GUEST ARTICLE: Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill doesn’t go far enough, say housebuilders

  • 22 Nov 2023

HousebuildersThe Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill recently became law. However, 61% of housebuilders believe the 534-page bill, which will underpin the government’s levelling up agenda, needs to go further to enable them to reach housing targets. This guest article features the thoughts of Dan Love, Head of Commercial at Polypipe Building Products…

The research, from Polypipe Building Products, finds two thirds (66%) of housebuilders had supported the government’s initial plan to scrap nutrient neutrality laws and 75% said that the amendment would have been a ‘major win’ for the industry. So, when this was dropped, many were left disillusioned and concerned about the housing crisis, a reduction in economic activity, and how the removal of the amendment could impact jobs and businesses.

According to the House Builders Federation (HBF), the scrapping of nutrient neutrality laws would have unlocked 150,000 homes, helping housebuilders to meet ambitious governmental housing targets. The bill could have, therefore, provided some relief to a sector that continues to face a multitude of immense challenges.

However, nutrient neutrality only makes up a fraction of the blockers that housebuilders are currently navigating to achieve housing delivery targets. According to the recent research on 100 housebuilders, aside from a downturn in the housing market, 63% of housebuilders say that the government’s overall approach to planning is an issue and 62% said that the lack of resources in Local Planning Authorities is a major barrier.

Furthermore, 65% said they didn’t believe Gove’s claim that the reform would unlock the prompt construction of 100,000 new homes, arguing that the legislation must go further.

‘A nuanced debate’

Commenting on the findings, Dan Love, says: “The scrapping of nutrient neutrality has been a nuanced debate. Of course, both environmental standards and the ability to meet housing targets are key issues for the housing sector and we know that housebuilders and developers are passionate about both these issues, too.

“While the intent of nutrient neutrality rules are appreciated by developers, there is an overwhelming feeling that stopping new homes being built disproportionately impacts housing developers and those seeking housing needs, rather than root causes of negative impacts on nutrient neutrality.

“With so much uncertainty ahead and with numerous updates to environmental, planning and building regulations ongoing, it’s more crucial than ever that housebuilders, contractors, and specifiers have access to adequate resources and information to support them through the changes.”

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