Economic boost

Mace to kick-start £250m Greenwich regeneration scheme

Developer Hadley Mace has finalised a deal with the Mayor of London Boris Johnson and the Royal Borough of Greenwich to deliver a £250 million mixed-use scheme in east Greenwich that will create new jobs.

It is anticipated that the first phase of homes and community facilities will be completed by late 2014, with the entire development completed approximately three years later, paving the way for employment in the trades.

David Grover, director of Hadley Mace, said: “This leading scheme will demonstrate the benefits of public private consortium and its impact on a community that has been anticipating investment and re-development for more than 10 years.”

“The partnership between Hadley and Mace came about as a response to the Home and Communities Agency’s quest to find a new way of regenerating neighbourhoods with fresh, innovative thinking and creative investment.

“Acting as delivery partner for the client, and taking control of funding and risk aspects of the scheme, we are offering a full turn-key solution that can be replicated throughout the UK on all public land and any stalled public regeneration scheme.”

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “This landmark regeneration scheme is a key part of my commitment to provide much-needed housing and jobs for Londoners by bringing forward public land for development.

“The East Greenwich project will see nearly 30% of homes built with families in mind and the construction of some fantastic new amenities that will help to create a thriving and vibrant community.

“I am delighted the scheme is now storming ahead and is another step closer to delivering what I have no doubt will be an exciting new place for Londoners to live, work and visit.”

Highland Council to boost infrastructure and development projects

The Highland Council will highlight to the Scottish Government a series of infrastructure and development projects that would boost economic growth and create new trade jobs.

The list of key projects will be passed on to the Scottish Government for their consideration as part of the review of the National Planning Framework (NPF3) which is expected to unlock investment for national developments of strategic importance for Scotland.

The projects that will be put forward by Highland Council are all considered to be of national significance and have the potential to make a significant contribution to the country’s sustainable economic growth.

The projects being promoted by the Council to the Government include strategic road improvements to the A9. A82 and A96 trunk roads that connect Highland communities to the rest of Scotland, enhancements to Highland ports and harbours including Nigg and Kishorn, enhancements at all Highland airports, the provision of  superfast broadband and the upgrading of the existing electricity transmission network to realise the growth potential in renewable energy generation.

The Council is also taking the opportunity to raise other issues it feels that are of national importance such as the decommissioning of Dounreay, faster train journey times on the mainline, coastal development including the harnessing of wind, wave and tidal energy, waste management and natural heritage.

Vice Chairman of the Planning, Environment and Development Committee, Councillor George Farlow said: “All the projects we are putting forward could potentially bring huge benefits to Highland businesses and residents as well as bringing wider prospective socio-economic growth to the whole of Scotland.

“Our response will highlight the need to ensure we have the best infrastructure in place to make the most of every opportunity and will recognise the work we are doing to promote sustainable development and economic growth.

“Our plans are ambitious and they reflect the confidence we have in the Highlands as great place to live, work and do business in.”

Energy efficiency revolution to boost growth and jobs?

A transformation in the way energy is used across the UK economy could help boost growth and jobs, and investing in energy efficiency could save up to 22 power stations-worth of energy by 2020, according to the Government’s Energy Efficiency Strategy published today.

The new Strategy is aimed at changing the way energy is used in sectors such as housing, transport and manufacturing over the coming decades. It also includes immediate action to kick start a revolution in UK energy efficiency, including:

  • £39 million to fund five centres examining business and household energy demand. The five End Use Energy Demand Centres, funded by the Research Councils UK and project partners and led by leading universities, will look at what drives energy demand and how to change future behaviour.
  • An energy efficiency labelling trial with John Lewis. DECC and John Lewis will introduce a product-labelling trial next year that shows the lifetime running costs of household appliances. A similar trial in Norway showed this information led to consumers purchasing goods that are more energy efficient.
  • A drive on financing energy efficiency for business and the public sector. As well as a guide to help public sector organisations cut their energy use, the Government will fund a nationwide rollout of RE:FIT, the Mayor of London’s award winning programme to improve public sector energy efficiency. Government is also working with ENWORKS in the North West to understand how best to finance and upgrade to more energy efficient equipment in commercial and manufacturing businesses.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “We have put energy efficiency at the very heart of the Government’s energy policy. Using energy more wisely is absolutely vital in a world of increased pressure on resources and rising prices. Not only can energy efficiency help save money on bills and cut emissions, it can support green jobs, innovation and enterprise.

“This is Britain’s first comprehensive Energy Efficiency Strategy and sets out the action we are taking now, as well as what we will do in the future to ensure the UK continues to be a global leader in reducing energy use.”

The energy efficiency sector in the UK already accounts for around 136,000 jobs, and had sales of £17.6 billion in 2010/11. Sales in this sector have grown by over 4% per year in the UK since 2007/08, and are projected to grow by around 5% per year between 2010/11 and 2014/15.

