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REVISED CAMPAIGN: applications open for Bath, Dorset, Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire only

Role: Generation for Change South West (G4CSW) – Sub-Committee – Chair or committee member

About G4C:

G4CSW is part of Construction Excellence South West, and we share joint aims to promote future leaders in the industry. G4CSW has been rapidly growing momentum as the South West’s young professional voice of the UK built environment.

G4CSW is particularly focused on encouraging students of school age to consider a career in the industry. We hope our group of inspiring and relatable individuals will help demonstrate the opportunities available in the industry to the next generation.


Are you an ambitious and enthusiastic young/junior member of the construction industry who is keen to influence the agenda, raise your profile, accelerate your growth and become a future leader? Or do you know someone who is?

If so, you may want to seize this opportunity to get involved with G4CSW.

G4CSW is being BRAVE – it is undergoing an exciting change and restructure.

The G4CSW committee is being split into 8 sub-committees, so we can provide the best possible service to key locations and cities in the South West. These locations and cities align with the current Constructing Excellence South West clubs. Each sub-committee will have its own Chair, who will report back to our overall South West Chair (Lizzy Painter) on a regular basis with the other sub-committee Chairs. This is to ensure continuity across the group, alignment of agenda, and to help each other grow into these roles. We are looking for individuals to join the sub-committees for their area, either as a Chair (where there is an available role) or on the sub-committee.

Key Responsibilities: role as a G4CSW Sub-Committee Chair

As a sub-committee Chair, you will be expected to:

· Networking Events: Organise local networking events for young people in your area who work in the construction industry on a regular basis (e.g. monthly).

· Careers Events: Support local careers events in your area for students of school age.

· Podcast Series: Support the G4CSW podcast series, which interviews young people in the industry about their experience and ambitions, by recommending content and sharing the series with your contacts.

· Leadership: Run your sub-committee for your area, ideally hosting online (or in-person) meetings on a monthly basis.

· Collaboration with CESW Clubs: Attend committee meetings for the equivalent Constructing Excellence South West club, and provide them with updates on G4C activities.

· Collaboration with G4CSW: Attend committee meetings for G4CSW (i.e. with the other sub-committee areas) on a quarterly basis.

Key Responsibilities: role as a G4CSW Sub-Committee member

As a sub-committee member, you will be expected to:

· Support the Chair: Support the Chair for your area in their role mentioned above.

· Networking Events: Help organise local networking events for young people in your area who work in the construction industry on a regular basis (e.g. monthly).

· Collaboration with your G4C Sub-Committee: Attend sub-committee meetings online (or in-person) on a monthly basis.

Application process:

Applications for Bristol, Cornwall, Devon and Gloucestershire are closed. But if you would like to be added to a contact list for events in these areas, please let us know.

Interested candidates for Bath, Dorset, Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire should submit your application to Lizzy Painter ( Please explain a bit about yourself, the role you are applying for, and why you think you will make a good fit. Please include “G4C SW Sub-Committee Application” in the subject line.

The extended closing date for applications is Friday 3 May 2024.


Lee Rowley announces building safety enforcement League Table in update on building safety

On Tuesday (26 March), Housing Minister Lee Rowley gave an update to the House of Commons on building safety. Included in this was an announcement that a “League Table” will be published to show the public in which areas enforcement actions around building safety have been happening. Also announced was a further £6 million for council enforcement teams for the development of a new regulatory protocol for greater consistency and a new fund that partners can access for legal support in complex cases. He also gave an account of the progress with remediation works, saying nearly 60,000 homeowners have had their remediation work completed so far.


Government publishes response to Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee’s inquiry on financial distress in local authorities

On Monday (25 March), the Government released its response to the LUHC Select Committee’s inquiry on financial distress in local authorities. This touched on several aspects of local government. Comments related to housing include:


Labour launches local election campaign

Keir Starmer has today (28 March) launched Labour’s local election campaign, warning that councils face an appalling funding situation which Labour cannot easily reverse. While light on new announcements, Starmer called for three-year funding plans instead of one-year ones to help the funding situation but noted that Labour will not be able to just “turn funding taps on”.


Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announces new regime to deliver decent homes for social housing

On Wednesday (3 April), the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announced new rules to make social housing providers raise standards for their tenants. The new rules require landlords to:

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities updates guidance to call for second staircases in all new buildings over 18 metres from 30 September 2026

On Friday (29 March), the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities updated its guidance to call for second staircases in all new residential buildings over 18 metres. The change in guidance adds to a package of recent fire safety measures and reforms including the Building Safety Act which aims to ensure the safety of people in both new and existing tall buildings. The threshold height was decided after a public consultation last year. Regulation for existing buildings is also being considered as part of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry’s recommendations.



Government 55-day average payment rule comes into force

Contractors bidding for public works contracts worth over £5m must demonstrate they pay all invoices within 55 days, or face a public work ban.  Government 55-day average payment rule comes into force | Construction Enquirer News

Main contractor trade credit insurance hits crisis point

Jittery insurers are pulling trade credit insurance cover on some of the country’s leading contractors. Main contractor trade credit insurance hits crisis point | Construction Enquirer News

City of London launches heritage buildings retrofit toolkit – Energy Live News

Energy Live News reports the City of London has launched a toolkit to help retrofit the area’s 600-plus listed buildings and other heritage sites without compromising their heritage. The Heritage Buildings Retrofit Toolkit aims to implement the necessary adaptations for carbon emission reduction in heritage buildings in line with the City Corporation’s Climate Action Strategy towards achieving net zero by 2040 and was launched at a “Retrofitting the City” event.

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero announces £75 million allocation of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund

On Monday (18 March), the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero announced over 8,800 social homes will be upgraded at no cost to residents, using a £75 million allocation of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund. The Department claims these upgrades will save the average household £400 per year in energy bills and support 1,300 jobs. Funding will be made available to 42 councils and housing associations across England to install energy saving measures.

Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities intervenes in London Plan housing policies

On Monday (18 March), the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announced it has directed the Mayor of London to conduct a review of London Plan policies. Alongside this announcement, the Department published a letter from the Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove to Sadiq Khan. The review will focus on the use of industrial land and the 47 other opportunity areas identified for their potential to deliver new housing and jobs.


Department for Energy Security and Net Zero announces Government backing for AI businesses for net zero innovation

On Tuesday (19 March), the Department for Energy and Security and Net Zero announced £1.73 million of funding for AI-driven green tech. The funding has been awarded to eight different projects, including on solar energy production, energy efficiency in business, and cutting energy costs.

Culture change in the built environment industry: October 2021 to July 2023

The Industry Safety Steering Group’s fourth report on the progress in encouraging culture change among groups within the built environment sector. Culture change in the built environment industry: Culture change in the built environment industry: October 2021 to July 2023 – GOV.UK (

Constructing Excellence co-hosts senior infrastructure leaders breakfast meeting

Constructing Excellence co-hosted a senior infrastructure leaders breakfast meeting on energy transition with UCL and Advance Consultancy. Baroness Brown of Cambridge, chair of the Lords Committee on Science & Technology provided insights into the scale and pace required to meet the Net Zero challenges, what it will mean for the energy mix and the built environment as well as a hard-hitting message on the impact of the climate change that is already happening.


BRE launches its manifesto for 2024

On Thursday (21 March), BRE launched its manifesto for 2024, calling for cross-departmental measures for a new government to create a better built environment, ahead of a forthcoming general election. BRE is calling on the next government to commit to world-leading standards for British buildings, with key asks including:


Is retrofit data the key to unlocking a $2 trillion market – PBC Today

PBC Today reports the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with PwC, has published a report which claims international businesses could save a collective $2 trillion a year by focusing on energy efficiency. It points out that buildings were responsible for 30% of the world’s energy usage in 2022, with WEF researchers calculating that energy intensity in buildings could be reduced by 38% using existing solutions. The report also highlighted that retrofitting buildings increased their value by up to 15%.

