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At a crossroads: Building foundations for healthy communities

A new report published by APSE, researched and written by the TCPA, is calling on the Government to put public health at the heart of housing delivery; empowering local decision-makers to create healthy and high-quality places. The report condemns a decade of deregulatory planning reform which has failed to acknowledge the crucial role local authorities play in designing healthy places and driving up the standard of new housing.


Author: APSE, TCPA

Publication date: August 2020

Further information: https://apse.org.uk/apse/index.cfm/news/articles/2020/at-a-crossroads-building-foundations-for-healthy-communities

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Electricity Storage: Pathways to a Net Zero Future

The Electricity Storage Network has released a report outlining the role storage can play in tackling the climate emergency. As the UK looks to a green recovery from the pandemic, the paper calls for a clear signal from government to set a trajectory for storage over the next decade which will help create jobs and economic growth while enabling the electricity system to become zero carbon.

The paper has been built from a broad evidence base, building on our extensive engagement with ESN members and wider industry, government, Ofgem and National Grid ESO. Regen has written two previous major reports on storage in 2016 and 2017 and this paper builds on those findings, aiming to give an overview of storage and its uses, a snapshot of where the industry has got to in 2020, and what needs to change if we’re to face up to the climate emergency over the next decade.

The paper outlines six key recommendations for government and industry to ensure we build a sustainable industry that allows storage to deploy at the scale needed to support the UK’s transition to net zero.

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Author: Regen

Publication date: June 2020

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Re-thinking local

The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the communities in which we live and work. The next six months have the potential to shape the direction of this country for years to come.

The challenges ahead are as great as those we faced during the pandemic. We need to rebuild our economy, get people back to work and create new hope in our communities. As we begin to look forward and rebuild, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not just recover but to go even further – to address the stark inequalities the pandemic has exposed and that have been entrenched for too long; to connect with people’s identities and sense of community; to harness the energy and dynamism which have been the hallmarks of our response to this crisis; to rebuild the economy so that it benefits everyone.

This document sets out a series of offers to Government, alongside a set of asks and is the start of a process. A process to re-think our approach to these problems and a process that leads central government to re-think its view of us. We collectively need to re-think local and we hope this is the first step.

Now is the time for national government to grasp these opportunities and to lay the foundations for a future that is local.

Author: Local Government Association

Publication date: June 2020

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State of the Nation: Domestic Buildings

There have been a number of studies undertaken over the last 10 years to understand the performance of homes, addressing issues such as energy consumption and outcomes for occupants and building owners. However, many of these studies are not widely publicised and limited to a small audience: their full potential is not being realised.

Now, we are transitioning into a new future of understanding building performance: the technology is becoming cheaper and data more available. As we enter a world of smart meters and smart homes, individuals and organisations will be better able to better understand how homes perform.

To harness the currently available knowledge and the opportunities around the corner, this work for the Building Performance Network addresses the following issues and includes:

  • A review of existing studies of domestic building performance.  Within scope are any studies considering energy consumption, thermal performance, environmental performance (including temperature, relative humidity and occupant feedback), and outcomes for occupants and housing providers;
  • A review of current building performance evaluation and assessment methods, including how these relate to energy consumption, comfort, health and well-being;
  • An assessment of how different building performance evaluation methods score against time, cost, and user expertise;
  • What smart meters and smart homes mean for the measurement of building performance;
  • The future of BPE, with recommendations for researchers, manufacturers, clients and where possible for the construction supply chain.

Project map

This map was created by researchers at Oxford Brookes University, School of Architecture.


Author: Building Performance Network

Publication date: June 2020

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So you’ve declared a climate emergency: what next?

A new report published by APSE sets out the steps that UK councils need to consider in translating climate emergency declarations into positive actions to address climate change. The report identifies both the barriers and opportunities for local councils to deliver on commitments to work towards net zero carbon emissions.

The report, written and researched with the New Policy Institute (NPI) suggests that actions taken now by councils, to reduce emissions will provide long term benefits with early cuts across a broad range of activities being the immediate aim.

Drawing upon the near-term targets, published by the Committee on Climate Change, the report highlights many achievable actions by local authorities in reducing emissions in assets and building, energy, transport, leisure and waste and recycling services.


