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Construction Parliamentary Update - 10 July 2009

A round up of all the construction news from Westminster this week brought to you by the Madano Partnership.

GENERAL
Business Secretary Lord Mandelson announced the appointment of Rob Douglas CBE as the Chair of the South East England Regional Development Agency (SEEDA) (Press Release) and Robert Hough as the Chair of North West Regional Development Agency (NWRDA) (Press Release). (09 July)

The Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) published a report on low carbon industrial strategy (Press Release). (07 July)

Lord Speaker Baroness Hayman announced in the Lords that Lord Murton of Lindisfarne had died (Hansard). (07 July)

GENERAL PPP/PFI
Conservative party leader David Cameron set out plans in a speech to Reform think tank about the Conservative’s intentions to increase democratic accountability by reducing the number of quangos. Some of the quangos are currently running PFI programmes and may be abolished if the Conservative party were elected (PPP Bulletin). (06 July)

PLANNING
Leader of the Green Party Caroline Lucas delivered the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) annual lecture. The speech examined the pressures for conflicting environmental goods such as the desire to maintain green spaces in cities while increasing density (Press Release) (09 July)

The Scottish Government published the Scottish Planning Series Circular 7 2009: Schemes of Delegation and Local Reviews, Scottish Planning Series Circular 6 2009: Planning Appeals, Scottish Planning Series Circular 5 2009: Hierarchy of Developments and Scottish Planning Series Circular 4 2009: Development Management Procedures. (08 July)

Environment Minister Edwin Poots launched proposals to reform Northern Ireland’s planning system. The Minister said the proposed reforms were aimed at delivering a more effective and responsive planning system (Press Release). (06 July)

CONSTRUCTION
The UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) told UK contractors to target more than £10 billion worth of European building works scheduled to commence under fiscal stimulus packages in Spain, France and Germany. EU Governments have joined the UK in bringing forward plans for construction and guaranteeing cash for big infrastructure projects. UK Contractors’ Group (UKCG) Deputy Director Rachel Done said that many of its bigger members had international firms with established overseas offices which were well placed to make additional gains in the EU (Construction News). (09 July)

Work and Pensions Secretary Yvette Cooper announced the publication of the Rita Donaghy Inquiry Report: One Death is too Many into the underlying causes of construction fatal accidents (Hansard). The report sets out recommendations for improving safety in the construction industry, extending across safety representatives, building control, the legal system, training and competence, and public procurement (Press Release). Following the publication of the Rita Donaghy report, UKCG Director Stephen Ratcliffe said that there is “no justification” for the extension of the Gangmasters Licensing Act to include the construction sector (Construction News). (08 July)

The Construction Products Association (CPA) published its construction industry forecasts for summer 2009. According to its forecasts, output will fall by 16% in 2009, compared with the April forecast of 12%. Prospects for 2010 have also declined and the CPA’s forecast of a 5% drop contrasts with 3.4% in April. It does not expect any significant increase in construction output until 2012 and said that the industry would only have recovered to the levels of output achieved in 1999 by 2013 (06 July)

REGENERATION
Minister for Housing John Healey held a debate on the Pennbury Eco-town. John Healey said he would make an announcement on all potential eco-town sites within the next two weeks. Conservative MP Grant Shapps said that developers are “running scared” from plans for eco-towns and the whole programme should be scrapped. He also said that the “small print” of the Government’s draft legislative programme, published last week, revealed plans for eco-towns had now been “pushed back to 2020” (Hansard) . (07 July)

HOUSING
Shadow Environment Secretary Nick Herbert and Shadow Rural Affairs Minister Jim Paice launched a Rural Action campaign calling for the scrapping of top-down housing targets and allowing councils to oppose development on green belt land (Press Release). (07 July)

Communities and Local Government Under-Secretary Shahid Malik held a debate on Regional Spatial Strategies (Hansard). (07 July)

EDUCATION
35 primary and secondary school building projects and 80 college building projects are ‘on hold’ due to problems acquiring funding according to the Barbour ABI Evolution database of construction projects. Added up the total funding gap for colleges is more than £2.6 billion and schools are £122.5 million. (Building Magazine). (09 July)

Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council reached financial close on the first of three phases of its Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme. The Barnsley BSF scheme was the first in the UK to receive finance from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to support part of its Private Finance Initiative (PFI) component. The deal included £128 million in PFI credits. A Laing O’Rourke-led consortium will build the project (Press Release). (09 July)

Chief Executive of the British Safety Council (BSC) Brian Nimick called on the Government to take urgent action to implement a programme for the management and removal of asbestos in schools following on average 16 asbestos-related deaths among teachers every year. The BSC called for a national comprehensive register of asbestos in schools to be implemented (Press Release). (03 July)

TRANSPORT
Transport Minister Sadiq Khan officially opened the work to widen the M25 between junctions 16 to 23, as part of a £6.2billion Design, Build, Finance and Operate (DBFO) contract to improve the motorway (Press Release). (08 July)

The Commons Transport committee heard an evidence session on the future of aviation and the major road network with the Eurostar, UK Ultraspeed, Network Rail, and High Speed Two, Kapsch TrafficCom AG, Intelligent Transport Systems UK, Institution of Engineering and Technology, Technical Advisors Group Transportation Committee, Liftshare, Campaign for Better Transport, and National Express UK as witnesses. (08 July)

Four teams consisting of Carillion, Empac (VolkerRail/Laing O’Rourke), Balfour Beatty and a Nuttall/Jarvis joint venture are all tendering for the £400 million contract for the major revamp of the London Marylebone to Oxford rail corridor (Contract Journal). (08 July)

The Highways Agency published its procurement strategy, setting out its approach to procurement of goods, services and construction expertise for the next 5-10 years (Press Release). (07 July)

The Campaign for Better Transport published a report warning that road congestion on motorways would grow unless the Government rethinks its transport policy (Press Release). (06 July)

Crossrail Limited appointed Martin Buck as Crossrail’s Commercial Director. He will be responsible for developing and implementing Crossrail’s commercial and procurement strategies and processes and will lead negotiations of all future major Crossrail commercial contracts (Press Release). (03 July)

The Business Rate Supplements Act 2009 was officially printed and published. (03 July)

FLOODING
The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology held a seminar on the Draft Water and Flooding Bill. (07 July)

WASTE AND UTILITIES
The energy from waste in Wales conference was held. (09 July)

 

FUTURE EVENTS

July 2009
Sir Ian McAllister steps down as Chairman of Network Rail

Monday 13 July 2009
4ps BSF and the 21st Century School event
NEW! Defence questions

Tuesday 14 July
NEW! Fabian Society Housing Policy Debate
CLG Committee Eighth Report of Session 2008-09, Housing and the credit crunch: follow-up published

Wednesday 15 July 2009
LGA working with the new National Planning Framework seminar
LGA/IdeA: the Olympic and Paralympic Games Legacy - an event with beacon councils
Foreign Policy Centre event on delivering a green Olympic Games
The future of aviation oral evidence session
LGIU Do Regions Matter? conference

Thursday 16 July
NEW! Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) questions
NEW! Westminster Hall debate on the Third Report from the Communities and Local Government Committee, Housing and the Credit Crunch

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