[10:56 AM] Alison Nicholl

Cost overruns and delays risk nuclear’s place in energy transition, FT 22 March

Cost overruns and delays risk nuclear’s place in energy transition (


Housing developments axed as Tory planning reforms take effect, FT 22 March

England’s councils reverse course on agreed plans after targets diluted despite acute shortage of homes.

Housing developments axed as Tory planning reforms take effect (

Levelling Up: No compelling examples of delivery so far as delays hold back spending

The Government is unable to provide any compelling examples of what Levelling Up funding has delivered so far. In a report published today (15 March), the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) warns that councils have been able to spend just a fraction of the Government’s promised Levelling Up funding, with only just over 10% of the funds provided to reduce inequality under the Levelling Up agenda actually spent and making a difference on the ground.

The PAC’s report finds that, of £10.47bn in total funding from central government, which must be spent between 2020-21 and 2025-26, local authorities have been able to spend only £1.24bn from the Government’s three funds as of Sept 2023. Furthermore, only £3.7bn had been given to local authorities out of the total allocation by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) by December 2023.

Read more Levelling Up: No compelling examples of delivery so far as delays hold back spending – Committees – UK Parliament

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero announces changes to the Boiler Upgrade Scheme

On Thursday (14 March), the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero announced changes to the Boiler Upgrade Scheme which could save consumers around £2,500 in upfront costs due to insulation no longer being needed to access heat pump grants. The removal of mandatory cavity wall and loft insulation makes it easier to transition to a heat pump from a gas boiler, and comes as boiler costs have increased. The Government has also called for the Competition and Markets Authority to review competition in the home heating market to counter boiler price increases. It is emphasised, however, that properties should have appropriate insulation when installing a heat pump in order to gain the full savings benefits.


Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities announces a strengthened 100% council tax premium on long term empty homes

On Monday (11 March), the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announced a doubling of council tax on long-term empty properties will come into force on 1 April. This aims to reduce the number of empty houses and therefore increase overall housing supply, with these rules applying to any property which has remained empty for more than 12 months, rather than the current two years. Councils will be given more powers to introduce the tax premium on second homes in their area from next year, with rules applying to empty properties that are uninhabitable due to extensive renovation, second homes that are not available for use year-round due to planning restrictions or for up to a year on homes that have been inherited to prevent families who are grieving from having to pay.

Product Platform Rulebook Update

Delivered as part of the Government’s Transforming Construction programme, the Product Platform Rulebook forms a key enabler for the Infrastructure and Projects Authority’s (IPA) Transforming Infrastructure Performance (TIP) agenda. The Construction Leadership Council will be taking over the reins of the Product Platform Rulebook in 2024 through its new Industrialised Construction workstream. This work will see the Rulebook revised and re-released in the form of a new ‘Platform Playbook’, setting out a clear path to the adoption of platform approaches for social infrastructure delivery. The group is chaired by Ron Lang, former Chief Technical Officer of the Hub and now Regional Director at AtkinsRéalis. Read the full press release here.


Registration of the Building Control Profession – Transitional Arrangements

Philip White, Director of Building Safety for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has written to the Building Control industry outlining a competence assessment extension period for Registered Building Inspectors, who meet set criteria. The extension period is 13 weeks from 6 April to 6 July 2024.
Experienced building control professionals who are not trainees but have not yet completed a competence assessment will have the scope of their registration temporarily extended provided they meet the following criteria:

This is not an opportunity to delay completing registration as an RBI and there will be no extension to these arrangements. Professionals who are not registered by 6 April 2024 will not benefit from the extension period and will not be able to continue to work on regulated building control activities.  Further information on building inspectors and registration details can be found here.

