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Plans for 1,500 much-needed new homes, a primary school and shops at the new town of Northstowe have been given the green light by councillors.
The landmark decision to approve outline planning permission for the first phase of the exemplar new town – which will ultimately see 10,000 new homes built – means developers could begin work in 2013 to address shortages of homes in the area.
As well as new homes, a primary school, and shops, Gallagher’s plans for the first phase also include a sports hub, areas of open space, a local centre, employment opportunities and a site for a household recycling centre.
A further report will now be presented to the Northstowe Joint Development Control Committee early next year with details of how construction of the town would put “quality first” while making sure it is still financially viable to go ahead.
The approval by councillors follows a public consultation in the summer and negotiations with developers, which now mean plans include a cycleway linking Northstowe and Bar Hill during phase one of the town. A network of cycleways and footpaths will also be built to give easy access for Northstowe residents to the Guided Busway and improvements to the Bar Hill junction of the A14 will be funded by the first phase.
The plans for the Bar Hill junction follow recent Government announcements committing £7.7 million to widen the A14 between Girton and Histon in 2014 as a short term measure to alleviate congestion and improve safety, in advance of a major upgrade to the road.
In a letter to Cllr Ray Manning, Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, last week, Housing Minister, Mark Prisk MP, confirmed he was “committed to work in partnership with local authorities and scheme promoters to accelerate delivery” as Northstowe was a “high priority” for the Government.
In the letter he also stated he supported both councils in their bid to deliver a high quality new town with exemplar standards and reiterated renewed commitment to a major upgrade to the A14 and the construction of Cambridge Science Park Railway Station.
“We are committed to working with you and other partners as a matter of urgency to develop a package of support that will help to accelerate delivery and remove barriers to the establishment of a high quality new town demonstrating exemplar standards,” said Mr Prisk.
He added: “I can also confirm that the Government fully recognises the important role that both the proposed A14 upgrade and the creation of a new Cambridge Science Park Station will play in the development of Northstowe. We remain committed to the timely delivery of these schemes.”
Detailed plans containing information on exactly where the homes, roads and facilities will be built on the site, as well as how landscaping and drainage will be features of the development, will now begin to be developed. These are expected to be submitted on a regular basis throughout the next 12 months and council bosses have committed to consult with communities, and a parish forum set up for the town, every step of the way.
Cllr Tim Wotherspoon, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for Northstowe, said:
“The decision today is a huge landmark for Northstowe as the town has been talked about for more than ten years. We are now at the stage of turning a vision into a reality and will begin to look at the fine detail to make sure the town is of the highest quality possible. There is an acute need for new homes in South Cambridgeshire – especially those that are affordable – to support the jobs being created, but we will continue to put residents and quality first to make sure the right facilities are there from day one. Clearly transport is always a concern with any new development and I am very pleased the Government has reaffirmed their commitment to tackling the major upgrade need on the A14 quickly so future phases of the new town can go ahead.”
Cllr Ian Bates, Cambridgeshire County Council’s cabinet member for growth and planning, said:
“This is a really big step forward in building a future community at Northstowe. A lot of hard work has already been carried out with both Gallagher and the Homes and Communities Agency, but this will now continue to make sure the right facilities are in place for everyone. More transport facilities to complement the guided busway will be needed for when residents move in as these are vital to improving health, reducing congestion and boosting the local economy.”
Builder Willmot Dixon has finally got the green light to start of the regeneration of Keynsham town centre, near Bristol.
Bath and North East Somerset Council was forced to postpone the August start of the project earlier this year after criticism from some local people, and the town’s civic society about the designs .
Now after several design variations to the roofs and cladding, the council planning committee has approved the scheme.
The project involves the £36m redevelopment of the existing council offices site in Keynsham with new shops, a library and new council offices.
The buildings have already been stripped for demolition and the scheme, while the planning wrangle was being sorted out.
The project will allow the council to reduce the amount of office space it uses from 12 building to four and become more financially efficient.
Reduced running costs will deliver 10% annual savings that will benefit the local taxpayer public purse. The Council carbon footprint specifically in its buildings will reduce by up to 70%.
Listen to Philip Sugarman, our CEO, being interviewed on BBC Radio Northampton.
The award-winning St Andrew’s Healthcare, which is the UK’s largest mental health charity, has confirmed it now has the funding package in place to enable a further major investment in brand new facilities at its Northampton base.
St Andrew’s, the largest charity sector provider of NHS care, has agreed a £52.5m funding package with Lloyds TSB, to include funding the construction of a new 90-bed psychiatric hospital. The new facility will provide secure accommodation for a number of new services and will allow expansion of its existing national services.
Professor Philip Sugarman Chief Executive Officer at St Andrew’s said “In the last ten years we have completed a £200m programme of development and refurbishment across four sites, with our new units achieving high levels of occupancy. We have seen continuous growth and a recent sharp rise in market share.”
“We are now ready to plan the next phase of growth, with new facilities for service users placed with us by our NHS customers. These developments will strengthen our position as the UK’s leading provider of specialist secure care and as the country’s only independent national teaching hospital.”
Chief Finance Officer Nigel Alcock says: “Despite challenging financial forecasts for independent mental healthcare providers, St Andrew’s saw turnover increase by over 5% last year, to £169m. As a charity it is essential that any financial agreements we enter into are right for our long-term commitment to care for as many people as possible. We are in a very different position to some private companies, and that’s why we believe that the charitable model offers huge potential for the sector.
“This funding agreement will help St Andrew’s maintain the great results we have achieved by reinvesting in the future of mental healthcare over the last few years. We are delighted to have finalised the deal with Lloyds, who have been fantastic to work with.”
David Hykin, Relationship Director at Lloyds Bank Wholesale Banking & Markets said: “St Andrew’s Healthcare has delivered a strong track record of growth in recent years, demonstrating the strength of its balance sheet and its future potential. We are working closely with the management team to support the growth ambitions of the charity, which is a well-established and impressive enterprise in the healthcare sector.”
Stockport Council and Muse Developments have signed and sealed a Development Agreement, marking an important milestone in the development of a high-specification office quarter, next to the train station in the town centre.
The Council bought the site – known as Grand Central – last year to bring forward the office-led development, including hotel and improved car parking, as well as an attractive new gateway to the town centre. National development and regeneration specialist Muse Developments wasappointed by the Council as development partner to deliver the project.
Phase One consists of a new 1,000 space multi-story car park and a range of highway improvements, due to be completed at the beginning of 2014. The new car park will meet increasing demand for parking next to the railway station and encourage more people to take the train. A temporary parking solution for commuters will be provided during its construction.
Phase Two has been masterplanned to deliver the first commercial office building, new public space, a hotel and highway improvements by 2015. Phase Three will include further office buildings, extension of the open space and further improved accessibility for pedestrians, and will be delivered on a phased basis up to 2020.
Councillor Iain Roberts, executive member for economic development and regeneration at Stockport Council, said: “The signing of the Development Agreement confirms both parties’ commitment to delivering a cutting-edge new office quarter and commuter destination for Stockport. It is a crucial part of our overall vision for the town centre – attracting jobs, investment and footfall. We’ve worked hard to make sure that it’s self-financing and at no extra cost to the Council-tax payer.”
Matt Crompton, joint managing director ofMuse Developments said: “Today marks an important milestone in the transformation of this key gateway to Stockport town centre. We can now look forward to working with our partners at the Council to build on Stockport’s commercial appeal to deliver this stunning new office quarter.”
Kier Supplier Day- Sign Up
Construction workers from Merseyside and West Lancashire, are being invited to meet prospective client Kier Construction at a Constructionline ‘Meet the Buyer’ event on Wednesday 24th October 2012. Kier’s Construction division have secured the contract to deliver a joint Command and Control Centre for Mersey Fire and Rescue Services and Merseyside Police
Date: 24th October 2012
Time: 8:30am and 1:30pm.
Venue: Merseyside Fire & Rescue Services HQ, Bridle Road, Bootle, L30 1NY
The event, being held at Mersey Fire & Rescue Services HQ, will see small and medium sized construction companies meet face to face with Kier Construction to discuss working on this project. Kier is looking to build a local supply chain of contractors.
Please note this work is being carried out as part of the North West Construction Hub and as part of Kier’s commitment to the Construction Hub payments terms to all subcontractors have been set at 35 days, to ease the cash flow pressures on SME’s.
The works are due for completion in early 2014 with an overall projected contract value of £6M and will cover the following:
By attending our event, you will have the opportunity to Meet face to face with Kier Construction Key personnel and find out about our upcoming opportunity
The University of Bath has awarded a £16m contract to VINCI Construction UK for the design and construction of a new, five-storey teaching building.
The General Teaching Accommodation (GTA) will include a range of high quality learning facilities, including group lecture rooms, two 350-space lectures theatres, and social spaces.