Author: APSE

Publication date: May 2020

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Buildings Mission 2030: GCB Recommendations

The Green Construction Board (GCB), the sustainability workstream of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), issued its response to the ‘2030 Buildings Mission’ on Tuesday 2nd July 2019 at an event at IET Savoy Place in London. The GCB Buildings Mission Taskgroup is being led by GHA Chair Lynne Sullivan OBE with the report sponsored by GHA Leader member BRE and the new Active Building Centre in Swansea.

The report places the recommendations for 2030 in the context of the longer-term objective of Net Zero Carbon buildings and asserts that new technologies and modern construction methods already enable the 2030 energy target to be achieved. However, the GCB response emphasises the need for mass production of high-performance fabric and systems to operationalise the solutions at scale.

Using case studies to provide background evidence for recommendations on reducing energy demand and improving energy and system efficiencies, the report unequivocally supports the view that the Mission is deliverable. Find out more at www.constructionleadershipcouncil.co.uk.

“The report provides background evidence for our Recommendations, which are positioned in the context of the longer-term objective of Net Zero Carbon buildings. We have focused, as a nearer term objective, on reducing energy demand by improving energy and system efficiencies. Along with process efficiencies including better quality management and procurement practices, we demonstrate how the Challenge can be tackled pragmatically, building on current best practice.

“Our Recommendations unequivocally support the Mission objective and this report demonstrates that it is realisable. We call for urgent and consistent action on three fronts – regulation, incentives and supporting research – and our case studies demonstrate that the objective to halve all building energy through demand reduction can deliver multiple benefits for supply chain replicability and growth opportunities, whilst reducing reliance on decarbonised energy supply.”

Lynne Sullivan OBE, Chair of the Good Homes Alliance and GCB Buildings Mission Taskgroup

Author: Green Construction Board

Publication date: April 2019

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Living with beauty; promoting health, well-being and sustainable growth

The Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission is an independent body set up to advise government on how to promote and increase the use of high-quality design for new build homes and neighbourhoods.

In its final report, ‘Living with beauty’, the Commission has set out its recommendations to government.


Author: Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission

Publication date: January 2020

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Whats stopping councils from building more houses?

The CIH-NFA-ARCH survey had 22 detailed responses from  authorities ranging from five London boroughs to large cities in the Midlands and North and several medium and small authorities.

Although the numbers responding were limited, the replies throw considerable light both on local authorities’ new-build plans and on the opportunities and constraints they still face.


Author: Chartered Institute of Housing; National Federation of ALMOs; Association of Retained Council Housing

Publication date: January 2020

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Combined authorities – collaboration on housing and planning

This report looks at how combined authorities have used their powers, resources and partnerships to achieve enhanced outcomes in housing and planning and how they are working with their constituent authorities to deliver these.

By focusing on both major innovative approaches and projects, mainstream delivery programmes and smaller scale outcomes, the report recognises that whilst at different stage of development, combined authorities are still evolving. 1.2 The report focuses on specific case studies to illustrate innovation and delivery around the following themes:

  • Increasing supply through innovative funding and investment
  • Meeting housing need
  • Accelerating housing delivery by co-ordinating and creating sites
  • Alignment with the wider growth agenda
  • Addressing urban renewal through Mayoral Development Corporations
  • Excellence in quality and design
  • Advantages of capacity building, procurement, delivery and resource sharing.

Author: Local Government Association

Publication date: January 2020

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Space standards for homes

To address this, a number of cities across the UK, including London, have adopted their own minimum space standards. The UK Government does not collect reliable data on the size of new homes. However, in 2011, RIBA research showed that the family homes being sold by the UK’s eight largest private housebuilders was on average 8m² – the size of a single bedroom – smaller than the minimum standards drawn up for London.

The report helped to push the Government to take action and, in October 2015, a new nationally described space standard came into force, setting out detailed guidance on the minimum size of new homes. Under the new standard, a new one bed, one person flat would have to be a minimum of 37m² while a three bed, five person home would be a minimum of 93m².

Unfortunately the new national standard is unlikely to have an impact in the short term. To adopt minimum standards in their area, local authorities will have to navigate an unnecessarily complex, costly, time-consuming and confusing process.


Author: RIBA

Publication date: December 2019

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