New Economics Foundation publishes Buying Back Better report on social housing acquisition

On Tuesday (12 March), the New Economics Foundation published a report titled Buying Back Better: How social housing acquisitions in London can tackle homelessness and help councils avert bankruptcy. The report calls for the Government to take measures including:

This month marks two years since the Building Safety Act (BSA) introduced a new enhanced regulatory regime for building safety and construction products,

This followed in the wake of the Dame Judith Hackitt’s report, ‘Building a safer future,’ in which she made clear that we needed to adopt a very different approach to our regulatory framework for higher-risk buildings (HRBs).

In responding to this new, more rigorous regime, Martyn Jones argues that this will drive change in our culture and behaviours and its effect may well extend beyond the BSA’s current application to residential HRBs (containing at least two residential dwellings and over 18m or seven storeys in height), hospitals and care homes.

The BSA sets out ways in which we can secure the safety of people in and around buildings, improve building standards and regulate our industry in line with best practice principles

It is introducing a set of new duty holder roles and responsibilities to ensure a stronger focus on building safety, that are now impacting on all stakeholders in construction projects.

The Building Safety Regulator (BSR) is now the central body for controlling HRBs with a process that will require robust record-keeping by the duty holders – Principal Designers and Contractors and Principal Accountable Persons – of all changes made to detailed previously signed off plans.

There are three project gateway points to focus and strengthen regulatory oversight by requiring duty holders to show to the BSR that plans are detailed and robust and that the understanding and management of building safety is appropriate.

Gateway 2 is particularly significant in that the applications made must contain sufficient information to show how the works (when complete) will satisfy all the applicable functional requirements of the building regulations before construction can begin. And demonstrate how construction will be effectively managed so that the work carried out is as described in the original application.

Other documents that need to be submitted at Gateway 2 include a competence declaration from the developer to the employer, a construction control plan, a change control plan, Building Regulations compliance statement and a fire and emergency file.

Each building will have a Golden Thread of information, kept digitally and readily accessible to people throughout a building’s life cycle, providing transparency of information and an audit trail.

In achieving the laudable aims of the BSR we should take the opportunity to rethink our procurement practices, to shift from our traditional operating system to ones more supportive of collaborative behaviours and to link the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of HRBs in a more holistic and seamless way.

What key behaviours will be needed?

Let’s start with leadership and the commitment needed to align with and support the BSR’s Mission to protect people and places. And their Vision to create a built environment where everyone is competent and takes responsibility to ensure buildings are of high quality and safe, so that residents and other building users are confident that the failures of the past will not be repeated.

Then there’s the need for learning to demonstrate and underpin competency, which is now a legal requirement for new duty holders, hence the current wave of courses and learning aimed at Principal Designers and Constructors and Principal Accountable Persons.

This growing competency needs to be placed alongside the openness, integrity, discipline, and meticulousness demanded by the new control processes. This means working effectively through clarity of tasks, having clear information flows, transparent decision-making norms and practices, and effective management of projects and supply chains.

It’s about being able to behave and work in a controlled way, complying with rules and standards.

Then there’s the dynamism necessary to embrace the change by proactively and adaptively pursing the new opportunities, and at the necessary pace.

Alongside this can be added the drive, the persistence, and the resilience to confront the resistance to change that we know lies ahead.

In recognition of how interdependent we are in construction and the level of uncertainty and complexity in most projects, we need to collaborate through the building of relationships based on shared learning, competence trust and inclusion, mutual advantage, and support for each other.

Yes, embracing the BSA will offer us a more effective regulatory and responsibility framework, but also a chance to reconfigure our operating system with clearer roles, duties and responsibilities, standards, and guidance. And also, to grasp the opportunity to rethink the way we have all too often worked in the past, and shift from opacity to transparency, from ambiguity to clarity, and from fragmentation to integration.

A time of change, transition, and opportunity

It is a privilege to write the CESW Newsletter introduction at this exciting time for the organisation and its members. I attended the recent Annual Review Luncheon that Kingsley mentioned in the March edition. It would be remiss of me not to thank Dan Macey for his energetic and transformative chairmanship of CESW. The new structure, awards, and growing membership are primarily the result of his leadership and determination. Thank you.