Glass walls spanning three storeys will provide high levels of natural light into a five-storey high circulation space. A ‘skywalk’ bridge will also connect the building with the main campus parade.
Once completed, the 8,000m2 building will double the number of large scale lecture theatres on campus, allowing up to 2,000 students to use the building at any one time.
The contract is part of the University Masterplan which provides a framework for the development of the campus until 2026.
Martyn Whalley, University of Bath’s Director of Estates, said: “The Masterplan sets out how we plan to provide state of the art facilities and with the new GTA we will have a wonderful resource to match the high quality of our teaching and learning.”
Steve Vorres, Regional Director, VINCI Construction UK, said: “We are delighted to have been appointed by the University of Bath to deliver the new GTA building which forms part of the University’s three year major capital works investment programme. This scheme will provide an exemplar teaching facility for the University’s staff and growing student population and we are extremely proud to be part of its construction and legacy. The GTA project award continues the region’s recent successes of working with University clients. These relationships form an essential part of our key account strategy and stand us in good stead for our future pipeline”.
Completion is due in September 2013 with an opening date set for the following October. The project aims to further enhance the reputation of the university, which already boasts a top ten ranking in The Guardian’s 2013 university guide.
Contractors are being invited to tender for a framework to revamp police stations and buildings across London and the Home Counties worth up to £220m.
An OJEU notice has been published for the three-year deal which will see up to 12 contractors win a place to work for the Mayors’ Office for Policing and Crime.
The framework will be split into two lots – general works and M&E works.
Contracts will be awarded across Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Essex, Surrey, Thames Valley and the Transport for London region.
Firms should register their interest by November 26 with Mayors’ Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) c/o Metropolitan Police Service Property, 11th Floor, Empress State, Empress Approach, Lillie Road, West Brompton Mr Richard Davies Mr Richard Davies SW6 1TR London UNITED KINGDOM +44 2071611503 firstname.lastname@example.org
HOLLYWOOD film giant Paramount has unveiled £2 billion proposals to build one of Europe’s largest theme parks in Swanscombe.
Planning to create 27,000 jobs, the 872-acre development planned for the Swanscombe Peninsula is bigger than the Olympic Park.
At the core of the development will be a Paramount-branded entertainment resort, boasting attractions including Europe’s largest indoor water park.
Theatres, live music venues, cinemas, restaurants and hotels are also planned to open in just six years time on the currently derelict brownfield site.
Top-secret talks have been held almost daily between developer London Resort Company Holdings (LRCH) and Dartford and Gravesham Councils during the past year.
Gravesham Council leader Councillor John Burden said: “This scheme is as imaginative as it is vast.
“It has the potential to re-energise the entire north Kent economy, wipe out unemployment at a stroke and resolve the long-standing regeneration issues surrounding this peninsula.
“It’s a landmark announcement which could transform the area at super-heroic speed.”
A new country park, the biggest performing arts centre in Europe and apartments for the site’s employees are also in the pipeline.
The developer says a study suggests the huge attraction will draw in thousands of tourists to the north Kent area annually, adding significantly to the economy.
LRCH project leader Tony Sefton said: “Our vision is to create a world class entertainment destination, the first of its kind in the UK.
“We’re at the start of a long journey, but have been encouraged by the support and buy-in we have had to date.
“We are particularly pleased with the appetite we are seeing from investors, who consider this a compelling investment proposition.”
Ebbsfleet International station is at the core of access plans for the site, while the M25, M20 and A20 will provide road access.
Source This Is London
“Post-Olympic Work to Create New Jobs in the Trades”
The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) has appointed Britain’s second biggest homebuilder to build the first of the five new neighbourhoods on the Olympic Park.
Sitting between the Athletes’ Village and the Lee Valley VeloPark, the development of Chobham Manor will address the residential needs for larger homes, with more than 75% of the new homes offering family housing.
Eleven thousand new homes, schools, nurseries and shops are set to be built in the Olympic Park over the next 20 years after the London Games leave town.
Daniel Moylan, Chairman of the London Legacy Development Corporation, said:“Chobham Manor will set the tone for the high quality neighbourhoods we want to create across the Park with new schools, health centres and community spaces to support them.”
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, welcomed the announcement by emphasising the future benefits for local communities and the increasing accommodation needs in the city.
Mr Johnson said: “With the incredible energy of London 2012 captivating audiences across the world, the long-term legacy of the Olympic Park is quietly going from strength to strength.
“The development of Chobham Manor is major milestone and will help ensure a thriving community on the Park becomes a reality sooner rather than later.”
What are your reactions of the Olympic Games and the lasting legacy they will bring to London’s infrastructure? Do you welcome the Post-Olympic work which is set to deliver thousands of new homes for Londoners? Share the wider implications of the Games for you and your business by commenting here or raising your voice on our Facebook and Twitter page.
A multimillion accommodation scheme at the University of Stirling has been granted to a large construction firm which will see will the creation of 788 contemporary bedrooms and bring new jobs during its three year redevelopment period.
The £11 million contract will enable Stirling to compete with universities and colleges around the world whist creating employment opportunities for people in the trades and directly benefiting the local economy.
Building construction work, which is due to start this year, will improve current student accommodation with newly-designed study bedrooms, spacious kitchens with dining space, and increased social spaces.
Director of Estates & Campus Services, Karen Plouviez, described the scheduled redevelopment as the largest capital project the University has undertaken since it was created in the late 1960s.
Ms Plouviez said “We are looking forward to working in partnership with GRAHAM Construction to deliver this transformational project and to sensitively enhancing what is already an exceptional landscape and architectural setting.”
Regional Director for Graham Construction said: “Graham has a policy of being a responsible neighbour to the communities we operate in and we will be seeking to build relationships with the local construction industry and its supply chain.”
What is your reaction on the multimillion accommodation scheme at the University of Stirling? Do you think the local construction industry could benefit by the willingness of Graham Construction to cooperate with its supply chain? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raising your voice on our Facebook and Twitter page.
Changes to subsidies for renewable electricity in Britain could accelerate up to £25 billion of new investment and create thousands of new jobs according to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Edward Davey.
Bandings for renewable technologies were set last week under the Government’s Renewables Obligation which will support and create new green jobs whilst at the same time minimise energy cost to consumers.
Edward Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, welcomed the decision which will ensure rapid growth in the renewable energy and unlock further green investment.
Mr Davey said: “Renewable energy will create a multi-billion pound boom for the British economy, driving growth and supporting jobs across the country.
“Because value for money is vital, we will bring forward more renewable electricity while reducing the impact on consumer bills between 2013 and 2015, saving £6 off household energy bills next year and £5 the year after.”
The Banding Review (as set out by the DECC) includes:
- Support for onshore wind from 2013-17 will be reduced by 10% to 0.9ROCs, as consulted on in autumn 2011. This level is guaranteed until at least 2014 but could change after then if there is a significant change in generation costs. A call for evidence on onshore wind industry costs will be launched this autumn and report in early 2013.
- Rates of support for offshore wind will reduce as the cost of the technology comes down during the decade;
- Support levels for certain marine energy technologies will more than double from 2ROCs to 5ROCs per MWh, subject to a 30MW limit per generating station;
- There will be a new band to support existing coal plant converting to sustainable biomass fuels. This will increase the amount of renewable energy produced at less cost to consumers; and
- There will be no immediate reduction in support for large-scale solar, but there will be a further consultation this year on reduced support levels given recent dramatic falls in costs.
The Government has given the green light to a massive regeneration scheme that will build new homes and carry out extensive refurbishments to more than 650 council houses in Brunswick, an area of the inner city of Manchester.
The 25-year regeneration project will see significant investment to the area, paving the way for new jobs in thesector and trade professionals.
The Homes and Community Agency (HCA), which approved the regeneration plan, said it will include building an improved neighbourhood design with new road layouts and safe open space. The project will also build a new retail area including new shops and amenities coupled with a 60-bed accommodation facility.
Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, Cllr Jim Battle, welcomed the announcement for Brunswick saying that residents have long waited for such good news that will transform their area and deliver new homes.
Mr Battle said: “We have a fantastic community here that will no doubt continue to prosper as the regeneration plans come to fruition. Being so close to the city centre, coupled with the promise of new homes and an improved neighbourhood layout, I can see a bright future for Brunswick.”
The Government’s approval for the project means the Council can now consider a variety of bidders who will be responsible for delivering the regeneration plan. The Council said it will evaluate final bids from both Fern and Solutions 4 Brunswick, before selecting the preferred bidder later this year.
What’s your reaction to the approval of the long awaited regeneration plans in Brunswick? How the Government’s decision to refurbish and build new homes will benefit you/ your business?
