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Local Authority round-up 10/11/23

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.


Government invests £36 million to keep homes warm by waste heat

The Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation in Hammersmith, Fulham, Brent and Ealing will be the first to recycle waste heat, from computer systems, to supply heating for the local community.

This project, backed by £36 million in Government support, is set to connect 10,000 homes and 250,000m2 of commercial space to a low-carbon energy source, with the aim of lowering bills and contributing to the UK’s goal of reaching net zero by 2050.

It is one of five innovative green heating projects allocated grants from the Green Heat Network Fund. These heating projects are expected to increase the availability of skilled jobs, helping to deliver the Government’s aim of growing the economy.

Like Old Oak, Lancaster University has also, through Green Heat Network Fund, received over £21 million to fully decarbonise its campus with a new low-carbon heat network. The heat network is designed to rely on a single heat pump, powered by a new solar farm and existing wind turbines.

These innovative projects hope to encourage local communities to live more sustainably, while simultaneously boosting the economy.

For more information please click here.

Planning and housing

Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023 receives Royal Assent

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023 received Royal Assent on the 26th October.

The Government describes the Act as a way to “speed up the planning system, hold developers to account, cut bureaucracy, and encourage more councils to put in place plans to enable the building of new homes.”

The Act seeks to deliver practical changes within the planning system including (among others):

  • the digitisation of planning
  • the introduction of a new infrastructure levy
  • the ability for local planning authorities to refuse planning applications where a developer has a history of delayed build out
  • the strengthening of enforcement provisions

The Government has said that measures in the Levelling-up & Regeneration Act will:

  • Place local people at the centre of development
  • Boost local services by requiring developers to deliver vital infrastructure.
  • Rebalance the housing and land markets by affording local councils the power to increase council tax on empty homes
  • Encourage developers to ensure an efficient, and effective, build
  • Rejuvenate local high-streets by allowing councils the powers to work directly with landlords to bring empty buildings back in to use through high street rental auctions.

For more information please click here.

Councils demand urgent Government support in wake of accommodation crisis

158 local authorities attended an emergency summit, in relation to the temporary accommodation crisis, and were invited to sign an open letter to the Government calling for “urgent” help.

The summit, hosted by Eastbourne Borough Council and the District Councils’ Network, was convened to address the social and financial crisis created by the increased demand for temporary accommodation. The Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council noted that the cost of temporary accommodation to local authorities reached £1.7bn last year and was “increasing rapidly”.

The letter included (among others) requests to:

  • Raise the Local Housing Allowance rates to a level that will cover at least 30% of local market rent
  • Provide £100m additional funding for Discretionary Housing Payments in 2023-24 and an additional £200m in 2024-25.
  • Provide a £150m top-up to the Homelessness Prevention Grant for 2024-25.
  • Provide councils with long-term funding, flexibility and certainty needed to increase the supply of social housing.

For more information please click here.

Upcoming webinars

Webinar series: Data Protection

Register your interest for our on-going webinar series on ‘Data Protection’ for in-house lawyers, DPOs and senior management in private and public sector organisations. The series will run throughout 2023, providing attendees with up to date information on key Data Protection topics. The short one hour sessions will be delivered by our experts with allocated time for you to ask any questions you may have. The next in our series ‘Data transfers – crossing borders’ will take place on 14 November 2023.

For more information or to book your place, please click here.

Immigration Update: Managing Compliance and Tricky Immigration Law Issues in the Workplace

Our Employment department will be delivering a legal update, via Zoom, on the 14th November 2023 at 10am .This webinar will address the key issues regarding immigration law and will provide practical tips for managing compliance, within the workplace, in practice. The short one hour sessions will be delivered by our experts with allocated time for you to ask any questions you may have.

For more information or to book your place, 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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