devolution – gaining more control so it can set its own course to grow the local economy.

The move is an important part of the “government’s one nation” commitment to devolve powers to local authorities across the country and ensure hard working people can benefit from the stronger economy and decide on issues that affect them.

This includes giving areas more freedom to tailor services to local needs, support local businesses and create jobs.

The Cornwall devolution deal will:

  • give Cornwall council powers for franchising and improving bus services in the area – the first rural unitary authority to gain this power
  • give the Local Enterprise Partnership more say on boosting local skills levels
  • give the council powers to select the projects, working with partners, it wants to see benefiting from millions of pounds of inward investment funding
  • make it easier for the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership to integrate national and local business support services to help local firms grow
  • enable Cornwall council and the council of the Isles of Scilly to work with local health organisations on a plan for integrating health and social care services

Prime Minister David Cameron said: At the heart of this one nation government is the belief that everyone, no matter what their background or where they’re from, has the opportunity to get on in life. This devolution deal marks a major shift for the people who live and work in Cornwall – putting power in their hands and giving them the tools to take charge and make the most of the fantastic potential that Cornwall holds. And, alongside our long term economic plan, which has created 19,000 jobs in Cornwall since 2010 and will deliver tax cuts to benefit 2.6 million people in the region, we are determined to continue to deliver and make sure opportunity and prosperity reaches every corner of our country.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: This deal is great news for Cornwall and I hope the first of many devolution deals for counties around the country as part of our long-term economic plan. This one nation government is determined to end the hoarding of power in Whitehall and put it in the hands of local people who know their area best. This historic deal ensures Cornwall has the powers and resources that will allow it to create the jobs and services it knows are best suited to the area and that will help local people and the county thrive.

Cornwall Council Leader John Pollard said: This devolution deal is brilliant news for Cornwall. We were early in recognising the growing momentum of the national agenda for devolving powers from Westminster and, by creating a “case for Cornwall” which was strong and realistic we have had a positive response from the government. Cornwall is, therefore, the first rural authority in the country to be given a devolution deal. This gives Cornwall greater powers over public sector funding. This is the first stage of a longer journey towards delivering the full case for Cornwall. We will now be working with partners to develop an integrated health and social care system, and deliver significant economic growth, with enhanced business support, greater access to employment and training opportunities, together with a much improved public transport network and more efficient use of public sector buildings. This devolution deal is not the end of handing powers to the county. If there is a strong case put by Cornwall council the government will continue to listen to proposals put forward on devolving more powers in the future.
The Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill is currently passing through Parliament and puts in place the legal framework across the country that will make it simpler for devolving more powers to more places.

The Bill sets out far reaching powers to be devolved to Greater Manchester and for creating a city-wide elected metro mayor who will provide strong leadership and a clear vision.

The government has been clear that strong leadership needs to be in place for areas seeking additional powers.

View the press release

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Liverpool Chinatown –regeneration plans

The Chinatown community of Liverpool has been in the news recently due to concerns expressed over the future of the area, and also the news of new £200 million planned developments (which include the retention of listed buildings, together with new mixed use landmark developments.

View a selection of news articles on the area:

  • ‘Local Gov’ ‘ Plans for £200m New Chinatown set to ‘transform’ Liverpool’
  • BBC news– Liverpool Chinatown: £200m redevelopment plans announced
  • Liverpool Echo – ‘Liverpool’s Chinatown could die in five or 10 years if nothing is done’
  • View the history of Liverpool Chinatown and its community

IHBC newsblogs on regeneration 

IHBC North West branch

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London Land Commission Launched

The Mayor of London has launched the first ever cross authority and cross government department London-wide database of land available within the city, aiming to highlight available public land for housing development.

The Mayor of London writes:
Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Housing Minister Brandon Lewis today (13 July) officially launched the London Land Commission, marking the first ever coordinated effort between City Hall, government and boroughs to free up surplus public land in London to build the homes that the city so desperately needs.

At the Commission’s first meeting, held at City Hall, it was announced that real estate research firm Savills has been appointed to compile the preliminary stages of a so-called ‘Domesday Book’ of all brownfield public land in London, to be completed by the end of 2015. Once collected, City Hall will use the data to map the spread of sites across the city. It is thought to be the first time such a comprehensive set of data has ever been collected for London.