As London is about to host the 2012 Olympic Games next month, the UK’s construction sector could benefit from this summer’s excellent completion of the Olympic venue and one of the greatest showcases on the Earth to bid for major international project in the future.
The opening of the Olympic Games will signal to the world, and future host cities of sport events, Britain’s success in delivering seven billion pound worth of Olympic infrastructure on time and budget.
John Armitt, chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) explained the success of London 2012 will reinforce Britain’s building construction credentials in overseas markets.
Mr Armitt also commented that the Olympics are an opportunity to build Britain’s self-confidence as a country. British businesses and trade professional could benefit from major projects in some of the world fastest growing economy, including Qatar.
Over the next decade the Gulf state will develop US $140 billion worth of major projects in preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. British companies will be able to benefit from these commercial opportunities and pursue the investment potential which their businesses need.
Do you agree the building construction industry will benefit from the Olympic legacy and widen its international operations? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raising your voice in our Facebook page.
The Scottish Government is going to invest more than £2 billion in a new energy efficiency scheme that will insulate thousands of new homes across Scotland and create new jobs for people in the trades.
The new investment will be delivered over the next ten years in a national programme that will transform aging houses, reduce heating costs and improve energy efficiency in Scottish homes.
Commenting on the £2 billion programme, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment, Alex Neil explained it is essential to put such measures in place in order to improve the energy efficiency of homes across Scotland. He also emphasised the importance of the project for the creation of new jobs and future economic recovery.
Mr Neil said: “These strategies provide a great opportunity for Scottish businesses and can provide a real boost to our economy. Working with the energy companies, we plan to ensure investment of over £2 billion pounds is provided over the next ten years to ensure our housing stock is energy efficient.
“New technologies, which would bring down carbon emissions as well as household fuel bills, are key to energy efficient homes and a vital element in economic recovery.
“The drive to transform new-build through innovative design and construction approaches creates economic and export opportunities for Scottish companies, along with an opportunity to make greater use of Scottish timber in innovative products.”
What is your reaction to the £2 billion investment that will boost the building construction sector? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raising your voice on our Facebook page.
Somerset District Council has launched a six week consultation period over the plan to build 16, 000 new homes across South Somerset in the next 16 years.
Housing growth has been in the Council’s core development strategy with a strong agenda for boosting employment and creating thousands of new jobs, South Somerset District Council said in a statement.
The Council is inviting businesses and the people of South Summerset to express their views about the major development. The consultation period will run from 28th June to 10th August 2012. Once the consultation is completed, the Council’s proposed plans for new housing and jobs are expected to include policies on affordable housing, car parking, shops, open spaces and the environment up to 2028.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Ric Pallister, described the Local Plan as ‘one of the most important issues to come before the people of South Somerset in more than a decade’.
He said: “We need to take a long term view that is more concerned with meeting the needs of future generations than it is about today’s concerns. Although we are now in the closing stages of the plan being adopted, having taken note of everything the community have said so far, there is this last opportunity to have your say. Comments, either in support or objection, will then be passed on to a Planning Inspector who will hold a public Examination and make a final decision later this year.”
Current Draft of the Local Plan includes:
- 40 hectares of employment land already committed
- 5 new hectares of employment land within the town and 7 new hectares (1,565 jobs) in a Sustainable Urban Extension
- 2943 new jobs
- 3,704 homes allocated, proposed a further 4,111, to include a Sustainable Urban Extension of 1,565 homes to the South, rising to 2,500 homes after the year 2028.
- Green Buffer to protect the villages of East Coker & North Coker
- 13 hectares of new employment land
- 886 new jobs
- 1,861 homes proposed with a further 1,376 after 2028
- Strategic growth will be to the east of the town and including town centre regeneration.
- 5 hectares of new employment land
- 490 new jobs
- 692 homes already allocated proposed a further 11
- Strategic growth will be to the south west of the town, north of Lawrence Hill and west of Wincanton Business Park.
- 10.10 hectares of employment land already committed
- 472 new jobs
- 901 homes already allocated proposed a further 127
- Strategic growth will be located at the Crewkerne Key Site.
Ansford / Castle Cary
- 3 hectares of new employment land
- 223 new jobs
- 127 homes already allocated, proposed a further 273
- Strategic growth will be to the north of Torbay Road and east and west of Station Road.
- Request for a road link between Station Road and Torbay Road to improve access to employment area.
- 3 hectares of new employment land
- 251 new jobs
- 235 homes already allocated, proposed a further 165
- Strategic growth will be to the west of the town.
Langport / Huish Episcopi
- 3 hectares of new employment land
- 233 new jobs
- 295 homes already allocated, proposed a further 105
- Strategic growth will be to the north, east, and south east of the town (employment only to the south east to protect nearby wildlife nesting grounds).
- 23.5 hectares of employment land already committed
- 343 new jobs
- 199 homes already allocated, proposed a further 332
- Strategic growth will be to the south east of the town.
- All rural centres to receive 2 hectares of employment land each (828 jobs overall)
- Bruton – 113 homes already allocated, proposed a further 104
- Ilchester – 151 new homes
- Martock – 101 homes already allocated, proposed a further 145
- Milborne Port – 210 homes already allocated, proposed a further 89
- South Petherton – 151 homes already allocated, proposed a further 94
- Stoke Sub Hamdon – 6 homes already allocated, proposed a further 49
What is your reaction to the major development in Somerset which is expected to build thousands of new homes and boost the building construction industry? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raising your voce on our Facebook page.
The government will not go ahead with a three pence-a-litre rise in fuel duty in August, Chancellor George Osborne has announced.
The move follows a campaign by road users’ groups, who argued the change, announced in the Budget, would damage the economy.
Fuel duty will be frozen for the rest of the year, the chancellor told MPs.
Labour had threatened to force a House of Commons vote on the issue.
Mr Osborne said the government was “doing everything we can in very, very difficult economic circumstances” to help businesses and consumers.
One of the largest providers of affordable housing in the South of England, Sovereign Housing Association, has announced it will build more than 3, 000 new homes over the next four years, paving the way for jobs in the building construction industry.
The ambitious plan will see 1, 064 new homes built by the end of this financial year, 865 of which have been already identified, the housing association confirmed last week. Under Sovereign’s new development strategy at least 276 of the new homes will be for affordable home ownership, forecasting a similar number of homes to be completed in 2013/14.
Development and Commercial Director at Sovereign, Phil Stephens, said: “The top priorities of our development strategy are to ensure that we deliver the HCA Affordable Homes Programme and to play our part in achieving Sovereign’s aim of reaching 50,000 homes by 2015,”
“Our recent successful bond issue has given us the financial strength and flexibility to continue delivering a substantial programme of new homes in our core operating areas in the coming years.”- added Mr Stephens.
It was revealed that Sovereign’s development will include a significant number of shared ownership homes as well as a growing number of market rent properties in key locations.
Mr Stephens commented that there is a definite gap in the market rent properties due to the rising demand from people unable to buy their own homes.
He said: “We will be looking to build on the positive experiences we have had so far letting homes at market rates in the West Country, and not only develop a broader portfolio of properties, but also diversify our revenue streams to enable us to continue providing affordable homes into the future.”
What’s your reaction to Sovereign’s announcement to build 3,000 new homes in the next four years? How do you think this revelation could help your business? Let us know by commenting here or raising your voice on our Facebook page.
LED (Light Emitting Diode) street lighting can generate to up to 85% energy savings, a new report by electronics giant Philips and the Climate Group found.
The results of a major two-and-half year study looking to improve energy efficiency in some of the world’s largest cities, including New York, London and Sydney, have indicated significant potential for the green economy by replacing traditional light bulbs with highly efficient LED technology.
Lighting is estimated to be responsible for nearly a fifth of global electricity use and around 6% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The report shows that LED lighting technologies could double lighting efficiency and have a climate impact equivalent to eliminating half the emissions of all electricity and heat production in the European Union.
Mark Kenber, CEO of the Climate Group said: “This report clearly highlights that LEDs are ready to be scaled-up in towns and cities across the globe. LED technology is energy efficient, scalable and positively impacts on the public; it is the Clean Revolution in action. We are now calling on Governments to remove policy obstacles and enable a rapid transition to low carbon lighting.”
It has been estimated the LEDs could save 670 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year. The report showed that citizens of pilot cities preferred LED lighting because of social and environmental benefits.
A recent reportby the International Labour Organization concluded that the green economy could create up to 60 million jobs; the Climate Group, Philips and partners who participated in the report are urging the government to improve LEDs in cities and make a green investment that will create millions of high-value jobs across the world.
What’s your reaction to the significant savings that could be made from LED street lighting? Would you consider replacing traditional light bulbs at your home with LED lighting to cut energy cost? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below:
Wandsworth Council has granted planning permission to two major development schemes in London’s biggest regeneration zone, Nine Elms, which will see built almost 3,000 new homes.
