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Policy update from CE National – October 30th 2023

Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill and Energy Bill gain Royal Assent and become Acts of Parliament

On Thursday (26 October), both the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill and the Energy Bill gained Royal Assent and became the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act and Energy Act respectively.

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Act is intended to “speed up the planning system, hold developers to account, cut bureaucracy, and encourage more councils to put in place plans to enable the building of new homes.” The product of the Conservative Party’s flagship levelling up agenda, the Act will attempt to ensure that development is built more beautifully and shaped by local communities’ democratic wishes, while also producing more local infrastructure, like GP surgeries, schools and transport links.

Separately, the Energy Act is intended to strengthen the UK’s energy security, support the delivery of net zero and ensure household energy bills are affordable in the long-term. The Act gives Ofgem a net zero remit, while also making it the UK’s official regulator of heat networks. There are also provisions for carbon capture and storage and hydrogen.

 

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero officially increases heat pump grants by 50%

On Monday (23 October), the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero announced homes can now receive a £7,500 grant to install a heat pump, in line with Rishi Sunak’s promise made earlier in the month. A further £10 million is also being made available through the Heat Pump Ready programme to support innovation in the heat pump sector and the launch of the ‘Welcome Home to Energy Efficiency’ campaign to help people improve the energy efficiency of their home and lower winter bills.

 

Government responds to Levelling-Up Committee’s report on Reforming the Private Rented Sector

On Monday (23 October), the Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities Committee published the Government’s response to its report on Reforming the Private Rented Sector. Included in this response is:

  • The agreement that for many tenants, there is not a genuine choice about whether to sign up for a fixed term or not
  • The agreement that abolishing section 21 will increase security for tenants, but that this ‘must be balanced with landlord’s need for flexibility
  • The full agreement on the recommended steps to tackle intimidating and disruptive behaviour
  • The agreement that court reform is required for the eviction process and housing disputes in general

 

£75 million given to regional innovation hubs by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology

On Monday (23 October) the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology announced the release of £75 million to regional clusters to boost local research, businesses and economies. There are eight innovation ‘Launchpads’ that will share the money to support regional SMEs. This includes a Net-Zero Industry Launchpad in South Wales dedicated to the pursuit of sustainable solutions in net-zero industrial emissions.

 

Built Environment Committee

The Built Environment committee held a meeting at the House of Lords on Tuesday 24th October, the subject was on “Modern Methods of Construction – what’s gone wrong?” – Watch here!

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