Today’s meeting followed a series of announcements from Chancellor George Osborne last week on major planning reforms designed to speed up development of brownfield land in London and increase capacity to build more homes in the areas they are most needed.  The Commission will build on work already commenced by the Mayor in disposing of his own land holdings for development. At present 98 per cent of all land previously in his ownership has been released, within touching distance of the 100 per cent target for the end of his term in 2016.

The Commission, announced by the Mayor and Chancellor George Osborne in February this year as part of the long-term economic plan for London, will work across layers of government and public bodies to develop strategies for unlocking public land for development. The Commission will identify priority areas for future growth and co-ordinate efforts to fast-track the process, whilst ensuring a good return for the taxpayer and better regeneration sites across London.  The inaugural meeting was attended by London Councils, NHS England, Transport for London and Network Rail with participation at the highest levels from other bodies such as the Department of Health.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “The London Land Commission will build on the great efforts we’ve already made at City Hall to ensure brownfield land that has laid empty for years is put to productive use in providing much-needed housing for Londoners. In a city like ours, with its burgeoning population, it is simply madness not to act as quickly as we can to unlock more of these kinds of sites. The Commission’s work will be vital in co-ordinating the efforts of a whole raft of public bodies to achieve this important goal, helping to cut through the red tape that has kept valuable land tied up for too long.”

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “As a global city, with excellent opportunities and links to the rest of the world, there is clear demand to release land and provide more homes for Londoners.  The London Land Commission will bring a joined up approach to land release in the capital – regenerating brownfield land and providing more homes, whilst continuing to protect the green belt around our Capital.”

London Councils Executive Member for Housing and Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock said: “It is vital is that our overall strategy to tackle the housing crisis delivers an increase in affordable homes for ordinary Londoners. The efficient use of vacant land, whether owned by the Mayor, Transport for London, boroughs, the NHS or private sector developers, is a key part of the solution.”

Land already released by the Mayor includes east London’s Royal Docks, the Beam Park site in Rainham, and the former Cane Hill hospital site in Croydon. Unlocking unused public land for development is vitally important in achieving the Mayor’s aim of building half a million homes for Londoners over the next decade, including 100,000 affordable homes over his two terms.  The Mayor has designated 15 Housing Zones with a combined total funding of £466.23 million across London to help achieve this aim, working with boroughs to fast-track development approvals and transport improvements in areas where this may not otherwise have occurred. 20 Housing Zones are expected to be designated by the end of 2015, with 50,000 new homes to be created as a result. In May 2015 the first allocations of the Mayor’s £200 million Housing Bank were announced, which will provide low-cost loans to enable homes to be brought forward on a speedy timeline.

View the press release

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IHBC London Branch

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Shortlist for ICON conservation awards revealed

The shortlist for the ICON conservation awards has been announced, with four projects being assessed by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Heritage Committee under the categories of ‘Conservation of an Industrial Artefact’ and ‘Volunteering in the Conservation of an Industrial Artefact’

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers writes:
A classic motor car, a restored Victorian fountain, a historic naval vessel and a project to reconstruct a 1940s computer have all reached the shortlist of the two Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ categories of the Icon Conservation Awards 2015.

Northern Ireland’s Crosslé Mark III Motor Racing Car and the Grand Fountain Restoration project in Paisley have been shortlisted for the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Award for the Conservation of an Industrial Artefact worth £2,500. This award recognises excellence in conservation of operational or static examples of engineering. While Portsmouth’s Steam Pinnace 199 and EDSAC Replica computer, in Milton Keynes, have been shortlisted for the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Award for Volunteering in the Conservation of an Industrial Artefact. This award, also worth £2,500, recognises excellence in engineering conservation of an artefact or collection for a project that has significant volunteer engagement.

Ian Clark, spokesman for the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Heritage Committee, said: “These four artefacts uniquely demonstrate the variety and significance of engineering conservation in the UK and the fantastic work being done, often by volunteers, to conserve the country’s industrial heritage for future generations to enjoy.  These artefacts provide a valuable resource for our understanding of human endeavour and the appreciation of the diverse role of engineering in society.  I would like to congratulate all four shortlisted projects. The Committee was hugely encouraged and impressed by your hard work, ambition and dedication.”

Judging for these two awards is managed by the Institution’s Heritage Committee.  The Icon Conservation Awards 2015 Programme consists of six major national awards and the final award winners will be announced at a special ceremony at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ headquarters in Westminster on 22 October 2015.

View the press release

For a full list of shortlisted projects for the ICON Awards visit

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Nominations Open: Arts & Business Scotland Awards 2015

The Arts & Business Scotland Awards are now open for entries, noteably a ‘Placemaking’ award is one of the categories available, the deadline for entries is 9 August.