The Nine Elms scheme will include replacing the existing 1970’s tower block on the corner of Warnsworth Road with two new 58 and 43-storey buildings, Wandsworth Council confirmed yesterday.
More than 1,000 new homes are currently under construction at the 195 hectares acres site in Nine Elms and another 12, 000 new homes are expected to come through the planning pipeline.
It has been estimated the building delivery programme at Nine Elms could support up to 24, 000 jobs in the building construction industry as well as contributing towards major infrastructure upgrades including the Northern Line Extension.
Wandsworth Council’s planning chairman Cllr Nick Cuff said: “We’re making tremendous progress in Nine Elms. Each new development will create new homes, new open spaces and new job opportunities for local people.
Commenting on the approved New Covent Garden Market scheme to modernise 40 years old market facilities in the area which could provide over 2, 000 new homes, Mr Cuff said: “The modernisation of New Covent Garden Market is designed to safeguard the future of 2,500 jobs and comes with a contribution of around £63 million towards the Northern Line Extension.
“One Nine Elms would see an outdated office block replaced with two glass towers and around half of the site would become a new public square lined with shops, cafes, bars and restaurants.”
Wandsworth and Lambeth Councils said they were securing apprenticeship places and local employment opportunities as a condition of each scheme’s planning consent.
Once the construction process is complete the new Nine Elms will provide an additional 25,000 new permanent jobs for London as well as 16,000 new homes.
Do you welcome the major developments in Nine Elms that will build new homes and create thousands of new jobs? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment here or raising your voice on our Facebook page.
A new report has revealed the UK will reduce the cost of electricity generated by offshore wind by 30 % in the next seven years.
The report, published by the industry-led Offshore Wind Cost Reduction Task Force, showed evidence that the offshore wind industry can make significant cost reduction in its delivery of 18 GW electricity from wind farms, which is around 20% of UK’s total electricity demand.
The report found the industry could drop delivery cost from £140/MWh today to £100/MWh by 2020, achieving substantial savings of £3 billion per year.
Energy Minister, Charles Hendry, welcomed the announcement by saying: “I am encouraged that this report shows that substantial cost savings can be achieved if action is taken and I welcome this valuable work. I look forward to working closely with industry to take this forward further and deliver these ambitious targets.”
Offshore Wind Cost Reduction Task Force made 28 specific recommendations for the renewable sector to diverse and secure more affordable energy for consumers. The report also encourages industry officials to work more closely with the government for optimising collaboration
Mr Hendry emphasised on the importance of offshore wind farms and their role in securing low carbon energy mix in the future, but he also said that energy costs must come down too.
Andrew Jamieson, Chair of the Offshore Wind Cost Reduction Task Force, said: “To ensure that the UK’s world-leading offshore wind sector expands rapidly over this decade and fulfils its massive potential within the UK’s energy mix, it is vital that costs are reduced. In doing this not only will we reduce risk and drive investment into the sector, we will further protect consumers from increasing energy costs, reduce the industry’s requirement for financial support and deliver jobs and energy security for decades to come.”
What is your reaction to the report which suggests the offshore wind industry will reduce cost by over 30 per cent in the next seven years? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment here or raising your voice on our Facebook page.
As part of the Green Deal, the Government has set out a new legislation which will help the energy industry enhance customer protection and improve energy efficiency in the UK, the Department of Energy and Climate Change revealed this week.
The rising cost of gas and electricity as well as millions of energy inefficient homes across the UK have urged the Government to bring the second phase of the Green Deal into operation, boosting the low carbon economy and supporting up to 60, 000 jobs in the insulation industry.
An additional investment of £1.3 billion a year to develop heating measures across the UK is expected to be announced by Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Edward Davey, later this week.
Commenting on the new legislation Mr Davey said: “I am determined to make sure that, in addition to creating huge opportunities for Green Deal providers and businesses along with thousands of new jobs, this new market in energy efficiency will deliver the very best deal for consumers.”
He explained that the new legislation will allow the energy industry to implement the Green Deal and improve energy efficiency, making sure that the most vulnerable homes are benefiting from the scheme.
The Energy and Climate Change Secretary said: “We have listened very carefully to what industry, consumer groups, and other organisations have told us. Broad support for a managed, tested and careful introduction of the Green Deal fits exactly with our objective to provide an excellent customer experience from day one and a market where a range of new players can readily participate.”
What is your reaction to the new legislation of the Green Dean that will improve energy efficiency and boost employment across the UK? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment here or raising your voice on our Facebook page.
More than 54, 000 homes were built in Mayor’s first term, exceeding Mayor Johnson’s pledge to provide 50, 000 affordable homes for Londoners over the four-year period of his term. In the past year 16,000 homes were built in London, which means Boris Johnson has exceeded his initial target by 4, 000 homes.
The government has given new powers to Mayor’s office in order to boost housing delivery in the capital. Mr Johnson has now pledged to build up to 100, 000 affordable homes with potential to create 100, 000 new jobs
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Four years ago I said that if we were going to improve Londoners’ lives it was going to be essential that we boost affordable housing supply in the capital. The hard work is by no means over but despite some of the most challenging economic conditions for decades we have delivered more than 54,000 affordable homes over the past four years.
“By 2015 we will have delivered over 100,000 affordable homes for London, which will give a vital boost for jobs and the wider economy, as well as providing decent places that people actually want to live in.”- added Mr Johnson.
Share your experiences about finding affordable homes in the London area? What is your reaction to the Mayor’s plan to deliver more affordable homes for Londoners? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment here or raising your voice on our Facebook page.
Prime Minister David Cameron and Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg agreed last week a major partnership between the UK and Norway that will boost energy activities between the two countries and bring investment of millions of pounds that will create thousands of new jobs, the Department of Energy and Climate Change revealed.
The partnership between Norway and the UK is designed to secure sustainable long-term energy supplies, improve a wide range of energy activities between the two countries and encourage economic growth.
Prime Minister Cameron, who attended a breakfast meeting with ten leading energy companies from Norway and the UK, highlighted the importance of this partnership for closer collaboration between the two countries that will improve energy security and help economic growth.
Mr Cameron said: “The jobs and investments announced today highlight how vital the strong relationship between Norway and the United Kingdom is for our energy security and economic growth. We look forward to strengthening our partnership further, driving investment into a diverse, sustainable energy mix that delivers affordable long term supplies for consumers.”
Charles Hendry, UK Minister of State for Energy, said: “For many decades Norway has been one of our most trusted and valuable partners, working with us to develop North Sea resources that underpin our energy security. Mr Hendry added: “The investments and jobs announced today by British and Norwegian companies are a clear signal of the benefits of this partnership.”
- “Norwegian global oil services firm Aker Solutions will create 1,300 new highly skilled jobs by 2015 at its engineering hub in Chiswick. This comes on top of 1,000 new jobs it has already created in the UK over the past two years.
- Statoil intends to invest a further £12 billion over the lifetime of the UK’s Mariner-Bressay North Sea oil fields in addition to the £6 billion they have already announced. This will lead to the creation of up to 300 new jobs in the UK in the next few years, including at a new operations base in Aberdeen, in addition to 700 UK jobs from this investment that have already been announced.
- A new Memorandum of Understanding has been agreed between Statoil and Centrica to continue cooperation on gas supply and exploration. This builds on the £13 billion, ten year gas supply deal agreed between the two companies last November and follows the recent completion of a £1billion asset deal between the two companies that will increase Centrica’s oil and gas reserves by 29 percent.
- The Forewind Consortium, which includes Norwegian companies Statoil and Statkraft, has confirmed its intention to develop the 9GW Dogger Bank offshore wind project off the East coast of Yorkshire, which could require up to £30 billion of investment. This project could provide more than 10% of the UK’s electricity needs. In addition to this project Statoil and Statkraft are investing around £1billion in developing the Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm off the coast of Norfolk, which is already generating power and will be completed later this year. It will provide power to more than 200,000 UK homes when fully operational. The project employs 500 workers in the field and provides significant secondary employment.
- Good progress is being made in two projects to build one of the world’s longest subsea electricity interconnectors between the UK and Norway, which will enable the UK and Norway to share renewable energy resources, with each project worth over £1 billion: NSN (National Grid and Statnett) and NorthConnect (SSE, Vattenfall, Agder Energei, E-CO and Lyse).
- A deal between Shell and Gassco to strengthen UK energy security by providing British customers with more gas from Norway. By making better use of spare capacity in the UK gas transport system, Norwegian gas owners and transporters, including Shell, will be able to transport more gas from Norwegian fields via the Tampen Link to the FLAGS pipeline into St Fergus.”
