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November 17, 2021

Carter Jonas Comments on the Introduction of Biodiversity Net Gain

On Wednesday 9 November, the Environment Bill passed into law, creating a statutory requirement that new development achieves a minimum 10% biodiversity net gain (BNG). Kieron Gregson, Associate Partner and Mark Russell, Partner and Natural Capital Lead at national property consultancy Carter Jonas, comment on the change and its impact

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COP26: the good, the bad, and the colossal missed opportunity

Rod Davies and Nick Gander of green heating pioneers Energy Carbon give their take on COP26. Heating accounts for nearly half the world’s energy consumption, and a third of UK carbon emissions. There’s no route to a net zero future that doesn’t involve rapidly decarbonising the way we heat billions

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New Managing Director to Lead Glass Giant

New Managing Director to Lead Glass Giant

Pilkington United Kingdom Limited, part of the NSG Group, has appointed Neil Syder to managing director to lead the glass manufacturer as it adapts to an age of decarbonisation and targets new opportunities. Neil brings over 30 years’ experience within the company to the post. Most recently as head of

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New Community Created in Seaham by Top UK Housebuilder

New Community Created in Seaham by Top UK Housebuilder

A new housing community has been officially completed in Seaham by Bellway who has finished its latest development of 75 new properties at Byron Heights – after almost three years of construction work. All homes at the Seaham community are now occupied with the residents moving into a range of

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5 Power Questions to Ask Your Kitchen Designer

5 Power Questions to Ask Your Kitchen Designer

British designer and manufacturer of quality fitted furniture, Daval, shares its expertise by giving its five best power questions to ask your kitchen designer in order to empower you and your home. “As the kitchen living space is such a key part of today’s home and family lifestyle, it is

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BDC 319 : Aug 2024

November 17, 2021

Energy Assets wins government grant to digitise underground utility asset data

Energy Assets Networks and Pipelines (EAN & P) have won grant funding from the Government’s Geospatial Commission to digitise their underground power and gas assets. EAN & P are one of two organisations operating in Greater London to have received funding, which is being distributed and managed by the Greater London Authority (GLA). The funding will enable EAN & P to vectorize and digitally share the position of their electricity cables and gas pipes across London’s boroughs. This data will help speed up residential and commercial development, reduce the risk of accidental pipe and cable strikes, and minimise the disruption to communities and traffic caused by new or emergency infrastructure works. The geospatial survey and data capture project will create a highly accurate digital map of the companies’ underground utility assets across the capital and will feed into the National Underground Asset Register (NUAR) being built by the Geospatial Commission for the UK. “As an independent distribution network operator and an independent gas transporter, we work closely with contractors building out residential and commercial developments,” said Andrew Collin, EAP’s Network Manager. “One of the biggest challenges our customers face is identifying the precise location of existing infrastructure, so this new digitized and shared asset register will provide the detail they need to plan and install utility networks much more efficiently. This resource will also help minimise the disruption to communities caused by emergency repair work or the laying of additional infrastructure by pinpointing existing pipes and cables within a range of a few centimetres.” The grant funding, won in a competitive bid process, will support the vectorization of existing EAN & P assets by specialist partner Graitec and the provision of geospatial technology and training by MGISS. Once EAN & P have completed the vectorization work across the London boroughs, the businesses aim to extend the work to map their utility assets across the rest of Britain – and then adopt a ‘Vector First’ approach by capturing geospatial data as assets are built out. Nigel Clifford, Deputy Chair of the Geospatial Commission commented: “Unlocking value from geospatial data is the heart of the UK’s Geospatial Strategy. Our National Underground Asset Register will be a momentous step towards providing the UK with a shared national data asset of significant value. I am proud of the collaboration with industry that we have so far established as part of our preparatory work and look forward to it continuing.” EAN & P are responsible for the ownership and management of many thousands of final mile electricity and gas connections across the country. The companies, part of the Energy Assets Group, are among the fastest-growing local energy network owners in Britain, with a reputation for digital innovation in support of a growing customer base of accredited connections providers, housebuilders, commercial developers and EV charging network owners.  https://www.energyassetspipelines.co.uk

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Carter Jonas Comments on the Introduction of Biodiversity Net Gain