Arts & Business Scotland writes:
Nominations are now open for the Arts & Business Scotland Awards 2015.  Tell us the story of your partnership and why it should win in the following categories:

  • Placemaking -The Placemaking category recognises a partnership which has strategically shaped the cultural activities in a particular geographical area or has contributed to an increase in cultural tourism in that defined area.
  • People – The People category recognises a partnership that has used the power of culture to engage with the people in the wider community.
  • Digital Innovation – The Digital Innovation category recognises a partnership that has used digital and/or technology in an innovative way to enhance the work of the cultural organisation.
  • Entrepreneurship – The Entrepreneurship category recognises a partnership that has developed business expertise or opportunities within the cultural organisation.
  • Environmental Sustainability – The Environmental Sustainability category recognises a partnership that has facilitated a cultural organisation’s efforts towards environmental sustainability.
  • International – The International category recognises a partnership that has supported the cultural organisation’s international activities or that has leveraged international support for the cultural activities of an organisation within Scotland.

Timeline:

  • Nomination deadline: Midnight, Sunday 9 August 2015
  • Shortlist announced: by end September 2015 (exact date TBC)
  • Awards ceremony: Wenesday 3 February 2016 at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre

The Arts & Business Scotland Awards are back for 2015 to celebrate the most creative and innovative partnerships between the cultural and business sectors. The A&BS Awards are the most prominent national Awards event recognising excellence in field of cultural and business engagement. Partnerships shortlisted for an Award set industry standards of excellence in the field of cultural and business engagement and will receive public recognition for their work.  Shortlisted partnerships are showcased at the Awards ceremony attended by key figures from leading cultural organisations, business leaders, government representatives and other high-profile guests.  Arts & Business Scotland has been working for over 25 years to foster dynamic relationships between business and culture to enable Scotland to benefit from a vibrant cultural community.

View information on the awards and how to enter

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Historic England blog: A Brief Introduction to Women Architects

The Historic England blog has an article about women in architecture, featuring examples of buildings which women have been involved in conservation, construction and design across England.

View the article on the HE blog

View the architecture article on international women’s day

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IHBC NW day conference: Homegrown architecture… Towards a new vernacular

NW2015image1IHBC North West Branch is holding their popular Annual Conference in Manchester on Thursday 15 October this year,  looking at the constraints and opportunities of working with traditional buildings.

It will highlight successful approaches to contemporary design within a vernacular tradition and examine how conservation and design policies and advice may be best constructed and applied to promote sensitive place-making.

This is an opportunity for learning and CPD development that is unequalled in its value for this part of the country, especially with and an early bird discount of 5% available for bookings made before the end of August.

In addition to the conference programme, visits will include:

  • The Chethams School and Library to visit buildings which form part of Manchester’s cathedral and collegiate complex of medieval vernacular buildings.
  • The Northern Quarter Vernacular, considered the ‘greatest meer village’ in English Heritage’s Northern Quarter publication, will visit an eclectic range of architecture from Georgian weavers’ cottages to Victorian pubs and Edwardian steel frame textile warehouses.
  • The tour to the grade II* listed Manchester Central Library, the principal repository relating to the heritage of Greater Manchester, will explore the extensive refurbished archives

This conference will be of interest to planners, architects, developers, property owners, amenity societies, and all those who manage and care for the historic environment.

The Conference Fee is £95 for Members, £110 for Non Members and £65 Concessions, with an early bird 5% discount rate available until end of August.

To find out more about the full conference programme or book a place visit the website at vernacular.ihbc.org.uk

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IHBC’s LinkedIn group at 5000

The IHBC’s LinkedIn group now exceeds 5000 members, we reached 5001 this week!

IHBC Director Sean O’Reilly said: ‘The IHBC has made a substantial investment in our social media infrastructure in recent years, so it’s specially gratifying to see that paying off so well.  Indeed our careful cultivation of these unique and contemporary networks, helped and advised by our social media adviser Alison McCandlish and IT manager Joanna Theobald, and inspired by our past-chair Dave Chetwyn, has been a critical pillar in the successful expansion of many of our more recent innovations in member services, not least our Jobs etc website and our ever popular NewsBlogs.’  

Join the IHBC’s LinkedIn group

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Planning and local government proposals- ‘Fixing the foundations: Creating a more prosperous nation’

The government has set out its planned strategy for addressing future growth, which includes planning reforms and changes to local government, as well as the scrapping of the zero carbon Allowable Solutions carbon offsetting scheme and the planned increase in on-site energy efficiency standards. 