Kingsley has a tough act to follow. However, having got to know him over the last few years I am confident that CESW is in great hands with him and Kevin at the helm. We must never forget that CESW is nothing without its members engaging proactively whether regionally or within the various clubs. To this end, our board directors are committed to keeping our content, initiatives, and clubs relevant to our members in a fast-evolving industry. I genuinely feel that the usual laggard label for the construction industry is no longer correct, as many innovations across our various disciplines are being adopted at pace. This means that CESW needs to understand these and be part of the discussion and change that is rapidly occurring in our industry. These are exciting times, and I know the entire board is determined to deliver for you, our members.

As the member’s director, I want to support Em Pardede, our member’s manager, in ensuring that members get the most out of CESW. In the past, it wasn’t clear what different levels of membership meant, but now it is, and I know she will work hard to ensure that you all get the most out of your commitment to us.

I hope that you enjoy the newsletter. Please engage with our events, as the larger the attendance (space aside), the better and more diverse they are. Please check in with Em and ensure that your organisation’s primary contacts and employee details are all correct so your business can maximise the benefits of being a member. The events are a great opportunity to network while learning and developing your knowledge and skills.

I look forward to seeing you at the next event.

It was great to see so many of you at the Annual Review Luncheon, if you weren’t able to attend, you can take a look at the digital Annual Review by CLICKING HERE 

I’d like to reiterate my thanks to Dan Macey for the 30 months he has put to the role of Chair and what he has done for our organisation. I’d also like to express my thanks to the many of you wishing me luck and offering support as I take the role of chair for the next 2 years.

For those that don’t know me (or what I do as my day job). I head up SCF (Southern Construction Framework) in the South West, which affords me the luxury of being involved in some amazing projects! I am a Director on the JCT (Joint Contracts Tribunal) Board officially representing Local Government in that forum. I also sit on the LGAs construction steering group and represent the South West on the NACF (National Association of Construction Frameworks).

So what now for CESW?

We will advertise and appoint to the vacant roles in the newly created Leadership Council (If you don’t know what that is then you really need to look at the ‘Annual Review’ link above!)

I, the Board and the Leadership Council need to communicate with all of you our members some changes we have made to CESW, what those changes mean and how it will make CESW better for you all.

We need to make sure the CESW 2024 awards are even better (and I implore you all to get nominations in) Last year Serena Williams went on to win at the National awards (G4C future leader)… This year we need to get more of our SW projects that top accolade.

Em Pardede, our new membership Manager will be contacting you all, the main purpose of Em’s role is to make sure you make the most of your membership (clearly we hope that means you’ll stick with us). But Em will also be a prime contact for you all if you need anything (or want us to change something). That isn’t to say you can’t speak to me or anyone else on the Board and/or Leadership council.

Over the coming months I will be asking the Leadership council to introduce themselves to you so you know who they are. But next up for the April Newsletter will be James Beckly (WWA) whom has just taken on the newly created Members Director Role. He will be representing you on the board and I can’t wait to see how this will positively impact CESW.

Chancellor announces personal tax cuts in Spring Budget, with little mention of the built environment.

On Wednesday (6 March) Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced the Spring Budget which included a 2% cut to national insurance, a shake-up to child benefits, £500 million of support to vulnerable households, and a new “UK ISA”.

There were few announcements directly relevant to the built environment, although there were a number of grants to research and local housing/infrastructure projects, including:

In response to the Government’s Budget announcement, Gillian Charlesworth said:

“While there was some good news today for individuals, with cuts to National Insurance and reforms to child benefit, this was not the net zero Budget the country needed. The UK urgently requires a clear, long-term plan to decarbonise our homes and buildings, and there is still a long way to go to drive the much-needed transition to clean heat. This plan needs to involve a raft of measures, from shifting levies from gas to electricity to encourage householders to install heat pumps, to providing guidance for local authorities so they can deliver retrofit programmes in each area of the country.