Diageo, the world’s leading premium drinks business, has unveiled plans to invest over £1billion in Scotch whisky production over the next five years to meet growing global demand for its brands.
A major new malt distillery will be built as part of the investment, alongside a programme of major expansion at a number of Diageo’s existing distilleries. Detailed plans will also be developed for a second new distillery which will be built if global demand for Scotch is sustained at expected levels.
The company also plans to invest in substantial new warehousing capacity to house the millions of additional litres of Scotch whisky which the distillation investment will produce.
Announcing the investment Diageo Chief Executive, Paul Walsh said: “This is a pivotal moment in the development of the Scotch whisky category for Diageo. Over recent years our brands have achieved remarkable, sustained global growth. Scotch whisky is Scotland’s most celebrated manufactured export, led by brands like Johnnie Walker, resonating with consumers from Boston to Beijing.
“We expect that success to continue, particularly in the high growth markets around the world, which is why we are announcing this major investment in Scotch whisky production, committing over £1billion in the next five years, to seize that opportunity for global growth. This builds on the foundations we have already laid down over recent years through sustained investment in both production assets and in maturing Scotch inventories.
“Scotch whisky is a significant manufacturing export industry in the United Kingdom, driving domestic investment and job creation through our success in exporting to high growth markets around the world. We look forward to working with both the UK and Scottish Governments to realise the full potential of our investment plan, and to continue growing global Scotch exports.”
Across Scotland the investment will create over a hundred new Diageo jobs, largely high value jobs in rural areas of Scotland. It is also expected the investment will create an average of 250 construction jobs for each year of the investment period and in wider Scottish economy there will be a knock on effect which will generate around 500i further jobs. Diageo also intends to make its contribution to efforts to tackle youth unemployment by taking on around one hundred apprentices and graduate trainees over the term of the investment, and the company will also encourage its suppliers and construction contractors to focus on youth job creation and apprenticeships.
The investment programme will be underpinned by Diageo’s commitment to reduce its environmental impact, with a programme of bio energy solutions planned to be implemented over the same timescale as the distillery expansion projects.
Mr Walsh added: “I’m particularly pleased our investment will generate significant numbers of new Diageo jobs, as well as boosting the local construction sector and stimulating job creation throughout the Scottish economy. We are determined to use this investment to make a contribution towards helping people into training and work through our apprentice and graduate placement scheme and by using the opportunity to encourage suppliers to take on apprentices to work on the investment projects.”
In the last five years Diageo has reported 50% growth in net sales of its Scotch brandsii with total net sales approaching £3billion this financial year. Scotch represented 23% of Diageo’s volume, 27% of net sales and a third of gross profit in the financial year 2011iii. In the first half of financial year 2012, Diageo’s Scotch category saw 8% volume growth and 14% net sales growthiv.
Over the five year period Diageo plans to invest over £500 million in the construction of the distillation and warehousing capacity. This increased production capacity also requires Diageo to commit £500million in working capital for the maturing spirit which will be laid down over the next five years. The exact total investment figures may vary over time depending on the progress of specific projects, but the overall commitment is expected to total over £1billion over the five years.
Supporting this investment, Diageo also plans to commit £5 million over five years towards community initiatives as part of its sustainability and responsibility programme in Scotland. Priority areas for the community investment programme will be: leadership in the environment; responsible drinking – improving the night economy and safety at local level; and socio-economic development, including youth employment and entrepreneurship. This will involve an integrated approach across Diageo’s production, commercial and brands heritage businesses, including The Gleneagles Hotel, host to the Ryder Cup 2014. Full details of this programme will be announced in due course.
Today many media outlets have chosen to cast doubts about the construction industry due to a report by Markit/CIPS. You can judge for yourself what the report actually says by clicking on the link below. However, to save you the trouble, here are some key quotes from the report:
“Construction firms indicated that commercial output remained the fastest growing broad area of activity in May. The slowest expansion was seen in residential”.
“Companies that saw an increase in new business inflows mostly commented on competitive pricing strategies at their units.”
“However, construction firms added to their payrolls numbers for the third month running, driven by ongoing growth in business activity during May.”
“Input buying continued to rise during the latest survey period but, in line with the trend for new work,”
Tim Moore, Senior Economist at Markit said:“On a more positive note, the fall in inflation is allowing construction companies to price more competitively to win new contracts, but could be a double-edged sword as suppliers continue to see their margins squeezed.”
It makes one wonder what it takes to generate a positive headline in 2012?
Tell us your views here or on FaceBook
Guest contributor Rick Dawson.
Train4TradeSkills News: The UK Geothermal Could Generate as Much Electricity as 9 Nuclear Power Stations
A new independent report published by Sinclair Knight Merz claims deep geothermal resources could produce 20% of UK’s electricity and the heat for millions of homes.
Although, deep geothermal power is new technology in the UK, the sector has been growing internationally. In Germany, the deep geothermal industry employs 6,000 people and has attracted €4 billion of investment.
The new report shows that the recourse is widely spread around the UK and has the potential to provide 9.5GW of renewable electricity which is an equivalent to nearly nine nuclear power stations, the Renewable Energy Association (REA) said.
It has been forecast that in the UK, former mining regions like Cornwall, Yorkshire and the North East of England, including Northern Ireland and Scotland, could support valuable commercial projects*.
Ryan Law, Chair of the REA Deep Geothermal Group, emphasised the importance of geothermal investment for the UK industry and outlined significant benefits and commercial rewards for the geothermal sector.
Mr Law said: “We don’t want to be left out of a global industry which is estimated to be worth £30 billion by 2020. We could be at the forefront of this industry given the strength of British engineering skills. If the UK wants to seize a share of this booming global market we must prove our competence at home. Clearly investment at home could also go a long way to meeting our future energy needs cleanly and safely.”
What is your reaction on the widely spread geothermal energy resources across the UK? What the government could do better to accelerate those projects? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment here or raising your voice on our Facebook page.
*The resource set out in the report has been summarised as:
Cornwall and the South West
HEAT: 13,000 MWth – 6.5 million homes annual heat demand
POWER: 4,000 MWe (equivalent to 3.3 nuclear power plants)
The North East
HEAT: 9,000 MWth – 4.5 million homes annual heat demand
POWER: 4,000 MWe (equivalent to 3.3 nuclear power plants)
The Lake District
HEAT: 8,000 MWth 4 million homes
POWER: 2,300 MWe (equivalent to 1.9 nuclear power plants)
HEAT: 33,000 MWth 16.5 million homes
HEAT: 14,000 MWth 7 million homes
East of England
HEAT: 12,000 MWth 6 million homes
HEAT: 6,700 MWth 3.35 million homes
HEAT: 1,000 MWth 500,000 homes
Councils across England will receive a multi-million cash boost to bring thousands of empty homes back into use, creating further employment for trade professionals and boosting the housing market.
Communities Minister Andrew Stunell announced yesterday a further £60 million investment to tackle clusters of empty homes in England. Additional £25 million will be allocated to voluntary and community groups across the country to tackle individual empty properties in their area.
Mr Stunell said: “The number of empty homes in this country is a national disgrace – for every two families that need a home there is one standing empty. Empty homes bring down a neighbourhood and attract vandals and fly-tipping, as well as being a waste of much needed housing.”
Although, the number of empty homes has fallen to the lowest level since 2004, the Liberal Democrat Minister believes that there is still a lot to be done to bring more empty houses back into use.
He said: “I’m delighted to announce this funding boost today that will allow councils and community groups to bring these houses back to life and offer families a chance of a stable and secure home.
“We need to do much more to tackle this problem. This Government is breathing life back into these neglected neighbourhoods.”
Previous announcements have seen £70 million allocated to bring empty homes back into use as part of the affordable housing programme. According to the Department for Communities and Local Government, this announcement brings a total investment of £215 million to renovate thousands of properties and bring them back into use.
Do you think the Government could do more to bring empty houses back into life? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment here or raising your voice on our Facebook page.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has urged the government to boost economic growth by giving a greater emphasis on infrastructure projects in the UK.
In a new report published today, the CBI has recommended to the Treasury to enhance the credit rating of government construction schemes and raise public funds that will secure private business investment, unlocking billions of pounds to the UK economy.
According to the CBI Director-General, John Cridland, infrastructure investment will offer the UK a sustainable growth development that businesses need.
Mr Cridland said: “As this report makes clear, if we want to see the billions of pounds needed to upgrade our ageing infrastructure and secure jobs and growth for the long-term, the Government must make smarter use of limited public finances. By underpinning and lifting the credit rating of certain infrastructure assets, it can make them less risky and more attractive to investors.
The CBI says that harnessing just a 1 per cent increase from the UK’s pension fund will give a ‘vital boost’ to the UK’s underfunded infrastructure networks and make them more attractive to investors.
