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Local Authority round-up 03/12/21

Our Local Authority round up provides brief summaries of topical information on a weekly basis, to keep you aware of the changes and updates relevant to you.

Commercial

£18 million Green New Deal Fund launched

The North of Tyne Combined Authority, in partnership with Amber Infrastructure Group, has launched an £18 million Green New Deal Fund (GNDF) as part of the authority’s effort to achieve net zero. The funding will be available to fund small and medium sized projects that deliver significant carbon and energy savings in the region’s green and low carbon industries including projects such as community energy schemes, Electric Vehicle (‘EV’) charging solutions, building retrofits, small scale renewables, natural capital and low carbon heating systems. Funding can be provided by way of loans, equity and grants. Jamie Driscoll, North of Tyne Mayor, said “Our Green New Deal gives them access to the capital they need to reduce carbon emissions now. They will repay the fund over time allowing more investment to help other people. The North of Tyne Green New Deal Fund will create jobs, reduce emissions, and save money – it’s the kind of innovation that’s needed for local areas to become net-zero.”

For more information please click here.


Regulatory

Government announces new COVID-19 measures

Due to the discovery of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant, the government has announced new measures in a bid to prevent the spread of the variant. On 30 November 2021, the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings) (England) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/1340) came into force at 4.00 am. The Regulations require people to wear a face covering when in specified indoor settings, such as shops, shopping centres, banks, building societies, post offices and transport hubs (any part of premises used as a place from or to which a public transport service operates which is open to the public). Certain places are stated to be exempt including cafes, pubs and providers of medical or dental services (excluding pharmacies).  People are required to wear a face covering indoors when using a public transport service, including on buses, trains, private hire vehicles, taxis, the London Underground, trams, aircraft and water taxis. Exceptions apply for school transport and cruise ships. The regulations require persons responsible for places or public transport vehicles on which face coverings are required either to display a conspicuous notice or use other measures (such as announcements) to communicate the requirement. The regulations make it an offence, punishable by a fine, for an individual not to wear a face covering where required or for a person responsible for a relevant place or public transport vehicle not to comply with their obligations. Fixed penalties for failure to wear a mask start at £200 for the first offence, doubling for repeat offences, up to a maximum of £6,400. Fixed penalties for persons responsible for a relevant place or public transport vehicle start at £1,000 and increase for repeat offences up to a £10,000 maximum and these penalties can be issued by councils.

For more information please click here.

Welsh health protection regulations extended until 25 February 2022

On 23 November 2021, the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 5) (Wales) (Amendment) (No. 20) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/1304) (Regulations) were made. They come into force on 25 November 2021. The Regulations extend the validity of The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 5) (Wales) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/1609) which are the principal regulations that set out measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Wales. It also extends the validity of The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Functions of Local Authorities etc.) (Wales) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/1011) which grant powers to, and impose duties on, Welsh councils to administer COVID-19 protection measures. The Regulations change the expiry date for the Amended Regulations from 24 November 2021 to 25 February 2022.

For more information please click here.


International Trade

UK-Norway trading arrangements come into effect

Following the joint deal which was signed in July with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, the UK-Norway trading arrangements came into effect this week on 1 December. Under the deal, there are lower tariffs and exclusive duty-free quotas for UK exporters including fish feed exporters being able to export tariff-free to Norway and a tariff-free quota of cheese and significantly reduced tariffs for exporters to Norway of West Country Farmhouse Cheddar, Orkney Scottish Island Cheddar, Traditional Welsh Caerphilly, and Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese. The deal also cuts down on unnecessary paperwork and allows for electronic documents, contracts and signatures. British firms can also now transfer staff and their families for four years to Norway and there are more streamlined and straight-forward visa processes for business travellers. Secretary of State for International Trade, Anne-Marie Trevelyan said “This deal will support businesses in all sectors across the country, from the fishing trade in Scotland and Grimsby, to innovative FinTech companies in our biggest cities. The ambitious, forward-looking provisions in this deal show exactly what we can achieve as an independent, deal-making nation and will help level up opportunities throughout the United Kingdom.”

For more information please click here.


Planning and housing

£11 million allocated to develop brownfield sites

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has announced that the government has allocated a further £11 million to help councils develop brownfield land into good quality housing. The funding will come from the Brownfield Land Release Fund and will support 23 redevelopment schemes across 15 councils with the funding allocated so far releasing land for more than 6,800 homes and will create more than 21,000 jobs. Housing Minister Christopher Pincher said “Our brownfield-first approach is transforming underused sites into thriving communities where people want to live, work and visit. The investment we are announcing today will help people onto the property ladder, create jobs, deliver new infrastructure and provide a boost to local communities as we level up across the country.”

For more information please click here.

If you have any questions about the issues raised in this update, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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