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Government’s support for improving new homes and boosting energy efficiency

Improving new build homes to cut energy billsCommunities Minister Don Foster has committed to improving energy efficiency levels in new homes that will save up to £100 per year in bills and boost the trades.

A programme of work between the government, manufacturing and construction industry will look at where some new build homes are failing to match up to expectations, from building materials to construction practices, paving the way for new jobs across key sectors in the trades.

This work will include a programme of testing homes’ energy efficiency and a set of recommendations for making future improvement on the buildings that need additional work.

Speaking at the Eco-build green building conference today Don Foster said: “Home energy bills are one of the biggest costs that people and families face, especially during a really cold winter such as this one.

“I want to do everything to cut bills by making homes in this country the most energy efficient possible. From today government and industry will be working hand in hand to ensure new build homes live up to expectations, and drive energy bills down for householders.

“The alternative would be further regulation of industry but I do not want to add red tape and financial burdens that would just be passed on to already struggling homebuyers. Instead I want to work with industry to improve standards and performance in practice.”

New build homes in England are some of the best quality in the world, with existing high standards on energy efficiency. Today’s deal will be overseen by the Zero Carbon Hub, which brings together industry including the Home Builders Federation, Construction Products Association and the National House-Building Council.

The scheme will run from 2013 to 2020, with the first set of recommendations for improvement due next year. The government will be providing £380,000 with a further £1 million of cash and in-kind support from industry.

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Waitrose announced as first retailer deal at London’s King’s Cross

Waitrose announced as first retailer deal at London’s King’s Cross

Waitrose has confirmed the development of a 29,000 sq ft supermarket at King’s Cross London that will create up to 170 new jobs and boost the trades.

The £18 million scheme also includes the construction of new state-of-the-art cookery school making Waitrose the only UK supermarket to have such facility on site.

Applications approval and listed building consent are likely to be submitted in May this year. Construction is anticipated to start in late 2013 with the shop and cook school due to open at King’s Cross in spring 2015.

The supermarket and cookery school will see the restoration and refurbishment of the Midland Goods Shed and the East Handyside Canopy.

The goods shed was originally built in 1850 by the Great Northern Railway as the temporary Maiden Lane passenger railway station while the original King’s Cross station was under construction.

Waitrose Managing Director, Mark Price, said: “We’re delighted to be part of the continuing regeneration of King’s Cross and are looking forward to creating up to 170 new jobs and building on the success of our school in Finchley Road.

“We always believe that, as a food retailer, we have responsibility to help educate and inspire people not only when it comes to their weekly shop but also when it comes to creating and enjoying good food. It’s fantastic to give even more people the opportunity to develop their culinary skills.”

The new supermarket will be in close proximity to superb public transport connections, being five minutes from King’s Cross and St Pancras mainline stations, as well as being surrounded by new and existing homes, offices, schools, community facilities and public spaces at King’s Cross creating an excellent customer catchment on the doorstep.

Richard Meier, Partner at Argent said: “It is fantastic to have a quality brand like Waitrose sign up at King’s Cross. We are creating a truly mixed-use development and this supermarket will become an everyday attraction both for the residents, students, workers and visitors already on site, as well as the wider local community.”

David Cameron on India Trade Trip

David Cameron arrives in Mumbai this morning with a British trade delegation

Prime Minister David Cameron has arrived on a three-day British trade delegation in India set to win investment and create thousands of new jobs.

In what looks like the largest UK trade delegation to visit India, the Prime Minister is accompanied by more than 100 business representatives, including senior staff from Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems and BP, that are hoping to build long-term partnerships and double exports to the country by 2015.

In 2010, the UK attracted 97 new projects from India generating 6,096 jobs. It is estimated that 700 out of 1200 Indian firms in the European Union operate from the UK.

It is forecast that India will spend $1 trillion in the next five years on infrastructure and Britain is hoping its building construction firms to win some of those contracts. The Prime Minister’s trade delegation also includes 30 small and medium-sized firms.

Speaking at Unilever’s Mumbai HQ, Mr Cameron said: “India’s rise is going to be one of the great phenomena of this century and it is incredibly impressive to see.”

“Britain wants to be your partner of choice. We’ve only just started on the sort of partnership that we could build. As far as I’m concerned, the sky is the limit.”

Between 2001 and 2011, UK goods and services imports from India rose by 220 per cent while exports to India rose by 240 per cent.

Over the same period, India became a more important trading partner for the UK, with a significant rise in total UK exports and imports.

The Prime Minister has blogged on LinkedIn about why he sees British trade delegations as a vital part of his job. Read it from here.

What is your reaction to the trade delegation led by Prime Minister David Cameron to build long-term partnerships, create new jobs and boost the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raising your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Heathrow unveils £3bn investment plan

Heathrow unveils £3bn investment plan

Heathrow Airport has announced plans to invest a further £3 billion in improving its infrastructure which will boost the building industry and create new jobs.