“Maintaining funding for our net zero commitments – including those related to the built environment – is crucial if we are to achieve our climate goals by 2050. It is disappointing to see that this detail was lacking from the Chancellor’s statement today.”

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities invests £208 million in the North for town transformation

On Friday (1 March), the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announced a £208 million funding round for towns in the North. Included in the funding is £90 million for Blackpool which will be used to build new homes and renovate low-quality properties not currently fit to be lived in. Sheffield will receive £67 million for new homes on brownfield sites and Liverpool will receive £31 million to be spent on a range of regeneration projects.

(Lord) Banner KC to lead review on national infrastructure

Top planning barrister, (Lord) Charles Banner KC, will lead an independent review to look into speeding up the delivery of major infrastructure projects, confirmed by the Housing Minister and Secretary of State on Thursday (7 March) The review builds on wider government reforms to streamline the process for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs), which are often held up by legal barriers and judicial reviews. See


Spring Budget 2024: sector figures left ‘disappointed’ and frustrated by ‘missed opportunity’ – Inside Housing

Inside Housing reports the heads of several housing sector bodies have reacted with disappointment to the Chancellor’s Spring Budget. It notes the statement had echoes of last year’s in that it fell short on major housing announcements, prompting frustration and disappointment from across the sector at an opportunity missed. Representatives of the National Housing Federation, the Chartered Institute of Housing and the Northern Housing Consortium were among those quoted expressing their disappointment.


Built environment institutes renew commitment to sustainability – New Civil Engineer

New Civil Engineer reports that establishments including The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) and the Landscape Institute (LI) have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together as the UK Built Environment Advisory Group (UKBEAG) for another five years, having originally launched in 2016. The group said its members aim to address the imbalance in the availability of expertise “through advocacy and capacity development” and want to “support those grappling with rapid urbanisation, the climate emergency, displacement after crises and post-conflict recovery.”


UK construction activity stabilises on back of falling inflation – FTUK construction activity stabilises on back of falling inflation (

CMA finds fundamental concerns in housebuilding market

The CMA has concluded its housebuilding market study in England, Scotland, and Wales. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published its final report on the housebuilding market in Great Britain – finding that the complex and unpredictable planning system, together with the limitations of speculative private development, is responsible for the persistent under delivery of new homes.  The study also found substantial concerns about estate management charges – with homeowners often facing high and unclear charges for the management of facilities such as roads, drainage, and green spaces. Concerns have been found, too, with the quality of some new housing after the number of owners reporting snagging issues increased over the last 10 years.  See CMA finds fundamental concerns in housebuilding market – GOV.UK (

Local Transport Fund allocations 2025 to 2032

From 2025, the Local Transport Fund (LTF) will fund a wide range of projects to improve the local transport connections that people rely on every day, particularly across towns, villages, and rural areas.  Over the next 7 years from April 2025, local transport authorities (LTAs) in the North will receive £2.5 billion and those in the Midlands will receive £2.2 billion.  Find out more at: Local Transport Fund allocations 2025 to 2032 – GOV.UK (


Design and building work: meeting building requirements

New easy to digest guidance from the HSE details the duties and competence requirements for building regulations that clients, designers and contractors must meet.  See: Design and building work: meeting building requirements – GOV.UK (


Construction Industry Unveils Plan to Increase Biodiversity and Support the Natural Environment

On Wednesday the Construction Leadership Council’s Green Construction Board launched its Biodiversity Roadmap for the sector, detailing how the construction industry will work together to reduce harm to our natural environment. Construction Industry Unveils Plan to Increase Biodiversity and Support the Natural Environment – Construction Leadership Council


Take part in a pilot project to create a quality metric and help remove the need for cash retentions in contracts

The CLC is working with Cranfield University in partnership with the “Get It Right Initiative” (GIRI) to run a pilot project which aims to establish a quality metric as a viable alternative to the withholding of cash retentions as a form of insurance against defects. Clients and contractors are invited to take part in the pilot project and help test the proof of concept for this innovative work. It takes previously successful data gathering schemes used to address health and safety concerns and late payment as its inspiration.  See more at: Take part in a pilot project to create a quality metric and help remove the need for cash retentions in contracts – Construction Leadership Council

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero announces a 39% increase in heat pump applications

On Thursday (29 February), the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero released figures that showed January 2024 had 39% more heat pump applications compared to January 2023. With a total of 2,000, January 2024 was the third highest month so far for heat pump applications. This follows the trend of higher uptake of the technology since the increase of the government grant to £7,500, with the scheme having so far funded 33,424 applications and issued over £133 million in vouchers to customers.