Do you welcome the recent report by the CBI that urges the government to make significant improvements to infrastructure schemes in the UK? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below or adding your voice on our Facebook Page:
The Halite Energy Group is planning to develop an underground gas storage facility in Lancashire that will create thousands of new jobs in the construction engineering industry, a report by economic development and regeneration consultants says.
The Preesall Gas Storage Economic Impact Report shows that the £660 million investment at Preessall, Lancashire, could create over 3,000 jobs at its peak and support additional employment across the UK. Building the proposed gas storage facility, which will almost double UK’s storage capacity, is expected create 1200 jobs every year with total duration of construction work of 8 years.
Halite Energy Group is seeking permission by the Planning Inspectorate to build 19 caverns for the storage of natural gas as the final decision is expected to be made by the Secretary of State early next year.
Commenting on the report Dr John Roberts CBE, chairman of Halite said: “There is an urgent need to bring forward major infrastructure schemes such as the one we are proposing to stimulate growth and provide much needed jobs in the UK.”
Tony Attard OBE, Chairman of the Institute of Directors for the North West, said: “This project will improve our energy security, create jobs and provide a boost to businesses in Lancashire and the North West. Britain needs more gas storage, and it’s essential that projects such as these go ahead at full speed to reduce the likelihood of damaging gas price spikes. We simply can’t take risks with the security of our energy supplies.”
What is your opinion about the new gas storage facility in Lancashire that will create more jobs in the engineering industry? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below or adding your voice on our Facebook Page:
A recent government report has shown that the UK’s green economy grew with £5.4 billion in 2011, employing almost 1 million people in the low carbon industry.
The new report, released by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, shows record growth for UK’s green goods and services, generating £122 billion in 2011, an increase of 4.7 per cent against figures from 2009/10.
Employment levels across the Low Carbon, Environmental Goods and Services (LCEGS) increased with 2.8 per cent, indicating that 939, 627 people are currently employed in green industry sector. Rise in the number of people working in the low carbon industry is “the first really positive sign of employment growth in the sector since the recession in 2008” the report says.
The government expects the companies involved in the LCEGS sector to continue to expand, bringing more employment opportunities for the renewable and low-carbon industry.
What do you think of the UK’s green economic growth? Do you think that green industry sector will continue to expand as forecast by the Government? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below or adding your voice on our Facebook Page:
As reported in the Electronics Weekly Magazine, most of Europe’s electricity meters are expected to be replaced with new smart meters, introducing more precise measurement for electricity consumption and improved energy efficiency for households.
Electrical engineers and qualified electricians will benefit from the “technological switch” which is likely to boost employment across the electrical engineering sector. New technologies in the electrical industry will require a skilful workforce to meet the increasing demand for efficient energy systems.
Steve Drumm, Marketing Development Manager at Omron Electronic Components for Europe, believes introducing new technologies in the energy industry will deliver benefits for consumers and help businesses make huge savings.
Manufacturers across Europe and the rest of the world are working towards improving key characteristics of switching power elements that manage the supply and measurement of electricity to consumers.
Smart meters are reported to require control relays which manage the supply of electricity. That way they can make significant savings towards the energy consumption of commercial and residential premises.
What do you think of the new electricity meters that will consume little or no electricity? Do you welcome the transition from old towards new meters and the boost to employment in the energy sector? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below or adding your voice on our Facebook Page:
The London Borough of Enfield has launched a consultation on the Masterplan for Meridian Water that could see 5,000 new homes build and create 3,000 new jobs.
The new development, which has the potential to become one of the largest eco-developments in Britain, has been designed to create new opportunities for canal and riverside homes in North London.
The £1.3 billion development will pave the way for building construction work, creating new jobs for trade professionals in the building construction industry.
Enfield Council has launched a public consultation on the 82 hectares site in Edmonton, currently occupied by a former industrial building, Construction News Reported today.
The council is looking for public input about the project and the consultation will run until the beginning of August 2012, seeking the opinions of investors, stakeholders, residents and local businesses. The Council said it was planning to work closely with potential developers in order to share the future vision of the area.
The current proposals aim to set ambitious targets for sustainability, including plans for a comprehensive district heating network. Meridian Water will also deliver improvements to public transport including improved rail services on the line connecting the area to Liverpool Street and Stratford.
The Local Authority member for Business and Regeneration, Councillor Del Goddard said: “Meridian Water is the most significant contribution to the transformation of Edmonton and it will play a significant role in driving the expansion of north London for decades to come.”
Under the masterplan written by the London Development Agency (LDA) the projects will be a significant boost for the local economy and diverse sectors of employment.
The LDA Design’s director of urban design Colin James said: “This masterplan is the first step towards bringing forward Enfield council’s vision for creating new high quality, energy efficient housing and breathing new life into employment areas. ”
What is your view of the Meridian Water Masterplan that could build 5,000 new homes and create 3,000 new jobs? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment here or on our Facebook page:
“Green Investment should play a key role in the UK’s economic recovery” states a new report by the Environment Audit Committee published today.
The new report, “A Green Economy” reinforces calls by the Renewable Energy Association (REA) for the Government to put renewable energy at the heart of its economic recovery and employment strategy.
The Report on employment and skills in the UK renewable energy published last month showed that there were over 100,000 people employed in renewable sector across Britain, generating a turnover of £12.5 billion last year alone.
However, the REA is warning that there is a danger for Britain not to fulfil its full potential because of serious skills shortages and uncertainties in the policy framework.
The organisation which represents renewable energy producers in the UK, says that 400,000 people will be needed in the sector by 2020 to meet binding EU targets, suggesting that the renewable industry will need a skilful workforce to deal with continually increasing demand.
Chief Executive of the REA, Gaynor Hartnell, said that the government needs to understand the potential benefits of renewable energy investment.
Ms Hartnell said: “Several countries, from America to Japan to Germany, have realised that taking the long-term view and investing in renewables is a significant step on the route out of economic malaise. The UK renewables industry wants to work with the Coalition Government to realise the huge contribution our sector can make to jobs, growth and prosperity.”
Do you agree that renewable energy investment is a key factor that will pave the way for more jobs and an economic recovery? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below or adding your voice on our Facebook Page:
Apple has announced plans to power its main data centre in North Carolina entirely with renewable energy by the end of 2012, Reuters has reported.
The announcement comes after long-lasting environmental concerns by Greenpeace about Apple’s rapid expansion of high-consuming computer server farms in the US. Greenpeace activists drew significant attention last week on Apple’s use of coal at the data centre that powers its iCloud.
The maker of the iPhone and the iPad confirmed on Thursday that it was buying equipment from SunPower Corp and startup Bloom Energy to build two solar array installations near its core data centre in North Carolina. The sites will employ high-efficiency solar cells and an advanced solar tracking system.
“Apple’s announcement today is a great sign that Apple is taking seriously the hundreds of thousands of its customers who have asked for an iCloud powered by clean energy, not dirty coal.” said Greenpeace International Senior IT Analyst Gary Cook.
The solar farm is expected to supply 84 million kWh of energy annually and it will cover 250 acres of land around Apple’s main data centre.
“The plan we are releasing today includes two solar farms and together they will be twice as big as we previously announced, thanks to the purchase of some land very near to the data centre in Maiden, which will help us meet this goal.” Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer told Reuters.
Mr Oppenheimer outlined company’s ambition to continue its environmental approach along with its expansion in services and provide sustainable development for its products.
“Our next facility will be in Prineville, Oregon. This is still in the planning stages and we have already identified plenty of renewable sources nearby,” Oppenheimer said.
What is your reaction to the decision by Apple to power its main data centres with 100% renewable energy? Do you think that other high-tech companies will follow its environmental approach? Share your thought with us by leaving a comment below:
The UK’s renewable industry has welcomed the announcement by Energy Secretary Ed Davey not to go ahead with scheduled reduction in solar tariffs which would have badly hit the solar PV sector.
Solar does not only protect homeowners from rising energy bills, but it also delivers a great return on investment. The cost of solar power has been coming down faster than any other energy generation technology, the Renewable Energy Association confirmed.
Commenting on the decision to help the renewable industry, Energy Minister Greg Barker said the Government is “listening carefully to industry” and that this delay gives industry the opportunity to reignite the solar market and grow further.
“It is very encouraging for the future that Government is listening to industry concerns, but we need certainty as soon as possible on the details of when and what the next tariff adjustments will be.”- Chief Executive of the Solar Trade Association (STA), Paul Barwell, said.
Juliet Davenport, Founder and CEO of Good Energy which is the UK’s only 100% renewable electricity supplier commented that solar is a great opportunity for the generation of renewable energy and a powerful way of giving households greater control over their energy bills.
