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Construction Parliamentary Update - 05 February 2010

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

The House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee held its eighth oral evidence session for the inquiry into the Proposals for the National Policy Statements on Energy. The committee heard evidence from Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) witnesses including Sir Michael Pitt, IPC Chair, Dr Ian Gambles, IPC Director of Strategy and Dr Pauleen Lane CBE, IPC Deputy Chair (Video). (03 February)

The Government published the Summary of Responses for its consultation on the ‘Planning Act 2008: Consultation on Examination Procedures for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects’. (01 February)

The Conservatives announced plans for a more locally democratic planning system, to replace regional housing and economic development targets with a more localised planning system (Financial Times). (31 January)

Redevelopment plans for Battersea Power Station failed to meet the requirements of the London Plan, the mayor’s planning strategy, and will now be amended to secure planning permission (Financial Times). (29 January)

Natural England and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) published the first major survey of the environmental state of Green Belt land and the benefits it provides for people and wildlife - Green Belts: a Greener Future (Press Release). (28 January)

The National Specialist Contractors Council (NSCC) released the latest State of Trade Survey which showed that the fourth quarter of 2009 saw further reductions in both enquiries and orders, despite previous signs of stabilisation returning to the marketplace. The NSCC also applauded plans from the Minister for Business and Regulatory Reform, Ian Lucas, to make fair payment a contractual requirement in the public sector which could provide a huge boost for Specialist Contractors (Press Release). (04 February)

The Government released figures showing that more than 210,00 people are competing for just 7,000 jobs in the construction industry (NCE). (04 February)

Internal Health and Safety Executive documents showed a sudden spike in construction fatalities. Preliminary figures presented at the latest Health and Safety Executive board meeting showed there were 13 construction fatalities in October and November last year. This compares with 18 fatalities in the whole six months prior (Construction News). (04 February)

The latest Construction Industry Forecasts were published by the Construction Products Association. (03 February)

GMB members demonstrated at Staythorpe outside the offices of Alstom, the ECIA and Lord Mandelson Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, demanding the end to underpayment of overseas workers and “an end to employers lies about underpayment and exploitation” in UK engineering construction (Press Release). (03 February)

Insurance Group QBE released figures showing that more than half of small and medium sized construction firms are better placed to make the most of an upturn than a year ago. The new survey found that 53 per cent of construction and building firms are now in a better position than 12 months ago (Press Release). (01 February)

The Government’s Chief Construction Advisor, Paul Morrell, was criticised by architects following comments he made regarding 1960s and 1970s buildings. He claimed that buildings from these eras cannot t be refurbished to modern standards and as such should be pulled down. Paul Morrell, who heads the Government’s Low Carbon Construction Review, said that buildings from this era suffered from poor insulation and were badly built which meant that they could not be refurbished to meet government carbon targets (BuildingDesign). (29 January)

Following the publication of the Commission for Rural Communities report into housing demand and supply the Liberal Democrat Shadow Housing Minister, Sarah Teather criticised the Government stating that ‘if house building continues at its current rate over the next five years then two thirds of housing demand in rural districts [would] not be met’ (Press Release). (03 February)

Waterloo Housing Group announced plans to build 3,000 new homes, after securing a loan of £100 million from Barclays bank (Birmingham Post). (01 February)

The Public Accounts Committee head evidence following a National Audit Office (NAO) report on the ‘Decent Homes Programme’ which aims to improve the condition of homes for social housing tenants (Press Release: Video) (01 February)

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) announced that Deputy Chief Executive, Eamonn Boylan will leave the organisation to take up the role of chief executive at Stockport Council at the end of March. No decision has yet been made regarding a successor for Mr Boylan, who also heads up the Agency’s New Ventures and Partnerships division (Press Release). (28 January)

Four zero-carbon schools will be built in each of the nine regions of England by 2016 as part of the new Zero Carbon Task Force Report, the Government also announced that it would look to deliver a review of achieving carbon savings through refurbishment and retrofitting (Press Release). (31 January)

A number of large contractors are lined up for the £288 million project to create the UK’s first children’s health park in Liverpool. More than 70 interested parties will attend a bidders’ day next week for the Alder Hey Children’s Health Park Project, (03 February)

Shadow Chancellor George Osborne criticised the London Underground public-private partnership (PPP) and called for a “new approach”. George Osborne also said that “under Gordon Brown’s PPP we get the worst of both worlds. We get all the downside of expensive and inflexible contracts, but the taxpayer is still left on the hook if it all goes wrong. We need a new approach to PPP that’s transparent and puts value for taxpayers’ money first” (The Daily Telegraph: Financial Times). (04 February)

At the launch of the Conservative Party’s new model for economic growth Shadow chancellor George Osborne pledged that the Conservatives would build London’s £15.9 billion Crossrail scheme and start work on a north-south high speed rail line should they win the next General Election (NCE; Press Release). (02 February)

Network Rail published the final version of the Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS) for Sussex, which sets out a 30 year vision to create a bigger and better railway to serve East Sussex, West Sussex and eastern parts of Surrey. (29 January)

The Flood and Water Management Bill received its third reading in the Commons and will now move to the House of Lords (Press Release). (03 February)

The Environment Agency launched the UK’s largest flood product test centre, the new facility in Oxfordshire has been developed to test flood defence products against a new industry standard (Press Release). (02 February)


‘Spring 2010’
The IEA publishes its ‘Building a Sustainable Future: The Residential and Service Sectors’ report
NAO publish report on Partnerships in NHS hospitals
Low Carbon Construction Review

‘Early 2010’
Oxford Brookes Conference - Now or Never; A low Carbon Built Environment for the 21st Century

Monday 08 February 2010
Chatham House - The Future of Cities

Tuesday 09 February 2010
ICE Infrastructure Funding Summit

Thursday 11 February 2010
Building Neighbourhoods in the West Midlands Conference