HM Treasury writes:
This document sets out a 15-point plan that the government will put into action to boost the UK’s productivity growth, centred around two key pillars: encouraging long-term investment, and promoting a dynamic economy. It sets out the government’s long-term strategy for tackling ?the issues that matter most for productivity growth.

Key points which may be of interest to IHBC members (taken from the report) include:

  • reform planning rules on taller mobile masts (p10)
  • introduce a new zonal system which will effectively give automatic permission on suitable brownfield sites (p.11)
  • take tougher action to ensure that local authorities are using their powers to get local plans in place and make homes available for local people, intervening to arrange for local plans to be written where necessary (p.11)
  • bring forward proposals for stronger, fairer compulsory purchase powers, and devolution of major new planning powers to the Mayors of London and Manchester (p.11)
  • extend the Right to Buy to housing association tenants, and deliver 200,000 Starter Homes for first time buyers (p.11)
  • restrict tax relief to ensure all individual landlords get the same level of tax relief for their finance costs (p.11)
  • devolve further powers to Greater Manchester and London, including consulting on Sunday trading (p.13)
  • devolve further planning powers to the Mayors of Greater Manchester and London (p.13)
  • work towards devolution deals with the Sheffield City Region, Liverpool City Region, and Leeds, West Yorkshire and partner authorities (p.13)
  • put Transport for the North on a statutory footing and give it a budget, clear leadership and a focussed remit, including working to introduce Oyster-style integrated and smart ticketing across the North (p.13)
  • ensure that rural areas can also contribute to, and benefit from, productivity growth (p.13)
  • decide by the end of the year whether it agrees with (the Airport Commission) assessment and, if so, the best route for achieving planning consents and getting a new runway built. (p32)
  • legislate to allow major infrastructure projects with an element of housing to apply through the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Regime (NSIP) (p46)
  • tighten the planning performance regime, so that local authorities making 50% or fewer of decisions on time are at risk of designation (p46)
  • legislate to extend the performance regime to minor applications, so that local authorities processing those applications too slowly are at risk of designation (p46)
  • introduce a fast-track certificate process for establishing the principle of development for minor development proposals, and significantly tighten the ‘planning guarantee’ for minor applications (p46)
  • repeat its successful target from the previous Parliament to reduce net regulation on housebuilders. (The government does not intend to proceed with the zero carbon Allowable Solutions carbon offsetting scheme, or the proposed 2016 increase in on-site energy efficiency standards, but will keep energy efficiency standards under review, recognising that existing measures to increase energy efficiency of new buildings should be allowed time to become established) (p46)
  • introduce a dispute resolution mechanism for section 106 agreements, to speed up negotiations and allow housing starts to proceed more quickly (p46)
  • The government will therefore legislate through the Enterprise Bill to extend the government’s target for cutting red tape to cover the activities of regulators (p61)
  • the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will launch a new ’10 Point Plan’ for rural productivity (p73)

View the full report

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Reactions to the summer budget proposals and productivity plan

There has been mixed reaction to the Government summer budget proposals from the built environment community, this newsblog post outlines a selection of opinions in the recent week. 

  • RIBA responds to productivity plan
  • FMB on scrapping of zero carbon standards
  • RTPI responds to Times articles on housebuilding and planners
  • IME on house building under the new plan
  • The Planner magazine features a range of reactions from developers, consultants and campaigning organisations
  • FMB on the productivity plan
  • CIOB on zero carbon target removal  

DOWNLOAD the full ‘Fixing the foundations: Creating a more prosperous nation’ report

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Would you like to be a BEE? Top 3 Skills highlighted by the Design Council

With the applications for built environment experts (BEE) closing on 31 July, some members may be considering if their skills match the desired profile, or perhaps considering CPD needs for future career planning; if so the Design Council advice on the top 3 skills needed will be of interest.

The Design Council writes that the following top 3 skills may be considered most valuable:

  • The ability to give objective and constructive critique
  • A broad, wide-ranging skillset
  • The openness to develop your knowledge base

View the full Design Council website news on these skillsets, and testemonials of previous BEE’s

Find out more about BEE’s and applying for a role

IHBC newsblogs on design 

IHBC learning opportunities and resources

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European Parliament on the destruction of cultural heritage

A debate in the European Parliament has called for destruction of cultural heritage assets to be classified as a war crime, and for tighter working co-operation to combat the trafficking of heritage assets. 