The Energy Efficiency Strategy, which draws on a Call for Evidence published by DECC in February this year, sets out the Government’s mission to seize the energy efficiency opportunity, boosting growth in the economy, creating jobs, helping households and businesses save money and working towards our climate change goals. The UK could be saving 196TWh in 2020, equivalent to 22 power stations, through cost-effective investment in energy efficiency.

The strategy highlights energy efficiency potential, the benefits of achieving it and reflects on barriers to uptake. It includes new householder behaviour reports which examine the key factors influencing energy use in the UK’s homes and businesses. There are significant community benefits around energy efficiency and community based interventions have been shown to save households up to 10% of their energy.

UK commercial and industrial sectors have made good progress in improving their energy efficiency and in many cases lead the world.  But there is still huge potential and this strategy signals renewed efforts to help all businesses improve their efficiency and cut their costs.

Three Technology Innovation Needs Assessments (TINAs) have also been published as part of the strategy, looking into energy efficiency innovation required at a household, commercial and industrial scale.

In addition, DECC will continue publishing a series of consultations to guide the implementation of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive, which needs to be fully implemented by Spring 2014. The Directive is a significant step forward by the EU as it looks to meet its target to reduce primary energy consumption by 20 per cent by 2020 against its 2007 business as usual projections.

More Trades Jobs in Wales

The Welsh Government has granted a four-year technology contract for the maintenance of infrastructure schemes that will boost the trades and create new jobs.

Costain, a leading engineering solutions provider, has confirmed a £15 million technology contract as well as two lots of the Highways Agency Asset Support Framework that are expected to start in early 2013.

Work packages would include surfacing works, structures works, technology related works, and general highway improvements across the whole of the Highways Agency motorway and trunk road network.

While there is no commitment by the Agency to spend under the framework, over £750 million of work packages are expected to be awarded through the framework over the next three years.

Costain is one of five contractors on each framework that will operate for three years, with scope for an extension of up to a further 12 months.

Andrew Wyllie, Chief Executive of Costain, commented: “We are delighted with these additional appointments from existing customers, which demonstrate the ongoing success of the implementation of our ‘Choosing Costain’ strategy: providing a broader service offering to the major customers who are making significant investment in the UK’s national infrastructure needs.”

Vauxhall Student Scheme Reaches Out for New Jobs

Lambeth Borough Council has granted planning permission to Downing Developments to build a 32-storey student accommodation scheme in Vauxhall, South London, which will boost the building industry and create new jobs.

The development will see the building of 553 student accommodation units, a 25-metre swimming pool and leisure facilities which will be open to the public. The scheme will boost local businesses and benefit the construction sector as well as create new jobs in the trades.

The architect for the scheme is Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios. Downing is planning to start work on the site immediately as the scheme is set for completion by 2014.

Downing development director, Paul Houghton said: “The scheme represents a significant investment in the area, not only through the £4.5m swimming pool and leisure facility, but also through the in excess of £1.5m of contributions that will benefit the local area.

“The proposals will redevelop a brownfield site and provide a major boost to local businesses through the increased spend that the students will deliver.”

Downing submitted the planning application in November 2011 following consultation on draft plans with the local community.  Following a public exhibition held in September 2011, the size of the swimming pool was increased from 20m to 25m in response to residents’ feedback.

Multi-million ‘village green’ homes plan would create new trade jobs

A multi-million planning application to build 5,750 new homes and create thousands of new trade jobs has been submitted to Ashford Borough Council.

The major development programme will take place at the 415 hectare site at Chilmington Green, building thousands of new homes arranged in three distinctive neighbourhoods with a high street, a secondary school, four primary schools, a park and extensive areas of green space.

The planning application has been prepared for the developer consortium, Hodson Developments, Jarvis Homes, Pentland Homes and Ward Home, to deal with UK’s current housing shortage.

Project manager for the consortium, Ian Bull, said that as one of the largest developments in Ashford, the housing scheme will set benchmark for new communities and increase employment opportunities in the area.

Mr Bull said: “Those well-designed places offer communities a lifestyle of wellbeing through a range of employment opportunities, cultural facilities and services, a mix of housing tenures including affordable housing, well-connected and walkable neighbourhoods, and the chance for people to connect with nature through carefully landscaped streets, parks, private gardens and allotments.”

Richard Hutchings, project director at engineering consultancy WSP, who prepared all the engineering and environmental designs and documentation to support the application, said that that developing effective transport, utilities and drainage strategies to ensure efficient delivery of the major urban extension have been the biggest challenges of the project

Mr Hutchings said: “Perhaps most significant was the development of a sustainable transport strategy that resolved existing capacity problems on the A28 corridor by reducing reliance on private vehicle travel and promoting alternative options such as walking, cycling and public transport.”