Ms Davenport said: “Already we’re seeing how solar makes a natural partner for more intermittent forms of renewable generation, like wind. That’s going to become more and more important in years to come, and it’s time to invest today for the energy market of tomorrow.”
What’s your reaction to the announcement by Energy Secretary Ed Davey not to go ahead with scheduled reduction in solar tariffs which will help the renewable industry? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below:
A new study has revealed that poor communication is wasting plumbers, heating engineers and other trade professionals more time than being stuck in traffic, HVP News reported today.
The research conducted by business software developer, Clik, has found that poorly managed communication between trade professional and customers is the most frequent reason for wasting valuable working time.
The research, which was conducted among heating engineers, plumbers and facilities managers, found that 76% of the respondents identified issues in communication as the biggest time waster at their work. This includes misunderstandings, arranging and re-arranging appointments, and sending or receiving unnecessary emails, HVP reports.
A significant number of respondents, 63% of those surveyed said that being stuck in traffic wasted time and being unable to find a site impacted 47% of the participants in the survey.
Managing Director of Clik, Geoff Adams, thinks business management software could help industry professionals save valuable time whilst bringing positive results to their workload.
Mr Adams said: “Managing a range of customers and multiple jobs is time-consuming in itself and it is interesting to see that poor communication has such an impact.
“Everyone has their own way so we’ve set out to make a practical difference by providing software that covers all aspects of engineers’ diaries, scheduling, invoicing, planning, call backs and service calls.”
Do you agree that poor communication is the “biggest time waster” for plumbers and trade professionals? If you are working in the trades, share with us what are most common obstacles that slow you down by leaving a comment below:
William Hague has told ministers that the government should do more to help green industries in order to boost economic growth in Britain, the Guardian Newspaper reported today.
The Guardian has seen a private letter to the Prime Minister in which the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, called upon his cabinet colleagues to place a “stronger political emphasis” and show global leadership on the low carbon economy that will deliver green growth and create new jobs.
The letter argues that government ministers should keep a greater focus on environmental issues, boost the renewable industry which will boost economic growth and deliver modern infrastructure.
Mr Hague said: “I believe we should reframe our response to climate change as an imperative for growth rather than merely being a way of being green or meeting environmental commitments.
“The low carbon economy is at the leading edge of a structural shift now taking place globally, we need to stay abreast of this, given our need for an export-led recovery and for inward investment in modern infrastructure and advanced manufacturing.” added the Foreign Secretary.
He said: “We will not secure a binding agreement in 2015 unless the idea of low carbon growth becomes dominant across the major economies before then,” but the foreign secretary adds that “We can leverage this. But our diplomacy will only succeed if it is rooted in our own domestic narrative.”
According to the Guardian, the letter does not specifically criticise the coalition’s green agenda, and actively praises policies such as the Green Investment Bank and imminent electricity market reforms.
What is your reaction to the letter by Foreign Secretary, William Hague to help green industries boost Britain’s economy? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below:
The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) has unveiled plans for the regeneration of the future Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park which will generate millions of pounds in the British economy and boost the building construction industry.
The new park will reopen exactly one year after London 2012 opening ceremony, becoming an exciting new visitor destination and community park unlike any other in the UK, the LLDC said.
The creation of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will be one of the biggest construction projects in Europe. The 18 month transformation programme will lay the foundation for further building and construction work in East London over the next 20 years.
The transformation programme will clear Games-time structures including temporary venues such as bridges, walkways and roads. It will also connect the Park to the surrounding area with new roads, and foot paths as well as complete permanent venues to be used by visitors and the public.
The Legacy Corporation said that it is working together with experienced team of construction and architecture specialists who will deliver the best quality Park whilst making sure plans are completed as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Chief Executive of the LLDC, Andrew Altman, commented that the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will become one of the most thriving parts of London and will help for the creation of thousands of new homes and jobs in East London.
Mr Altman said: “The transformation will take the Park from an Olympic site, to a new piece of London that’s owned and shaped by the community in and around it. Above all, the Park will create a place of practical benefit for the surrounding community – a place to take your children swimming at weekends, go to school, walk your dog or go to a festival in the summer.”
He said: “The fantastic new sporting venues are only one part of the unfolding legacy story. The Park will help drive the growth London needs to steer it out of recession and on to long term prosperity.”
What is your reaction to the post-Olympic work revealed by the London Legacy Development Corporation? Share with us how you might benefit from the project by leaving a comment below:
A new report published today by MPs has identified enough public land, such as empty offices, unused storage and empty public service buildings, to build more than 100,000 homes.
The report which was prepared by the Commons Communities Select Committee has found that 230,000 households are forming each year, but in 2011 only 110,000 new homes were built, showing that demand had outstripped supply of newly built houses.
Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, welcomed the findings of the committee and agreed that the government needs to take decisive action to support the building of more new homes over the next coming years.
The Conservative Minister commented that the government is the biggest public sector owner of public land and as such, it is fair to make the best use of its assets to help the building of more homes across Britain.
Mr Shapps said: “We’re already on track to smash the Prime Minister’s ambition to release previously-used public land for housing: enough land has already been identified to support more than 102,000 homes. But we’re not stopping there – I’m determined to continue looking for more sites suitable for housebuilding.”
To help developers make the most of the sites on offer, Mr Shapps will also look to extend the use of the innovative “Build Now, Pay Later” deal to as many previously-used sites as possible, allowing them to start work on thousands of new homes without the initial expense of buying the land, the Deportment for Communities and Local Government said today.
The report also states that ministers are committed to make information about surplus public land freely available and help local people see the opportunities which exist in their area.
What is your reaction to the government’s commitment to help the building of more homes across Britain? How would you or your business benefit from these proposals? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below:
Former Energy Secretary Chris Huhne wrote in the Guardian newspaper yesterday that Britain has to stimulate future economic growth by investing in the renewable energy sector.
Economic recovery from double dip recession will work only if the government pursue ‘green growth’ because energy saving is a win-win situation for both businesses and households, the Former Cabinet Minister stated.
Mr Huhne is confident that green growth is sustainable because it has the potential for creating new jobs, cutting energy bills and increasing spending incomes of households. He also encouraged more vigorous debate on the wider agenda for natural resources and energy efficiency.
Mr Huhne said “Much of our economic debate implies we must choose between going green or going for growth. That view may be the opposite of the truth. There is now hard evidence that the real choice is between green growth or no growth at all.”
Although the Former Liberal Democrat Minister didn’t criticise the government and declined to name those who are portraying green policies as a barrier to growth. Some senior Liberal Democrats in the coalition government have previously complained that Tory MPs have been obstructing green policies relating to energy efficiency.
What is your reaction to the article by former Energy Secretary Chris Huhne? Do you share his opinion that investing more in energy projects will boost the UK economy? Let us know by leaving a comment below:
Building work to develop two student accommodation schemes in London and Cambridge is to go ahead this year, providing a total of 770 bed spaces and boosting the building industry, Construction Enquirer reported today.
Student accommodation specialist Downing has confirmed it will build an 80,000 sq. ft. building which will feature 184 student apartments in Acton, West London. Building construction work is scheduled to start this month and it will continue till September 2013, when the £25 million 7-storey towers are completed.
The building firm confirmed it will build more student accommodation in Cambridge that will provide 586 student beds across three new buildings. Downing will also build a mixture of studio flats across the 182,279 sq. ft. development.
Downing Development Director, Paul Houghton, welcomed the new announcements and said that both buildings will be built sustainably which will improve energy efficiency.
Mr Houghton commented: “These acquisitions mark a significant milestone in our strategy to bring the Downing brand of superior, sustainable and energy-efficient buildings to the UK’s major student centres.
“The new funding environment and growing demand for higher quality living spaces with more amenities and better locations means that student accommodation is playing an increasingly important role in how universities attract fee-paying students.”
Do you welcome the new student accommodation scheme in Cambridge and London? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment below:
Proposals for a £50 million hotel scheme to be built in Southampton have been given the green light by planning officials in Southampton City Council. The new development, which will include a luxury hotel with a restaurant and a rooftop bar, is likely to boost the building construction sector and create new jobs in the city, Career Structure News has reported.
Development plans submitted by MDL Marinas include the building of 82 flats, a variety of shops and restaurants as well as office space to let. Tenders for building construction work are expected to be announced within weeks, as work is expected to begin this autumn.
Managing Director at MDL Marinas, Eamonn Feeney, said: “We are delighted with today’s decision which will enable us to deliver the final stage of the master plan for Ocean Village Marina, and most importantly create a vibrant waterfront destination for the city.”
Director of Economic Development at Southampton City Council, Dawn Baxendale, welcomed the decision for the major development and said that it will bring a lot of benefits to the city.
Ms Baxendale commented: “This is excellent news for Southampton and I congratulate MDL Marinas for getting their planning approved.
