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Autumn Statement

NI Construction Projects to Benefit from Chancellor’s £250m Boost

Construction projects in Northern Ireland are set to benefit from the recent £250 million infrastructure boost provided by Chancellor Philip Hammon in the Autumn Statement. The £250 million investment will be spread over the next four year and may be used to fund major projects such as the York Street

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Wind Farm in Cornwall to be Owned By Locals

Plans for a community-owned wind farm in Cornwall have been submitted by UK-based, green energy proponent, Good Energy. If approved, it will be one of few in the nation that doesn’t rely on either financial backing or government subsidies and could mark the dawning of a new era in renewables

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Latest Issue

BDC 318 : Jul 2024

Autumn Statement

NI Construction Projects to Benefit from Chancellor’s £250m Boost

Construction projects in Northern Ireland are set to benefit from the recent £250 million infrastructure boost provided by Chancellor Philip Hammon in the Autumn Statement. The £250 million investment will be spread over the next four year and may be used to fund major projects such as the York Street Interchange in Belfast city centre. Chancellor Hammond also froze fuel duty for a seventh successive year – a measure that is likely to save car driver around £130 each year. The national living wage has also been increased to £7.50 per house from April, which is a 30 pence rise. Meanwhile, businesses and universities in Northern Ireland will benefit from the decision to increase funding for innovation and research by £2 billion per year by 2020-21. Managing Director of the Construction Employers Federation (CEF), John Armstrong, said that the industry had been facing difficult times. He explained: “The additional £250m of capital expenditure, over the coming four years, announced by the Chancellor is therefore a welcome boost for the local construction industry. Finance Minister Mairtin O Muilleoir also said the extra funding was “welcome”, but that lower economic forecasts and continued austerity – such as benefit cuts – meant that there was still “turbulence” ahead. Mr O Muilleoir is to tell the Assembly what he will do with the extra funding next month. Ahead of the Autumn Statement, it had been billed as one that would help a section of the population known as the ‘just about managing’ (JAMs). However, overall it was a cautious exercise by the Chancellor, who emphasised that the resulting economic uncertainty from the Brexit vote meant that growth forecasts were being revised down. Growth is expected to be at 2.1% this year and 1.4% next year – with a trend of about 2% every year through to 2020.

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Wind Farm in Cornwall to be Owned By Locals

Plans for a community-owned wind farm in Cornwall have been submitted by UK-based, green energy proponent, Good Energy. If approved, it will be one of few in the nation that doesn’t rely on either financial backing or government subsidies and could mark the dawning of a new era in renewables technologies. The project will see the construction of 11 turbines with a generating capacity of 38.5MW near Bude in Cornwall. It is currently being considered by the Planning Inspectorate and will be reviewed in respect of is local impact, as well as global impact. Good Energy has remained open-minded about investment into the project, dubbed “Big Field Wind Farm”, and hopes the project will be be majority-held by local investors and residents. Juliet Davenport, Founder and CEO of Good Energy described plans as a “bold and innovative response” to last year’s Autumn Statement and Spending Review which has had disastrous consequence for the renewables sector. She continued to say that it would provide local people that opportunity to do their bit for the sustainability agenda, as well as representing great financial reward. With local ownership, all of the wind farm’s turnover will remain in the area and can be re-invested in the development of Cornwall. Back in 2014, plans were rejected by planners owing to the lack of clarity on government spending. Designs has since been re-drawn and will see the site increase its generating capacity by 50% whilst retaining the maximum height of the turbines at a proportionate small 125m. The revised plans also detail how the farm will be self-sufficient, operating exclusively on the payback from electricity generated. “Big Field Wind Farm” is hoped to provide power to over 22,000 homes local to the region. The concept of community ownership came in acknowledgement of the findings of a public opinion poll last September. The survey found that three quarters of all UK households were keen to support renewable energy projects providing profits directly benefited the local community.

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