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Local Authority round-up 26/08/22

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

11 councils to receive funding to trial social prescriptions

Eleven councils are set to receive £12.7 million between them to trial giving GPs the power to prescribe walking, wheeling and cycling to boost the physical and mental health of residents. Announced by the Government, the funding will go towards several ‘social prescription’ pilot projects in each of the 11 locations. These will include adult cycle training, free bike loans, and walking groups. The pilots aim to evaluate the impact of cycling and walking on an individual’s health, such as reduced GP appointments and reliance on medication due to more physical activity. Minister for health Maria Caulfield said “Getting active is hugely beneficial for both our mental and physical health – helping reduce stress and ward off other illness such as heart disease and obesity. The UK is leading the way in embedding social prescribing in our NHS and communities across the country. We’ve already exceeded our target to ensure over 900,000 people are referred to social prescribing schemes by 2023-24 and this pilot will help us identify further schemes to reduce disparities and boost mental and physical wellbeing across the country.”

For more information please click here.

Nine councils set to benefit from £20 million EV charge point pilot

A multi-million-pound electric vehicle (EV) charge point pilot looks set to deliver an estimated 1,000 new chargers across the country. The £20 million Local EV Infrastructure (LEVI) pilot scheme is aimed at helping councils and industry work together to create new, commercial EV charging infrastructure for residents. The winners of the pilot fund are Barnet, Dorset, Durham, Kent, Midlands Connect (with Lincolnshire as a lead authority), North Yorkshire, Suffolk, Warrington, and Nottinghamshire. The pilot is backed by £10 million of Government funding shared among the nine winning local councils, with winning pilot bids supported by an additional £9 million in private funding. A further £1.9 million will come from public funds across councils. Decarbonisation minister Trudy Harrison said “We want to expand and grow our world-leading network of EV chargepoints, working closely with industry and local government, making it even easier for those without driveways to charge their electric vehicles and support the switch to cleaner travel. This scheme will help to level up electric vehicle infrastructure across the country, so that everyone can benefit from healthier neighbourhoods and cleaner air.”

For more information please click here.


Regulatory

New framework for improving air quality announced

The Government has announced a new series of measures, including strengthened guidance, to help councils improve air quality. Using powers in the Environment Act, National Highways is to become the first designated ‘Relevant Public Authority’ placing a legal requirement on it to work together with local councils to deliver air quality objectives. Defra has also updated Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) Policy Guidance to reflect legislative changes introduced through the Environment Act 2021 and clarify roles and responsibilities within local government. The amended guidance includes a new requirement for local Air Quality Action Plans to include a timeline of clear actions, and the requirement for an Air Quality Management Area to be declared within 12 months of identifying excessive pollution. It also includes the requirement for councils to produce an Air Quality Action Plan within 18 months of declaring an Air Quality Management Area. There is also a new reminder and warning alert system to increase local council compliance with reporting on actions they are taking to improve air quality. Environment minister Steve Double said “These changes – delivered by our Environment Act – provide a strengthened framework for local councils to meet their air quality objectives, and will ensure that communities are protected sooner with real improvements to the air we breathe.”

For more information please click here.


International Trade

New negotiations for digital trade agreement with Ukraine

On 24 August 2022, the UK and Ukraine announced that they would be launching negotiations for a new digital trade agreement, following a direct request for such negotiations from the Ukrainian government. The aims of the new agreement would be to help Ukraine rebuild its economy and protect livelihoods in the context of the ongoing conflict with Russia, and to enable Ukrainian and UK businesses to trade with each other more efficiently using electronic transactions, e-signatures and e-contracts. The new negotiations follow a recent decision to eliminate all tariffs on all Ukrainian imports to the UK. Vadym Prystaiko, Ambassador of Ukraine to the United Kingdom said “The United Kingdom has shown unwavering support throughout this illegal invasion and the ties between our governments have never been closer. While we fight fearlessly for the freedom of our nation, many Ukrainians also look ahead to how we will rebuild our country. Strengthening our economic ties through this landmark digital trade agreement will support our IT industry, which is set to become a major driver of economic growth for our businesses and cities.”

For more information please click here.


 

Upcoming webinars

The Building Safety Act 2022: What do you need to know?

With the introduction of the Fire Safety Act last year and the more recent Building Safety Act 2022, it might feel like the rules and regulations for social housing providers are in a constant state of flux. As such the social housing team at Ward Hadaway would like to invite you to attend a free webinar on 28th September at 12pm, discussing the ins and outs of the Building Safety Act 2022. At this webinar Construction specialist, Neil Williamson, will give an overview of the Act, helping you to understand what it means for registered providers and local authorities. Neil will also offer his keen insight into how these changes will impact new developments and the contractual arrangements that providers will now need to implement. Fire safety and general building safety is always of utmost precedence, and this discussion promises to contain the useful and practical advice, to guide you, our colleagues in the social housing sector, through the recent changes in regulation.

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

Holiday pay update for schools

The Supreme Court recently handed down a judgment on holiday pay which will have significant implications throughout the education sector. Join us on 15th September at 10am where Graham Vials and Tom Shears will look into this judgment in more detail, including what it may mean for schools in terms of historic financial liability and the steps which schools should be considering moving forward in response to this judgment.

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

Mental wellbeing and suicide prevention

The most recent figures confirm there were 6292 deaths by suicide in the UK in 2020. Each one of these incidents will have had a devastating effect on the individual’s family, friends and colleagues, making the extent of those affected by these tragedies significantly more wide-ranging. World Suicide Prevention Day (10th September) aims to raise awareness of how we can create an environment where fewer people die by suicide. Please join us on Thursday 8th September, when we will be joined by Claire Russell, Founder and CEO of Mental Health in Business, and Suicide Prevention Educator and Advocate.

For more information and 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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