On Wednesday 9 November, the Environment Bill passed into law, creating a statutory requirement that new development achieves a minimum 10% biodiversity net gain (BNG). Kieron Gregson, Associate Partner and Mark Russell, Partner and Natural Capital Lead at national property consultancy Carter Jonas, comment on the change and its impact on planning and development. “The Environment Bill will enable the planning system to support, protect and enhance the natural environment in a more measured and consistent way, whether that be through onsite provision, the opportunity for developers to partner with farmers and landowners to provide off-site BNG (such as by creating woodland or a wildflower meadows from arable land) or via ‘conservation covenants’, says Gregson. “Essentially, this changes the status of natural capital, transitioning it from a concept into an asset which can be traded by government bodies, local authorities, landowners, and land managers. “Although there is to be a two-year transition period, we anticipate a knock on effect for land values in locations with high development pressure.  Landowners may see an increase in value in these locations because of its potential to attract BNG credits. “On the whole we see benefits to most parties involved in the planning and development process. Landowners (including local authorities, wildlife trusts, farmers and private  individuals) will have the opportunity to offer land as donor sites. However, green spaces will only maintain their value with investment of both time and money. Vision, management, governance and funding structures will all be important. Furthermore, additional costs or a reduction in net developable acreage will impact on development land values and possibly the viability of schemes. It will be important to ensure that greenfield schemes with low land values aren’t disproportionately affected. And it is hoped that the Government might consider developers having the option of purchasing BNG credits on Green Belt surrounding cities, which could create a popular natural amenity while also protecting the Green Belt.” Research from the Office for National Statistics in 2019 found that urban green spaces increase nearby property prices: houses and flats within 100 metres of public green spaces are on average £2,500 more expensive than if they were more than 500 metres away – an average premium of 1.1%. Similarly the Land Trust has undertaken research which highlights that the Trust’s management of green spaces around homes creates an uplift in house prices estimated to be in the region of £394 million. Furthermore at a time when, according to the RSPB, 94% of us feel a moral obligation to halt biodiversity loss, developers are increasingly aware of the reputational value of mitigating environmental damage. BNG provides developers with an opportunity to show that the natural environment can be enhanced because of new development – not despite it. And it provides the opportunity for this to be demonstrated literally on the doorsteps of new homes. “Another significant consideration is that local authorities will require specialist advice covering ecology, biodiversity calculation, valuation, legal delivery, verification, and site management,” says Russell. “Delivery options and ongoing management advice on the ground will also be required for the required 30 year period once the development has been completed. Furthermore, we are awaiting clarity on how trusted verification bodies will be established as they will be required to manage and monitor biodiversity schemes. “Whilst the direction of travel is clear, in the context of a rapidly changing market and with so much detail still to be established, fully understanding the impact of BNG is not easy to determine. Unsurprisingly we have already seen considerable demand for our services which assess development proposals against assets owned or planned, enabling developers, landowners and land managers to consider objectively the question of on-site or off-site at the outset.”

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COP26: the good, the bad, and the colossal missed opportunity

Rod Davies and Nick Gander of green heating pioneers Energy Carbon give their take on COP26. Heating accounts for nearly half the world’s energy consumption, and a third of UK carbon emissions. There’s no route to a net zero future that doesn’t involve rapidly decarbonising the way we heat billions of homes. And yet, at the most critical climate conference in history, it barely got a mention. Frankly, we weren’t expecting it to get much of a look-in at COP26 – we’re still at the stage when governments are agreeing the speed they’re going to cut carbon, rather thanhow they’re actually going to do it. But if we’ve got any chance of meeting the increasingly ambitious targets world leaders are setting, we need to very quickly shift to the practicalities of how we drastically cut carbon emissions. The good – sort of But while it’s always very tempting to write off conferences like COP as meaningless talking shops, progress was made. On construction and the built environment, that progress was virtually non-existent, which we’ll get into more later. But more generally, decisions were taken that will have a definite impact on cutting carbon emissions – if they’re followed through. Forty countries, including major energy consumers like Poland, Vietnam and Ukraine, promised to begin phasing out their use of coal. Another forty, including America, India, China and the EU, agreed to British proposals to accelerate investment in green tech across the power, transport and agricultural sectors. Meanwhile, the EU teamed up with billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates to launch a major initiative intended to accelerate green innovation across Europe. More than a hundred nations, representing 85% of the world’s rainforests, signed a pledge to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030. And a hundred countries promised to cut emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas that’s 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide, by 30% in the next nine years – something many scientists suggest could significantly slow rising temperatures in the short-to-medium term. The bad But the biggest outcome of the lot – the headline-grabbing Glasgow Climate Pact, that world leaders spent most of the two-week conference debating – left a lot of wiggle room for polluters to carry on as normal. In the closing hours of the summit, negotiators were trying to push through a more stringently-worded agreement, that would commit countries to “accelerate the phasing out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels”. In the end, they could only get sign off on a much softer statement of intent: countries would agree to “phase down unabated coal” and “inefficient” subsidies. There’s an argument to be made that even getting the word “coal” in at all was an achievement – this is the 26th COP summit, and, remarkably, the first to produce an agreement that mentioned fossil fuels by name at all. But to us, it’s quite clear – “phase out” means “stop using”, while “phase down” means “use less”, which is an extremely important distinction when you’re talking about the dirtiest fossil fuel of all. And surely, if countries thought their multibillion-dollar fossil fuel subsidies were “inefficient”, they wouldn’t spend the money on them in the first place! Given that the EU chose the second week of COP to authorise €13bn in new gas projects, Boris Johnson is poised to give the green light to a new coal mine in Cumbria and a new oil field in the North Sea, and that there were more COP delegates from the fossil fuel industry than any one country, perhaps we shouldn’t be all that surprised. The missed opportunity And any of us in construction who’d been eagerly awaiting radical, joined-up international action to decarbonise the built environment would’ve been left bitterly disappointed. COP organisers clearly know this is an enormously important issue – Day 12 of the conference was supposedly dedicated to it. But world leaders were silent on the issue. That day would’ve been a perfect opportunity to announce huge investments in new green heating technologies like far-infrared, to reject the use of gas boilers across the developed world, and to signal a global shift away from fossil fuel heating in favour of heat provided by green electricity. We saw none of that. Without governments around the world seriously engaging with the critical importance of green building, and green heating in particular, our chances of preventing climate crisis are slim. For more information, visit www.energycarbon.co.uk.

