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4 December 2018
Developers in Britain will have to go green and put the environment first

Developers in Britain could be required to put the environment at the heart of residential and commercial building and have to assess the type of habitat before submitting planning applications.

A new consultation has been launched, which is open until 10 February 2019 which aims to make sure developers deliver a biodiversity net gain on all new developments, meaning habitats for wildlife must be enhanced and left in a measurably better state than they were pre-development.

The proposed new rules require developers to assess the type of habitat and its condition before submitting plans. Car parks and industrial sites would usually come lower on this scale, while more natural grasslands and woodlands would be given a much higher ranking for their environmental importance.

Developers would then be required to demonstrate how they are improving biodiversity, such as through the creation of green corridors, planting more trees, or forming local nature spaces. Green improvements on site would be encouraged, but in the rare circumstances where they are not possible the consultation proposes to charge developers a levy to pay for habitat creation or improvement elsewhere.

Announcing the consultation, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said that the proposals would help to achieve better outcomes for nature and people with the millions of pounds invested in environmental impact mitigation by developers every year.

He explained that while some developers have already been following a biodiversity net gain approach voluntarily, the proposed standardised, mandatory approach would give them clarity and certainty on how to improve the environment through development.

He also explained that it is the first step in the Government’s ambition to embed the wider principle of ‘environmental net gain’ in development, to drive measurable improvements for all aspects of the environment such as air quality, flood defences and clean water.

The Government will now work collaboratively with developers, water companies, tourism services, energy providers and waste specialists to better understand how profitable development can be a driving force of environmental improvement.

‘Our commitment to protecting and enhancing our natural world can go hand in hand with our ambition to build more high quality homes. Mandating biodiversity net gain puts the environment at the heart of planning and development. This will not only create better places for people to live and work, but ensure we leave our environment in a better state for future generations,’ Gove pointed out.

‘In addition to upholding planning protections for sensitive sites such as ancient woodland and sites of special scientific interest, the consultation builds on the experiences of local authorities and developers who have already adopted net gain approaches,’ he added.

Developer, the Berkley Group, has already committed to creating a net biodiversity gain within all their development sites and are currently working with London Wildlife Trust to build Kidbrooke Village in East London, a new 4,800 home village development that contains 20 hectares of parkland.

Warwickshire County Council has trialled and implemented a system to ensure all developments lead to no net loss of biodiversity, with each development preparing a Biodiversity Impact Assessment prior to building.

According to Andrew Sells, chairman of Natural England, which has given extensive advice to Government on Net Gain, it is an ambitious idea that has the potential to bring significant benefits for our declining wildlife and the environment as a whole.

 

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5 December 2018
UK’s most sustainable homebuilders revealed

NextGeneration, the benchmark which assesses and ranks the UK’s 25 largest homebuilders on their sustainability performance has released its annual report which names Lendlease, Barratt Developments Plc and Redrow as the UK’s most sustainable homebuilders.

 

Lendlease tops this year’s sustainability performance for the third year in a row. Lendlease’s Elephant and Castle development is 1 of 19 climate positive developments globally and it also recently secured a Global Healthy Workplaces Award.

Barratt Developments Plc and Redrow come in second and third place respectively. Telford Homes and Taylor Wimpey place fourth and fifth, and are awarded a NextGeneration Gold Award for the first time.

Paul King, Managing Director Sustainability & External Affairs – Europe at Lendlease said: “Sustainability is woven into everything we do and plays a critical part of every decision we make. Maintaining this focus enables us to create places that benefit the people and communities living in them now and also those that will use them in the future.”

The benchmark assesses UK homebuilders on a wide range of indicators of high quality, sustainable housebuilding, and each company is given an overall percentage score out of 100. The criteria cover strategy and governance, environment, society and economy, and disclosure and transparency.

Companies represented in the benchmark have a total turnover of over £29bn and account for 63% of all new homes built in the past year. This year’s analysis reveals that NextGeneration members, of which there are seven, are leading the homebuilding industry with an average sustainability score of 75%, well above the industry average of 37%.

The report also identifies three key areas of risk and opportunity for homebuilders to focus on to solidify their business’ future: supporting employee health, promoting thermal comfort and embracing modern methods of construction.

Innovation Award

This year, the Innovation Award was given to Linden Homes for their efforts to achieve Gender Inclusion. The lack of diversity and inclusion, along with the challenges of the skills gap, are industry-wide issues. In recognition of this, Linden Homes has implemented a number of initiatives to attract a diverse range of people into the industry.

Julie Hirigoyen, CEO of the UK Green Building Council commented: “In a world where we need to stay below 1.5 degrees according to the IPCC, it is more important than ever for housebuilders to be producing homes that are fit for purpose, both now and in the future.

“NextGeneration provides a robust benchmark of the housebuilding industry, and, crucially, helps companies consider where they must focus their efforts in order to be sustainability leaders.”

Emma Hoskyn, Acting Head of Sustainability of JLL UK, added: “The NextGeneration Initiative plays an important role in improving the sustainability of the UK’s homes by providing a robust and independent benchmark of the ambitions and performance of homebuilders. JLL are proud to be part of this initiative and look forward to working with homebuilders to deliver better homes for residents, communities and for the environment.”

 

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6 December 2018
Buy a house, get £10,000 free Uber credits or a free car:

the tempting incentives being offered to lure buyers

What would it take for you to buy a property? Incentives such as shopping vouchers, season tickets and the latest tech gadgets have long been dangled by developers in front of prospective buyers in the hope they'll take the bait.

But with Britain's property market slowing – house price growth fell to a five-year low in October – housebuilders are having to make these incentives even more creative, as they become increasingly desperate to sell homes.

Figures from the Home Builders Federation show that the rate of increase in the use of incentives is the highest since March 2012.

For a week in October, Telford Homes offered all first-time buyers who reserved a flat in its Bow Garden Square development...

 

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