The European Parliament writes:
Deliberately destroying and pillaging archaeological sites and trafficking art objects in war zones amount to cultural genocide and should be classified as war crimes, argued speakers in a public hearing held by the European Parliament’s Culture and Education Committee on Monday afternoon. MEPs and experts reiterated the need for harmonised international legislation in this area.

MEPs argued that this type of threat demands a response and stronger cooperation among all international organisations. “With this meeting we have finally laid down the foundation for planning a European strategy to fight the destruction of cultural heritage by Isis/Daesh and limit illegal trade, thanks to International Criminal Court the representative who confirmed that there are the legal conditions to consider intentional destruction as a crime against humanity and the possibility of involving UN blue helmets in this area”, said committee chair Silvia Costa (S&D, IT).

“ICCROM and Interpol stressed the need for EU legislation on the import of cultural objects and to strengthen the Psyche database, together with a stronger coordination of international organizations such as Unesco and Icom PE as part of EU cultural diplomacy”, Ms Costa added.

Recent cases of cultural pillage in historic areas of the Middle East, notably Syria and Iraq, by organisations such as Islamic State (IS) and the sheer volume of contraband art object sales revenue used to finance terrorism demand an urgent response, said MEPs.

The recent example of voluntary restitutions of art objects listed as having an illicit provenance could encourage European states to ratify existing national conventions quickly and do more to enforce this legislation, with tough sanctions against traffickers, said experts. They also proposed that the the EU should help to create “safe havens” for cultural objects and help to control the black market for them.

Experts from UNESCO, Interpol, the International Criminal Court, the universities of Siena and Geneva and the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property all demonstrated that intervention instruments to prevent such acts exist and can be activated. Those working already and aiming to reduce pillage substantially in the longer run include a stolen art objects data base put on line by Interpol and directly accessible to the public, customs and police cooperation to identify and seize objects illegally imported or placed on the market, and training to enable experts to identify and list sites and cultural objects, including « rescue teams » in the event of wartime or national catastrophes.

All these activities are unfortunately severely limited by fragmented legislation and weak legal or political cooperation at international level, said the experts. It is also urgently necessary to step up cooperation, not only among states, but also among various international organisations, universities and other parties, said MEPS.

The MEPs’ calls will not go unanswered. European Commission representatives at the hearing confirmed that a study would soon be done on the trafficking of art objects on EU territory, focusing on imports, to ascertain the extent to which more detailed harmonised legislation is needed.

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Making the Law in Wales Accessible: Law Commission consultation

The Law Commission has launched a consultation on making Welsh law more accessible, with a closing date of 9 October.

The Law Commission writes:
Throughout the UK the law can be difficult for professionals and the public to find and understand. The volume of legislation in England and Wales, the number of amendments and the way in which legislation is presented, make it increasingly difficult to find out what the law is and what it means. In Wales, the process of devolution has made matters even more complicated.

In a consultation opening on 9 July the Law Commission is asking what can be done to simplify legislation relating to Wales and make it more accessible.

There is often confusion over where responsibilities lie. Functions under many Acts of Parliament have been transferred to the Welsh Ministers, but this will not be apparent in the original Act and it could appear that power continues to lie with the Secretary of State.

The picture is made more complicated by the pace at which significant areas of the law applicable in Wales – such as education, health and housing – are diverging from the law in England.

In its consultation, the Law Commission is asking what can be done to make the existing law relating to Wales easier to use and understand. Could this include, for example, codification and consolidation? The Commission is also asking:

  • what new measures could the National Assembly of Wales put in place to improve its systems for making law, and
  • is there a need to establish a programme of consolidation or codification of the law applicable in Wales?

The Commission is also consulting on measures that could make the law more accessible and available to the public, such as explanatory notes for legislation,Welsh law text books, and the need for a free, up-to-date and comprehensive online resource.

The consultation also considers issues relating to the making and interpretation of legislation in two languages.

Sir David Lloyd Jones, Chairman of the Law Commission, said: “For the law to be fair it must be capable of being understood. We are at a crucial moment in the development of the law relating to Wales. We have an excellent opportunity to pave the way for clearer, simpler, more modern and more accessible legislation, that is easily and freely available, and readily understood by professionals and the public.

“As the Welsh Assembly gains wider law-making powers, this is the time for us to consider carefully how the Government and the legal system can work together to make good law for Wales.”

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