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Construction Parliamentary Update - 6 Nov 2009

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

GENERAL
It has been confirmed that Parliament will be Prorogued on Thursday 12 November when Royal Assent to all Acts have been signified.

The House of Commons will rise on Wednesday 16 December 2009 and will return on Tuesday 5 January 2010. It will also rise on Wednesday 10 February 2010 and return on Monday 22 February 2010.

The Lord Steinberg died on 2 November 2009.

GENERAL PPP/PFI
The National Audit Office published its report for the Lords Economic Affairs Committee on Private Finance Projects. The report states that there is a great need for better evaluation of private finance, assessing the pros and cons of alternative procurements is especially important and the introduction of International Financial Reporting Standards has brought the opportunity for a more consistent approach to treatment of PFT across the public sector. (03 November)

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee continued the inquiry into Private Finance Projects and off-balance sheet debt (Press Release; Video). (03 November)

The conference on Collaborative Procurement, took place in London. (02 November)

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced that Essex County Council and the Southend-on-Sea Borough Council waste disposal partnership was awarded £100.9 million in PFI credits. The project will divert an additional 185,000 tonnes of biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) from landfill per year by 2020 (Press Release). (30 October)

The Department of Transport confirmed that proposed plans for a PPP to take control of the London underground line upgrade would not go head. Instead tube improvement contracts inherited by Transport for London (TFL), on an interim basis after Metronet’s collapse, will remain permanently under the direct management of London Underground Ltd (LUL) (Press Release). (30 October)

PLANNING
The Welsh Assembly Government closed the consultation stage of the proposed Changes to Planning Policy Wales. (30 October)

CONSTRUCTION
The House of Lords discussed the second and final day of report stage of the Apprenticeships Bill (Press Release; Hansard; Video). (04 November)

The HM Treasury launched a consultation on competitive dialogue in procurement. (04 November)

The Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) called on the government to create infrastructure gilts to tackle the potential £500 billion infrastructure deficit over the next decade in the UK (Press Release). (04 November)

Risk assessment firm Atradius, announced an increase in credit insurance capacity on 13,000 companies across all sectors, of which construction companies will be the main beneficiaries (Contract Journal). (04 November)

The Construction Products Association Autumn Lunch took place in London with Guest Speaker Conservative Shadow Housing Minister Grant Shapps. (03 October)

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched a campaign on asbestos related diseases saying that a new generation of tradesmen were at risk from asbestos. (02 November)

The Construction Products Association published its Autumn construction industry forecasts showing a fall in output of 15% in 2009 and 2% in 2010. The Association also wrote to Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling asking him not to cut capital spending on construction projects (Press Release). (30 October)

REGENERATION
The Convent Garden Market Authority launched the first phase of a public consultation on plans to update the market with the release of the redevelopment masterplan including a proposal to build three new residential blocks at the Nine Elms site (Press Release). (04 November)

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government John Denham MP launched proposals for a multi million pound regeneration scheme for Purfleet in the Thames Gateway. The scheme could see up to an estimated £500 million invested through a joint public/private sector partnership in a new town centre, with up to 2,970 new homes and 1,141 new jobs (Press Release) (03 November)

The Centre for Cities, Core Cities Summit took place in Liverpool. (03 November)

HOUSING
The British Property Federation (BPF), held a seminar on ‘Tory spending and on localism’ including speakers Shadow Minister for Local Government Bob Neill MP and Chairman of Jarvis Steve Norris. (05 October)

Speaking at the Housing Investment Summit London Mayor Boris Johnson announced that more than 30,000 new homes could be created in the capital by freeing up under-used land owned by the Greater London Authority (GLA) (Press Release) (03 November)

The Nationwide Building Society published details of house prices, showing that prices rose at a slightly slower pace of 0.4% in October (Press Release). (30 October)

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) closed the consultation stage of The Housing and Regeneration Act 2008. (30 October)

EDUCATION
The Esteem consortium, consisting of Morgan Sindall, Robertson Capital Projects and the Sewell Group, announced that they have been chosen to deliver Hull City’s £400 million Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme (Building). (04 November)