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New Managing Director to Lead Glass Giant

New Managing Director to Lead Glass Giant

Pilkington United Kingdom Limited, part of the NSG Group, has appointed Neil Syder to managing director to lead the glass manufacturer as it adapts to an age of decarbonisation and targets new opportunities. Neil brings over 30 years’ experience within the company to the post. Most recently as head of operations, Neil has brought a new standard of efficiency and customer focus to the St Helens manufacturing operations. He was the second Syder to hold the position of head of operations at the glass giant, moving temporarily to Sweden as a child as his father established the company’s Halmstad plant. Neil began at the company working in R&D in the 1980s, building extensive experience over four decades in specialist glass coatings, running production lines, and operational planning. Neil takes over from Matt Buckley, who takes retirement after serving as managing director for more than a decade and having spent 30 years with the business. The change takes effect from the end of December 2021. “It’s an exciting time to take this new post, with the glass industry set to play a transformative role in an age of decarbonisation. We’ve undertaken the world’s first trials in powering a glass furnace with hydrogen at our base in St Helens to help improve our carbon impact within supply chains, while simultaneously delivering the materials that will enable better energy performance in the built environment,” said Neil Syder, incoming managing director at Pilkington UK. “What’s more, Pilkington UK has a fantastic team with a wealth of expertise, operational efficiency, and range of advanced production capabilities to grow as an even more dynamic supplier. Agility will be crucial as we target more collaborative growth opportunities with our customers, while seeing off current headwinds facing the wider manufacturing sector.” Pilkington UK recently became the first glass manufacturer to trial the use of hydrogen in a glass furnace. In 2022 Pilkington UK will also mark the 70th anniversary of the float glass process – the method of manufacturing glass pioneered by Sir Alastair Pilkington in St Helens, Merseyside, and used to this day around the word. In 2006, Pilkington was acquired by leading glass supplier The NSG Group, which today has principle operations around the world and sales in more than 100 countries.

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New Community Created in Seaham by Top UK Housebuilder

New Community Created in Seaham by Top UK Housebuilder

A new housing community has been officially completed in Seaham by Bellway who has finished its latest development of 75 new properties at Byron Heights – after almost three years of construction work. All homes at the Seaham community are now occupied with the residents moving into a range of two, three and four-bedroom properties. “Byron Heights has been an extremely popular development with housebuyers. Despite multiple lockdowns forcing our sales office to close on several occasions since the first bricks were laid in 2019, sales have remained consistent throughout, and the final homes were sold a month in advance of completion. Situated just two miles from Seaham town centre and with good transport links to Sunderland, Newcastle and Durham, the new development is in a great location for both young professionals and growing families,” said Hayley Teasdale, Sales Manager for Bellway Durham. “As well as providing a wide range of homes for housebuyers, Byron Heights includes six affordable homes which were made available for rent or shared ownership, enabling local families unable to access the housing market to find a suitable home in a beautiful new community. “Although Byron Heights is now sold out, there is still an opportunity for people to purchase a new Bellway home at our nearby Wellfield Rise development in Wingate, which offers a quiet rural setting with easy access to Durham, Middlesbrough and the coast.” A selection of three and four-bedroom homes are currently available to buy at Wellfield Rise, with prices starting at £189,995.

