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Construction Parliamentary Update - 12 March 2010

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

PPP/PFI
The Public Private Partnership Arbiter set out the final cost for tube upgrade contractor Tube Lines next control period at £4.46 billion which is £460 million above London Underground’s estimate. London Mayor Boris Johnson said that Transport for London (TfL) may pursue legal action over the funding gap. (10 March)

PLANNING
The Scottish Government released the latest statistics on planning performance in Scotland. (11 March)
Housing and Planning Minister John Healey announced a Government overhaul of current planning rules, granting nearly £10 million to improve green skills and funding for the second wave of eco-towns. The new policy statement ( Climate Change, Natural Environment and CoastalChange) has been drawn up to provide councils with the latest targets and guidance to address climate change. (09 March)

CONSTRUCTION
The entry deadline for the British Construction Industry Awards will be Thursday 15th April and the awards will be held on Wednesday 13th October 2010. (11 March)
The CIRIA’s Environmental and Sustainability Network hosted a workshop on ’ Pollution Prevention on Construction Sites’ in association with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Environment Agency. (11 March)
The International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB) hosted the CIB World Building Congress - ‘Building a Better World’. (10 - 13 March)
Chancellor Alistair Darling confirmed the date for the next budget as Wednesday 24th March and Prime Minister Gordon Brown stated that investing in infrastructure will from a significant plank of the budgets content, including information about Infrastructure UK (IUK). (10 March)
The Employment Tribunal launched by a construction worker against Balfour Beatty, over claims that the firm used a blacklist to deny him work, has found in favour of the company, Balfour Beatty used the blacklist in its defence arguing that the information on the file was justification for dismissing Mick Dooley. The Blacklisting Support Group said that the Tribunal’s decision indicated that the Government’s new Blacklisting Regulations were a ‘get out of jail free card for the major contractors’. (08 March)

HOUSING
The UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) hosted the debate ’ Green Expectations; Can the Property Sector really be changed?’. (4 March)
Inside Government hosted a conference on ‘T he Next Generation of Housing: Afford-ability, Flexibility and Choice’ including speeches from President of the Local Government Association Lord Best and Homes and Communities Agency, Head of Strategy for London Su Bonfanti. (11 March)
The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) announced the first tranche of schemes to receive a share of the second round of Kickstart funding with 87 stalled housing schemes finally chosen to receive £83 million of funding from the 265 originally shortlisted. (8 March)
The House of Commons West Midlands Committee held an evidence session on ‘Planning for the Future: Housing Economic Development in the West Midlands’, including witnesses Homes and Communities Regional Director for the West Midlands, Paul Spooner and Environment Agency, Regional Director, Mark Sitton-Kent. (08 March)

EDUCATION
Partnerships for Schools announced that six more Building Schools for the Future (BSF) projects have been given the go ahead. Councils in Buckinghamshire, Cornwall, Gateshead, Lincolnshire, Oxfordshire and Sutton will share nearly £420 million of investment from the Government to rebuild or refurbish secondary schools in their areas. (08 March)
The Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme signed its 50th deal between a local authority and its private sector partner, bringing the total value of contracts signed to over £5 billion. (04 March)

TRANSPORT
Secretary of State for Transport Andrew Adonis read a statement in the House of Lords announcing the Government’s plans to introduce 335 miles of high speed rail track in the UK stating that it would be ‘transformational’ in reducing travel times. Lord Adonis also wrote in The Times about the Governments plans about what he described as the ’ fourth transport revolution’. (11 March)
London Underground (LU) outlined its vision for the Tube of the future, including the upgrade of every line on the network to provide 30 per cent more capacity through new trains, track and signalling and the rebuilding of some of the busiest stations. (11 March)
The Department for Transport (DfT) announced a £89 million funding package to be invested in a ’ Guided Busway’ which will cover just over seven miles from Luton Airport to Houghton Regis, construction will start in December 2010 with completion scheduled for April 2012. (10 March)

OLYMPICS AND 2012
The House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts held an evidence session on the preparations for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Witnesses included Department for Culture, Media and Sport Permanent Secretary Jonathan Stephens and Chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority John Armitt CBE. (08 March)