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero releases new measures to help save on domestic bills

On Friday (23 February), the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero announced schemes to help customers repair or replace smart meter in-home displays after their one-year warranty and to provide £10 million in funding for companies to test new technologies and tariffs with their customers to make the most of low-carbon power. This comes as Ofgem announced the energy price cap will fall by £238 from April, meaning bills are now the lowest they’ve been since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Local Government and Building Safety Minister responds to Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee’s fire safety product testing review

On Wednesday (28 February), the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee published correspondence from Lee Rowley, Minister for Local Government and Building Safety, following a series of Committee questions relating to the Independent Review of the Construction Projects Testing Regime. The letter informs the Committee that the Government will not give one single response to the Review due to it being a “multi-stage process”, as well as providing clarifications on some of the current harmonised EU standards, and the steps being taken by the Government to help decoupling homes with shared electrical supplies in social housing.


Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities release £220 million to provide 800 homes for rough sleepers

On Wednesday (28 February), the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announced it is giving nearly £220 million to councils across the country to tackle homelessness. The funding includes £107 million to provide 800 planned homes for rough sleepers, a £109 million increase to the Homelessness Prevenetion Grant and a £6 million boost for off-street spaces for rough sleepers in the winter to provide warmth and safety.


George Galloway wins the Rochdale byelection

George Galloway has won the Rochdale byelection with 39.7% of the vote representing the British Workers’ Party. The byelection, triggered by the death of Sir Tony Lloyd, has been beset by controversy, including Labour removing support for their candidate, Azhar Ali, after he made inflammatory comments about Israel and Palestine. Ali finished fourth with 7.7% of the vote, being beaten by an Independent named David Tully with 21.3% and Paul Ellison for the Conservatives with 12% of the vote. This was a -43.9% swing for Labour.

Renting reforms: Minister discuss watering down no-fault eviction proposals – BBC News

BBC News reports it has seen a series of draft government amendments to the Renters Reform Bill to water down the proposed ban on landlords evicting tenants without reason. This comes from around 50 Conservative MPs, many of whom are landlords, who have expressed opposition to the Bill. Ministers are consulting the rebel MPs on these measures to see if a deal can be struck in return for their support of the Bill.


Scheme to reduce energy bills will take 60 years to complete – The Times

The Times reports Ministers are reassessing the viability of the Great British Insulation Scheme, with only 2,900 using the scheme in the first eight months of its operation out of a 300,000 target over three years. Most of the homes which have used the scheme so far have also only installed one energy efficiency measure and some parts of the country have had as few as one hundred homes benefit. Insiders claim the scheme has become immensely bureaucratic, with less than half of those applying being eligible and some measures making it less economic for suppliers to carry out work. Industry figures are reported to fear that the scheme is about to follow the same fate as the £1.5 billion Green Homes Grant which was scrapped six months after its launch.

Comment: Why a circular built environment makes economic and environmental sense – Reuters

Reuters published an opinion article by Anis Nassar and Sebastian Reiter, an economist at the Centre for Nature and Climate of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and partner at McKinsey respectively. Nassar and Reiter argue the best way for the construction industry to reduce its strain on the environment, currently contributing more than a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions and producing 100 billion tons of waste a year, is to adopt a circular model to support sustainable economic growth. Joint research by the World Economic Forum and McKinsey show a circular economy could abate 75% of embodied emissions, up to 4 gigatons of CO2, and add up to $360 billion in extra profits annually by 2050. The study was done by examining six building materials: cement, steel, aluminium, plastics, glass and gypsum.