“The scheme demonstrates that serious investors believe Southampton represents their future and is a city that is becoming comparable with the best in Europe.”
Do you welcome the approval of Southampton City Council to give the green light for the £50 million hotel scheme? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below:
The building construction industry is to receive a £175 million investment as the University of Birmingham is going ahead with a £175 million expansion programme.
The expansion, which is funded by the university and alumni donations, will include the building of an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a new library, improving the university’s current sports facilities and student accommodation. The redevelopment plan was submitted to Birmingham City Council which is expected to give the green light for the five-year investment programme; likely to create new jobs in the building construction sector.
The Birmingham Mail reported today that plans for the sports centre will include Birmingham’s only 50- metre swimming pool, a sports hall that will host national sporting events and a gym where students can take part in a variety of sporting activities. The renovation will also include building dance studios and a high performance research centre as well as a new library with a cultural hub which will be open to the public.
It is hoped that the redevelopment scheme and the planned sports centre will cement the university’s reputation as one of the leading sporting universities in the UK.
Director of Estates, Ian Barker, told the Construction Enquirer that the project will benefit not only students and staff, but also local people who will be able to use the new facilities, helping the local economy and boosting economic growth.
Mr Baker said: “Although we are very proud of the current Edgbaston campus these are significant and exciting projects that will benefit students, staff and the local area. The University was founded to be an asset for the city and these plans have that aim in mind.
“For that reason, a number of developments, like the proposed new sports centre, swimming pool and the cultural hub, focus on facilities that will benefit the community as well as staff and students.
“We also hope that extending student accommodation and staff car parking on campus will relieve pressure on Selly Oak. Our plans also envisage a reduction in the University’s environmental impact and carbon footprint.”
What is your reaction to the redevelopment programme announced by the University of Birmingham? What could be the benefits to you or your business? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below:
Prior to hosting the International Conference on Clean Energy in London this week Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Edward Davey, said that innovation in developing green technology should be a key drive in tackling climate change as well as improving energy efficiency.
Mr Davey said: “Part of the way that we’re going to tackle climate change and get clean energy is through innovation, particularly with small and medium entrepreneurs.
“We’re allocating a fund of £35 million which will help innovators and entrepreneurs develop and demonstrate low carbon technologies.”
He commented: “The first wave is going to be in energy efficiency in buildings, things like advanced lighting, heat pumps, ventilation technologies and so on. This is a practical way that we can make sure we get to the low carbon economy.”
Small and medium businesses will be able to benefit from the financial support of £35 million over the next three years by demonstrating their ideas and improving energy efficiency in the UK. Firms can apply for up to £1 million funding from the government which is expected to help them secure additional investment from the private sector.
In addition to the announced funding opportunities for the renewable sector, a new dedicated low carbon funding navigator will go live tomorrow. The website will help users and a wide range of businesses to search for the latest funding opportunities in the low-carbon industry. It will help industry professionals to find the right partners and build collaborative ventures.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change expects that by creating the new service and placing valuable information at users’ fingertips it will help smaller businesses to reduce wasted time and missed opportunities.
What do you think about the £35 million energy fund that will provide innovative support for small and medium businesses? How could you or your business benefit from this investment? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below:
As reported by BBC News today, homebuilder Redrow has announced plans to raise £80 million of new shares to fund its expansion plans, which will create growth opportunities for the building construction sector.
Redrow has secured planning for more than 3,000 plots across the UK and acquired new sites totalling £50 million which are likely to create more employment opportunities for trade professionals. The housebuilder told the Financial Times that it intended to acquire more land ‘as and when opportunities arose’, as well as developing land bought cheaply during the recession.
Steve Morgan, Executive Chairman at Redrow, outlined the significant growth opportunities for the London area and other regions by saying that the firm will continue to follow its existing strategy for growth.
Mr Morgan, who is also the owner of Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club, said Redrow has made good progress in selling high-quality family homes and that the firm will continue to pave the way for more work in the future, increasing confidence in the housing market.
He said: “We now believe the time is right to accelerate that strategy by taking advantage of the development opportunities we see.”
What is your reaction to the announcement by housebuilder Redrow to raise significant investment and boost the housing market? How do you think trade professionals could benefit from this? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below:
The Renewable Energy Association (REA) published a report today showing that meeting the UK’s renewable energy targets by the end of 2020 could create 400,000 jobs in the renewable energy sector.
The report ‘Renewable Energy: Made in Britain’, looks at employment figures for the entire UK’s renewable sector. It has estimated that the renewable industry was worth £12.5 billion in 2010/11 and supported 110,000 jobs. The new report suggests that employment across the renewable sector would rise significantly, creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs by the end of this decade.
Launching the report, REA’s Chief Executive Gaynor Hartnell welcomed the findings of the report by saying that it is vital for the UK to keep on track with its commitments to meet the renewable energy targets by the end of 2020 as well as encourage economic growth and create more green jobs.
Ms Hartnell said: “Harnessing our renewables creates employment and means that rather than spending money on energy imports we can keep it circulating in the UK economy. Government needs to take steps to build the skills base and keep the UK on track to meet its renewables targets. When it comes to the employment, economic and energy challenges we face, the answer is clear – make it renewable and make it in Britain.”
Gregory Barker, Minister of State for Climate Change, said: “Renewable energy not only provides us with clean and secure energy that cuts our reliance on imported fossil fuels – it generates billions of pounds of investment and potentially hundreds and thousands of jobs and is a key growth sector for the UK economy.”
What is your reaction to the report by the REA which suggests plenty of employment opportunities for people in the renewable industry? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below:
In a drive to boost the housing market and accelerate the building of new properties in the capital, the Greater London Authority (GLA) is seeking developers to join a new £5 billion procurement panel which will open more work for external contractors and building developers, Construction News reported today.
From 2013 the new housing procurement panel will replace the current Homes and Communities’ Agency, the London Delivery Partner (LDP). It is going to be managed directly by the GLA, speeding up the process for building private and social houses as well as improving the development of properties in the public sector.
The new panel will recruit up to 28 building firms that employ thousands of workers in the building construction engineering sector. This could provide more employment opportunities for trade professionals.
A bidding process is currently open to any firms that are capable of delivering housing developments, raising sufficient finance and improving community facilities. Interested developers need to apply before 4th May 2012 and successful bidders will be awarded by 1st April 2013.
The scheme is expected to increase competition between contractors and improve current housing standards as well as optimise the process of marketing and selling new homes in the capital.
What’s your reaction to the £5 billion fund which will give the Greater London Authority more control over future housing developments in the capital? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below:
A new £50 million building scheme, close to already proposed Vauxhall Square Development worth £400 million in South West London, has attracted bids from major building contractors including Sir Robert McAlpine, Shepherd, Vinci and Watkins Jones, Construction Enquirer reported today.
Developer of the project, CLS Holdings, will build a new hotel and flats which will include 408-bed student accommodation, shopping units and a community centre.
Building construction work on the project is expected to begin this summer. The 180,000 sq. ft. mixed-use development scheme will encourage business investment in the area and boost the local economy, creating new jobs in the building construction industry.
Executive Chairman of CLS Holdings, Sten Mortstedt, said that the £50 million investment will offer great opportunities to meet the existing demand for student and hotel accommodation as well as improve the current infrastructure of the Vauxhall area.
Mr Mortstedt told Construction Enquirer: “These mixed-use proposals can provide substantial investment and regeneration into the Vauxhall area whilst meeting the significant demand for student accommodation and hotel rooms in central London.
“As a long-standing local Vauxhall based company, we are pleased to be able to work together with the Vauxhall Garden Community Centre to provide a brand new community centre facility within these plans.”
What is your reaction to the £50 million development programme in Vauxhall London? If you live locally, how could this investment help you/your business? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below:
Britain’s largest privately owned Housebuilding and Construction Company, Miller, has won building contracts worth £51 million at Bangor and Durham universities. Building and construction work at Bangor University will begin in May this year, continuing until 2014, whilst work in Durham will begin this month and is expected to be completed by September 2013.
Miller will build a £40 million art centre at Bangor University and carry out extension work at Durham University’s Business School. As part of the £40 million investment at Bangor University, the construction firm will also build a studio theatre, cinema, restaurant, bars, a new students’ union building as well as additional learning and teaching space.
Chris Webster, Chief Executive of Miller Construction, told Construction News: “We are building a strong portfolio of projects in Higher Education and the contracts at Bangor University and Durham University provide us with the opportunity to reinforce our expertise and skills in this market.”
Research by the building firm Wates revealed last week that 79% of UK universities are planning to expand or make significant improvements to their existing buildings. Two thirds of universities are willing to spend more than £5 million on construction work in the future; the Higher Education Sector will be a major source of work for trade professionals and building contractors.
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