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5 Power Questions to Ask Your Kitchen Designer

5 Power Questions to Ask Your Kitchen Designer

British designer and manufacturer of quality fitted furniture, Daval, shares its expertise by giving its five best power questions to ask your kitchen designer in order to empower you and your home. “As the kitchen living space is such a key part of today’s home and family lifestyle, it is crucial for consumers to have confidence in their design team and understand every aspect of the process. By facilitating open and transparent conversations between designers and clients, the KBB industry as a whole can provide exemplary service and help homeowners to find the right kitchen to suit their property as well as their daily routine,” said Managing Director, at Daval, Simon Bodsworth. 1: How sustainable is this kitchen? As the UK adjusts to life after Brexit and looks to support British manufacturing as well adopting more sustainable strategies when building, it is increasingly important to ask about sustainability when it comes to kitchen manufacture. Ask your designer about the provenance and longevity of materials and factory processes so you can build up a picture of how many ‘design miles’ your kitchen will need to travel and how eco-conscious the manufacturer is. It is also important to ask about various kitchen elements can be recycled when they reach the end of their lifespan so you can make an informed decision as a responsible homeowner. A reputable manufacturer will be keen to mention its awards and credentials for ethical product sourcing and processes so it pays to do your research online as well as in the showroom to be sure that you are buying from a brand which inspires your trust. 2: How hygienic is this kitchen? With health and hygiene is a new cornerstone of family kitchen design, especially as the ‘worried well’ are taking a keen interest in optimising wellness. This is increasingly important in an open plan kitchen which is ‘the nerve centre of the home’ and experiences more foot traffic. With this in mind, look out for anti-bacterial adding extra protection to kitchen surfaces. These coatings are more resistant to the growth of bacteria and help minimise the risk of cross-contamination when prepping food. Anti-bacterial coating brings another level of protection to kitchen surfaces, especially if members of your household suffer from allergies, have low immunity or there are pets in the house. Stainless steel drawers, presentation-style glass panels and anti-fingerprint surface treatments also serve as a barrier and will protect you and your family against harmful substances so your kitchen furniture remains durable and non-toxic to your health and home environment. 3: Can this furniture be tailored to my needs? Custom-made kitchens that enhance both work and social life continue to grow in popularity, and this is inspiring open-plan spaces that are family-friendly and encompass kitchen, dining and living areas in one. With this in mind, ask your designer about flexible features such as banquette seating, integral breakfast bars and extra power points which should be considered at an early stage of planning to ensure the ‘fundamentals’ are planned-in so that you can conveniently charge your laptop, smart phone or other electronic device in a dedicated area of the kitchen: great when working from home or enjoying some down time with friends and family. 4: Will this kitchen complement my house and lifestyle? The days of ‘off-the-peg’ kitchens are long gone as we all embrace our own personal style and individualism at home. If you are looking to create a particular look that you wish to carry through into the kitchen then flag it to your kitchen designer so that he or she can explore made-to-measure, made-to-order furniture which will fit your space perfectly. Always be honest about your practical needs too, especially if you are looking for a designated utility room or want to accommodate a pet bed. Do not edit yourself when it comes to talking about your favourite colours and textures in the kitchen as your designer needs to know what you like and how your prefer to use your space. Make sure that you can refer to a manufacturer’s website and social media for design inspiration so you can have a better idea of the how it will look in real life in different colours and finishes. 5: What are the storage possibilities? As the kitchen living dynamic has expanded to include home office and home entertainment elements, you need to be sure that everything from recycling bins to bar ware and paperwork can be stored safely when not in use. Careful thought needs to be applied to the layout of the kitchen as for instance, a larder will inevitably store food, groceries and other provisions and so it needs to always remain close to hand and be protected against adverse conditions like direct sunlight or extreme temperatures. In fact, you are best served positioning any larder storage next to the fridge as it will ensure the pantry goods are right next to the fresh foods for optimum convenience. It also pays to enquire about high volume food storage so that you have peace of mind knowing your essentials can always be housed. For example, small mezzanine racks provide additional storage space in cupboards with pull-out rack systems and combination shelving is a way to create one complete area, which caters to multiple needs.

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