HEALTH
Brookfield Europe won the £500 million contract to rebuild and refurbish Glasgow Southern General Hospital (Contract Journal). (05 November)

The consortium appointed to build the UK’s third largest PFI funded hospital launched a £20 million law suit against the Department of Health and the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, following the cancellation of the £921 million hospital project (Construction News). (04 November)

Seven contractors were selected for a £60 million healthcare framework deal in Lothian, involving works associated with major upgrades, including ward refurbishments and extensions to existing buildings for health care facilities in both primary and acute care sectors (Contract Journal) (02 November)

TRANSPORT
The Department of Transport announced that National Express East Coast will be terminated on 13 November and the publically owned East Coast Main Line company will take over the franchise (Press Release). (05 November)

The Department of Transport closed the consultation stage for the draft Crossrail (Devolution of Functions) Order 2009. (05 November)

The Conservative Party hosted a seminar on “The Future of Transport & Infrastructure in the East of England” with Shadow Transport Minister Julian Brazier MP. (05 November)

The Beesley Lecture on ‘The Development of Competition in the UK Airport Market’ took place in London. (05 November)

The Welsh Assembly Government held a seminar on ‘Sustainable Transport and Tourism’ as part of the Community Rail Events. (04 November)

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) published its report on the future of UK airports and air transport (Press Release). (03 November)

Network Rail submitted a planning application for a new national centre to be located near Milton Keynes Central Railway station (Press Release). (02 November)

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee held an Oral Evidence Session on ‘Contracting for Highways Maintenance’, witnesses from the Highways Agency included Graham Dalton, Chief Executive, Stephen Dauncey, Director of Finance, and Derek Turner, Director of Network Operations (Construction News). (02 November)

The Local Government Association (LGA) published a report on how the UK should deal with adverse winter weather conditions, including recommendations for Network Rail and train companies to install new equipment (Press Release). (30 October)

OLYMPICS AND 2012
Contract Journal reported that only 87 construction apprentices are currently working on the Olympics development despite official targets to have 350 places filled on the Stratford site Contract Journal (04 November)

Scottish National Party Spokesperson on the Olympics Pete Wishart MP asked a question in parliament concerning how many Olympic construction contracts have been awarded to firms in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Minister for the Olympics Tessa Jowell MP confirmed that the Olympic Delivery Authority’s (ODA) direct suppliers totalled 17 in Scotland, 4 in Wales and 3 in Northern Ireland. Pete Wishart MP stated that the figures raised serious questions over whether contracts had been marketed fairly across the UK (Press Release). (30 October)

FLOODING
The Northern Ireland Audit Office released its report into improving the Strategic Roads Network and confirmed that new investigations were underway into the Belfast Westlink motorway flooding of August last year (Press Release). (04 November)

The Department for Communities and Local Government closed the consultation stage of the
proposed amendments to Planning Policy Statement 25: Development and Flood Risk. (03 November)

POLICE, FIRE AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE
The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee published its report on the Maintenance of the Prison Estate (Press Release) (05 November)

FUTURE EVENTS

Friday 06 November 2009
CLG consultation on the removal of restrictions on the self-certification of the installation of combustion appliances closes

Saturday 07 November 2009
BPF Planning Act seminar

Monday 09 November 2009
LGA/ DfT Conference: the journey to 2020: reducing carbon emissions through local transport policies

Tuesday 10 November 2009
LSE seminar on the First Legacy Games: the physical and socio-economic transformation of East London
NEW! Ippr Housing Seminar Series: The home of the future

Thurs 12 November 2009
Transport Group quarterly meeting
Excellence in BSF Awards
BPF Annual Dinner
Scottish Planning Policy - Proposed Policy Changes consultation closes
Glasgow North-East by-election
NEW! PPP Expo, London
NEW! Parliament is prorogued

Fri 13 November 2009
Consultation on Proposed changes to the Growth Fund for 2010-11 closes