The announcement forms part of the airport’s business plan which represents one of the largest private-sector investments in UK infrastructure.

The plans include the completion of Terminal 2 and the early works on extending the building. It will see the development of integrated baggage system and the construction of new taxiways.

Heathrow chief executive Colin Matthews said: “Heathrow is the UK’s only hub airport and a strategically important national infrastructure asset.”

“Heathrow faces stiff competition from other European hubs and we must continue to improve the service we offers passengers and airlines.”

“We have invested billions of pounds in new facilities such as Terminal 5 in recent years and passengers say they have noticed the difference.”

“Our plan for a further £3 billion of private-sector investment will further improve the airport for passengers. The plan represents good value for money for airlines and passengers and comes at no cost to taxpayers.”

Heathrow will open the new Terminal 2 in 2014.  The subsequent move of airlines into the new terminal allows the closure of Terminal 1 in 2016. By 2019 work will already have started on extending Terminal 2.

Since 2003, Heathrow has invested £11 billion in the airport. Investment includes the construction of Terminal 5, a new Terminal 2 due to open in 2014, new baggage tunnels, and the refurbishment of Terminals 3 & 4.

Green Deal energy contract gets signed

Carillion has signed a contract with the Birmingham Energy Savers (BES) scheme to deliver energy services as part of the Green Deal and create new jobs.

Carillion has committed to create and sustain at least 360 jobs and also encourage its business partners to invest locally in a range of new green energy projects.

Under the BES scheme, Carillion will work with Birmingham City Council as its exclusive delivery partner to improve the energy and carbon efficiency of up to 60,000 households across the city, together with schools and other non-domestic council properties.

The scheme will give households affordable ways of improving their properties by fitting energy efficiency measures, such as insulation and new boilers, under the Government’s Green Deal.

The eight-year contract is estimated to be initially worth up to £600 million, but has the potential to be extended to the wider West Midlands area under a framework agreement worth up to £1.5 billion over eight years.

Now that the contract has been finalised, Carillion is embarking on a recruitment programme to hire locally-based energy assessors, who will evaluate properties and provide advice on the energy efficiency improvements they require.

Commenting on the newly signed deal, Carillion’s Chief Executive Richard Howson, said:”Birmingham Energy Savers is a genuinely ground-breaking scheme and we are delighted to have agreed this contract with Birmingham City Council.

“We believe that in order to reach its full potential, the programme must fully engage with the community and this is why the next stage will focus on recruiting local people and businesses to deliver the scheme.”

Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart city at Birmingham City Council, added: “This programme represents a major milestone in Birmingham’s green ambitions, and demonstrates that the social justice and environmental agendas go hand-in-hand with each other.

“It will reduce energy bills for citizens by up to £300 per year – taking up to 40,000 people out of fuel poverty by 2015 – create jobs in the technology supply chain and ensure that there are less carbon emissions from the city.”

 

Independent suppliers’ summit to boost the trades

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey is to chair a summit for independent energy suppliers that could generate investment in the energy industry and create new jobs.

Mr Davey will host the meeting at the Department of Energy and Climate Change with representatives expected to attend from Co-operative Energy, Cornwall Energy Associates, Ecotricity, First Utility, Good Energy, Haven Power, Loco2 Energy, Opus Energy, Smartest Energy, Spark Energy, Utilita, and Ofgem.

Edward Davey said: “I want our energy market to be as competitive as possible. That is central to ensuring that our households and businesses can get the best deals for their gas and electricity,

“And that’s why I want to be sure that we make it as easy as possible for new players to break into the UK market, and that if there are any barriers to that, we do everything we can to remove them.

“As a long-time proponent of collective purchasing, I am delighted to see some of the smaller suppliers already winning customers through early collective switching initiatives, and that such schemes are helping them grow their customer base more rapidly.”

Areas of discussion are likely to focus on the obstacles facing independent suppliers to breaking into the UK energy market and growing their market share.

The Secretary of State also wants to take the opportunity to sound out independent suppliers on the Department’s proposals to reform the electricity market and proposals to legislate in the Energy Bill to ensure customers are on the cheapest tariffs.

On 23 November 2012 the Government announced, ahead of publication of the Energy Bill later this week, a landmark agreement on energy policy that will deliver a clear, durable signal to investors .

Sizewell nuclear project to create 5,600 new jobs

EDF Energy has today started a public consultation for building a nuclear power station in Suffolk that will create 5,600 jobs in the trades.

Over the next eleven weeks EDF Energy will be consulting on the company’s initial proposals to build the Sizewell C nuclear station next to an existing plant at Leiston

The project is expected to take nine years to complete. EDF said that the scheme could create 25,000 ’employment opportunities’, with 5,600 workers on site at the peak of construction.