Cameron says dive in for £30bn jobs boost on the Severn

Thousands of new trade jobs could be created as the Prime Minister, David Cameron, encouraged officials to reconsider plans to build a £30 billion barrage across the Severn estuary between England and Wales.

After a meeting with Peter Hain, who left his post as shadow Welsh Secretary in 2010 to back the project, David Cameron has asked ministers to take another look at the multi-million scheme which will create 20, 000 construction jobs and diversify the country’s energy supply.

It has been estimated that the 10-mile barrage from the Vale of Glamorgan to Somerset would provide 5% of the UK’s electricity demand, creating tens of thousands of additional jobs in activity around the barrage.

Hain told BBC Wales that it was a “more productive meeting than might have been expected”, revealing that “Number 10 are taking the barrage much more seriously than has been the case over the last few years”.

It is understood that much of the funding for the scheme would come from global private investors and taxpayers’ money will not be spent. According to Mr Hain, ‘several’ sovereign wealth funds have already come forward to finance the project, including investors from Kuwait and Qatar.

Mr Hain said: “Government support is an absolute pre-requisite for getting the whole project underway.

“Not a penny of taxpayers’ money would be needed for this £30bn investment, which would be transformative for Wales.

“It would create 20,000 jobs in construction and another 30,000 in activity around the barrage.”

University Regeneration Scheme to Create New Jobs in the Trades

The University of Bath has announced plans to spend £100 million on improving its campus over the next three years that will enhance student experience and create new jobs in the building trades.

The University’s major refurbishment programme announced today will provide 708 en-suite bedrooms in 75 flats across two buildings and deliver increased space for teaching and research improved facilities, creating employment opportunities for people in the building engineering sector.

A new multimillion Art Centre will be built by the autumn of 2014 including general teaching building facilities with a main 350-seat lecture theatre which is due to open in October 2013

Building plans have been submitted to Bath and North East Somerset Council which is expected to reach a decision and give the green light to the improvement scheme by October 2012.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof Dame Glynis Breakwell, said: “Despite continuing economic uncertainty and the changing tuition fee landscape, the University of Bath is facing the future with great confidence.

“Our aim is to further enhance the university’s ability to deliver an outstanding student experience; creating additional facilities for research, and an inspiring working environment, as well as providing cultural and economic benefits for the wider Bath region.”

The Trades Praise Clegg’s Commitment to Renewable Energy

The largest trade association in Britain, the Renewable Energy Association (REA), has welcomed Nick Clegg’s announcement to provide a £100 million fund for green investment that will boost the renewable energy industry and create new jobs.

Making the announcement today, Deputy Prime Minister Clegg said that the multimillion fund will enable the UK Green Investments team (UKGI) to see more domestic and foreign investments to the renewable industry.

Chief Executive of the REA, Gaynor Hartnell, praised the Deputy Prime Minister for his leadership and commitment to the renewable energy sector.

He said: “We need clear leadership from the top of Government on renewable energy, so the Deputy Prime Minister’s unequivocal commitment to renewable energy is very welcome and timely.

“He is quite right that a global energy revolution is underway and we look forward to working with him to ensure the UK fulfills its extraordinary potential.”

However, Mr Hartnell said that the Coalition Government needed a more stable policy framework to make sure the UK’s renewable industry continues to expand, paving the way for green jobs in the future.

Mr Hartnell said: “The Coalition Government needs to do much better on providing a clear and stable policy framework to make sure the UK isn’t left further behind.

“Recent decisions on support levels for renewable power technologies, which have failed to provide the expected certainty out to 2017, together with the uncertain status of the Electricity Market Reform package, do not provide the stable framework that industry needs.”

Green Investment is set to Create New Jobs in the Trades

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced a £100 million fund for green investment which will create new jobs in the renewable energy industry.

Speaking to an energy conference in London’s Lancaster House today, Mr Clegg defended the Government’s commitment to support the renewable energy sector, outlining lasting benefits to the UK low-carbon economy.

He announced multi-million contracts by UK Green Investments (UKGI) with fund managers Equitix and Sustainable Development Capital (SDCL) to provide initial capital to encourage foreign and domestic investment in non-domestic energy efficiency.

The Deputy Minister’s announcement was hailed with a £12 million expansion by a recycling firm Closed Loop in Dagenham, East London, that will create and safeguard 100 jobs.

The UK is the sixth largest market in low carbon goods and environmental services in the world. It contributes 3.9 per cent of the UK’s GDP and employs 173,000 people.

The Deputy Prime Minister said that the Coalition Government is ‘unreservedly committed’ to help Britain’s low carbon sector thrive, providing a clean and green economy.

He said: “There is a global energy revolution underway and the UK is not going to be left behind. We’re leading from the front.

“Together we find ourselves at the vanguard of one of the most dynamic, most innovative, most important industries of our time; an industry whose breakthroughs and endeavours will shape our societies for years to come; an industry that will help us build a more stable, more sustainable, more prosperous world.”