UK competition watchdog opens probe into 8 housebuilders over information sharing‘Complex and unpredictable planning system’ to blame for building shortage, says Competition and Markets Authority.  The UK’s competition watchdog has launched an investigation into eight housebuilders over whether they shared commercially sensitive information after a year-long study into why Britain builds too few homes.


UK ministers must ‘move faster’ on net zero energy reforms, warns infrastructure tsarSir John Armitt accuses Whitehall of taking ‘too long’ to decide on measures to support decarbonisation.  Read more at the FT


Hundreds of homes with RAAC concrete to be evacuated in Aberdeen – Sky News

Sky News reports around 500 homes in Aberdeen’s Balnagask area have been identified as having RAAC panels following an inspection last year. This includes 364 council properties, 299 of which are currently occupied. Aberdeen Local Authority has said is it exploring options for the long-term viability of the site, including remedial works or demolition, and it has asked the housing support officers involved to find alternative arrangements for residents to “understand their individual needs”. A detailed appraisal is expected to be presented to the council within six months.

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero releases fuel poverty report for 2024

On Thursday (15 February), the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero released its annual fuel poverty statistics report for 2024, using data from 2022 and 2023. The report includes the latest statistics on the number of households living in fuel poverty in England and projections of the number of households in fuel poverty in 2023 and 2024. It found that in 2023, 13% of households (3.17 million) were in fuel poverty in England, according to the Low Income Low Energy Efficiency metric. This is effectively unchanged from 13.1% in 2022. However, due to energy efficiency improvements, there has been an increase in the share of households meeting the 2030 fuel poverty target in 2023, up to 54% from 53.1% in 2022.

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities launches a consultation on householder development rights

On Tuesday (13 February), the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities launched a consultation looking into various propositions to expand development rights for householders. The potential changes to the Town and Country Planning Order 2015 include improvements for householders looking to improve and enlarge their homes, changes which enable the installation of electrical outlets and upstands for recharging electric vehicles, and an increase in the size of heat pumps that are allowed to be installed outside a building.

Michael Gove calls for councils to build new homes on brownfield land

On Tuesday (13 February), the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities published a press release calling for big city councils to prioritise building on brownfield sites to protect Green Belt land. This follows a set of proposals released on the same day to remove regulatory barriers for the development of brownfield land and buildings.


Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities invests £3 billion for affordable housing

On Monday (12 February), the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announced the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme is receiving a £3bn funding boost, doubling its size to £6bn. The scheme, which provides lower-cost loans to housing providers, will see 20,000 new affordable homes built and can also be applied to by providers carrying out vital building safety works, such as the removal of unsafe cladding.

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announces £50 million investment for estate regeneration in London

On Tuesday (13 February), the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announced a package of support to improve the quality of life of housing estate residents in London via regeneration works. This funding comes in addition to the Affordable Homes Programme and includes £4 million to be allocated to establish a Euston Housing Delivery Group to help regeneration in a new “Euston Quarter”.


Rishi Sunak announces plans to turbocharge development of cities – The Times

The Times reports Rishi Sunak has pledged to speed up new home building in Britain’s cities. These comments came alongside the unveiling of new rules that will allow brownfield land to be used for tens of thousands of new homes in England’s twenty biggest urban areas. Sunak said he accepted “people’s anger” over the inaccessibility of home ownership and accepted that the Conservatives need to do more to help the younger generation onto the housing ladder.


The uninsurable world: what climate change is costing homeowners – Financial Times 

Financial Times published a long read on the damage already being done to homeowners by climate change. Alongside a breakdown of the international economic losses caused by extreme weather in 2022, the article contains anecdotes from homeowners who have experienced significant costs after their properties were damaged by extreme weather. It also explores the implications for the insurance industry, with the increased rates of weather-related property damage leading to higher average premiums.

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