EDF also wants to create two park and ride sites, intended for construction staff that will be employed to deliver the multi-million project.

Local people can have their say on areas such as the overall proposals for Sizewell C, a rail, sea and road transport strategy including park and ride sites, accommodation for workers, and the socio-economic effects of the power station construction.

Richard Mayson Director of Planning and External Affairs, Nuclear New Build, EDF Energy, said:  “We are looking forward to talking to people in the local communities in Suffolk and with other stakeholders about our proposals.

“Sizewell C would generate enough electricity to supply one in five homes in Britain. It would make an important contribution to the UK’s future needs for low-carbon, secure and affordable energy. It would also create significant business, training and employment opportunities locally, regionally and throughout the UK.

“I urge you to play an active role in this consultation process. We are committed to giving your feedback serious consideration and will take it into account as we prepare detailed plans for Sizewell C.”

What is your reaction on building a new nuclear power station in Suffolk that will create new jobs and generate enough electricity to supply 5 million homes? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raising your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages. 

Industry urges EU policy-makers to build low carbon future

A group of energy giants will today launch a new alliance aiming to stimulate the renewable industry as Europe seeks to advance its low carbon economy and create new trade jobs.

The so-called Energy Partnership will be launched today in Brussels by its founding partners Alpine Energie, Dong Energy, First Solar, GE, and Shell.

The companies said they are aiming to promote the use of gas alongside the growth of renewables by creating policies that effectively integrate the two technologies.

They maintain that both gas and renewables could play a critical role in the European Commission’s 2050 Energy Roadmap, and that the two technologies will be highly complementary until at least 2030.

They argue that gas can provide a low carbon and flexible energy supply that can help balance out the supply of intermittent renewables, such as wind and solar.

Launching the partnership, Stephan Reimelt, chief executive of GE Germany, will say that combining renewables and gas will be the key to building a low carbon economy.

“Companies from different parts of the energy market are launching this new alliance because the evidence is clear that renewables and gas offer the most affordable, reliable, and sustainable pathway for an energy secure Europe,” he will say.

Jörg Gmeinbauer, director of Alpine Energie, will say the alliance can herald a shift in the debate around EU energy policy.

“It’s time for a systems approach to Europe’s energy policy,” he says. “We need integrated policies, market reforms, and investment in generation, transmission, and infrastructure if we are to achieve Europe’s energy goals.

“We have formed the Energy Partnership because together the partners can offer practical pathways to the future based on the synergy between renewables and gas.”

£70m Black Country Housing Scheme Reaches Out for New Jobs

Plans to build hundreds of new homes in Sandwell are closer to breaking ground after three housing developers have been named to deliver the scheme.

Sandwell Council has selected Kier Partnership Homes, Barratt Homes and Compendium Living to build homes in West Bromwich, Smethwick and Wednesbury.

The scheme, partly funded by the Homes and Communities Agency, will see the building of 768 new homes by 2015. The developments will include family homes, bungalows for older people as well as properties for private sale and for social rent.

Businesses and jobseekers are set to benefit from the scheme which is expected to generate more than £70 million worth of construction work and create hundreds of new jobs with local employers.

The three developers have signed construction pledges to work with local suppliers and the council’s Think Local and ‘Find It In Sandwell’ initiatives which will boost employment and help people in the trades.

Councillor Simon Hackett, cabinet member for housing, said: “We’re pleased to announce partners who will help turn our vision for the future of housing in Sandwell into reality.

“We’ll be providing residents with an excellent range of affordable homes for local people to buy, part-own and rent and consult with local people about the new homes we plan to build.”

Assad Hamed, area manager for the Homes and Communities Agency, said: “We know through working closely with Sandwell Council that increasing the supply of affordable homes in the borough is a big priority and we are pleased our investment is supporting this.

“Getting all three schemes up and running will be a major boost for local communities in Sandwell as they will see lots of activity happening across the borough and will benefit from the impact of local jobs and economic growth.”

London Mayor Unveils £100m Housing Boost

London Mayor Boris Johnson has launched a £100 million fund to help a range of housing projects across the capital and boost the trades.

House builders will have the chance to put their bids forward to deliver major building work which could boost the London economy by £2 billion and create new jobs in the construction industry.

According to the Mayor, injecting such significant investment in the housing market could contribute £1 billion worth of construction projects across the city.

The Mayor has said that all ‘reusable investment’ from this funding boost will be reinvested for the building of more affordable homes over the next decade.

Motor Johnson said “To improve the housing choices of those who work to make this city the fantastic place that it is, I am opening up the market, cutting red-tape and injecting £100million  worth of investment to stimulate supply.

“The programme we are announcing will not just unlock the door to home ownership for thousands more Londoners, it will give a welcome shot in the arm for jobs in the capital’s construction industry and spur wider economic growth too.”

The first homes are expected to be available for sale in early 2013 with completions ranging up until March 2016.