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London Forum Updates

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Open event on the problems of many advertising panels

Posted on: 3 May 2017 at 20:31:00
How much advertising do you need/want on your high street and local main roads?
London Forum is holding an event at 6.30pm on Wednesday 10 May at The Gallery, 75 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EL (nearest underground: Farringdon).  Details are here.

CLG Committee makes recommendations for house building

Posted on: 29 April 2017 at 12:18:09
The Government should support small and medium builders and ensure local authorities have the tools they need to make an effective contribution to solving the housing crisis, the Committee adds.
The committee of MPs investigated the reasons for too few new homes being built.  They say the Government should help to End dominance of big homebuilding firms to fix broken market
The report notes that the eight largest firms build more than half of all new homes and calls for a more competitive market, with a large number of companies of different sizes. The Committee recommends improving access to land and finance for smaller builders and says Government should reduce the risk for builders by preparing sites for development by providing infrastructure and planning permissions.

Gov't response to Lords EU Energy and Environment Comm

Posted on: 27 April 2017 at 13:32:50
The House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee produced a report, ‘Brexit: Environment and Climate Change’ which can be seen here.
The Government's response has been published.

Tax Payers Alliance details of 'town hall' salaries

Posted on: 26 April 2017 at 20:11:16
According to their published report, the local authority in London with the most employees who received remuneration in excess of £100,000 in 2015-16 was Southwark with 44 (an increase of 26 in one year). Wandsworth and Haringey had 31 each; Islington, Brent, Westminster, Camden, City of London, Hillingdon and Tower Hamlets had around 20.  There were 450 borough staff members in London earning over £100,000. The biggest remuneration package of £387,000 was received by Kingston upon Thames’ Chief Executive, Bruce McDonald. In Lambeth Craig Tunstall earned £374,147 for running Kingswood and Elmwood primary schools and children's services.
The number of people earning over £150,000 in boroughs last year were Barking & Dagenham two; Barnet six; Bexley three; Brent eight; Bromley six; Camden five; City of London one; Croydon six; Ealing four; Greenwich six; Haringey nine; Harrow six; Havering two; Hillingdon nine; Hounslow five; RBK&C one; Lambeth seven; Lewisham four; Newham seven; Richmond three; Southwark three; Tower Hamlets three; Wandsworth nineteen; Westminster eight.
Some of them may run several departments, manage a lot of staff or have a large budget.

Newsforum Spring 2017

Posted on: 29 March 2017 at 13:01:36
The edition of Newsforum number 75 for Spring 2017 has been published by London Forum and is available on its web site here.

Stronger charities for a stronger society

Posted on: 26 March 2017 at 11:47:01
The House of Lords Select Committee on Charities has published its report on this subject.  Some of it is more applicable to voluntary groups providing services than to civic and amenity societies but its content should be read and considered by all community groups.
It is important that London Forum's members review their objectives, corporate governance, constitution, SWOT analysis, activities, public benefits of their work and succession planning.  Those needs were reviewed and discussed in an open meeting for members in 2016.
More information and guidance is on the Charity Commission's web site.

Chancellor agrees some devolution for London

Posted on: 8 March 2017 at 15:34:40
Planning reports that in his Budget statement to Parliament, chancellor Philip Hammond told MPs that he had "reached a deal with the mayor of London on further devolution".
The Budget document said that a memorandum of understanding with the Greater London Authority (GLA) and umbrella body London Councils "includes joint working to explore the benefits of, and scope for, locally-delivered criminal justice services; action to tackle congestion; and a taskforce to explore piloting a new approach to funding infrastructure".
The memorandum of understanding, published alongside the Budget document, said that the government has agreed to establish a joint taskforce bringing together the GLA, mayoral agency Transport for London, London Councils, the Department for Transport and the Department for Communities and Local Government "to explore the options for piloting a Development Rights Auction Model (DRAM) on a major infrastructure project in London".
The memorandum adds: "Should a pilot of DRAM be agreed, it will be jointly evaluated by London and the government to review its effectiveness and determine whether a similar model could be applied to other infrastructure projects."
According to a TfL report, dated February 2017, the DRAM mechanism would involve the introduction of a "periodic development rights auction, in which development rights over land put forward (voluntarily) by landowners are auctioned in assembled packages to a competitive field of developers".
The report adds: "Gains above a reserve price are shared between the participating landowners and the planning/auctioning authority. No development taxes (such as CILs or s106 payments) are payable under this scheme."
A statement from the mayor’s office said that the new funding model would "provide significant funding towards future projects – allowing them to be built quicker and with less reliance on Government funding".
More than five years ago, the previous coalition government proposed piloting a system of land auctions on public sector land, but the idea never got off the ground

Historic England's update on planning changes

Posted on: 25 February 2017 at 17:26:45
A very useful Planning Bulletin has been issued by Historic England which summarises various pieces of Government policy and gives links to proposals and consultations. It can be seen here.

MPs warn about 3rd Heathrow runway pollution and noise

Posted on: 23 February 2017 at 18:50:33
The environmental audit committee of the Commons has warned Ministers that building a third runway at Heathrow could result in worse toxic air levels, challenge the UK's carbon reduction plans and subject more people, businesses and schools to more noise for many years.
On 20th February 2017 the committee reported that "The UK has already breached legal NO2 limits in London for 2017. The High Court has ordered the Government to produce a new plan to tackle air pollution by July 2017, the conclusions of both of the Government’s air quality re-analysis studies are based on the previous, over-optimistic plan. The effectiveness of the Government’s new air quality plan will be integral to determining whether Heathrow expansion can be delivered within legal limits. We are concerned that the timing of the draft NPS consultation means the Government will be unable to carry out a comprehensive re-analysis of the air quality impacts, using the new air quality plan, before the consultation process is complete."
The committee reported "The headline cost and benefits figures in the Government’s announcement on Heathrow and the draft National Policy Statement assumed a black hole in the 2050 carbon budget that other sectors, such as energy or industry, would have to fill." and "The Committee on Climate Change has repeatedly urged the Government to draw up an emissions reduction strategy for aviation. The ICAO agreement means the Government no longer has any excuse not to do so."
They point out that air quality limits are not set out in the Draft National Policy Statement on airport capacity.  
For surface access the MPs comment that "The Government has not yet published a comprehensive assessment of the infrastructure requirements of an expanded Heathrow, including an outline of costs, responsibilities and accountability."
On noise, the committee commented that "If the Government plans to rely on future technical improvement to reduce noise impacts, then it must provide the aviation industry with support by setting a clear strategic direction for the industry and guarantee policy certainty for investment." Also, "We are concerned with the inconsistency of the metrics used to measure noise attitudes. The Government ..... bases its conclusions on the out of date 57 dB LAeq 16hr contour." and "We question whether Heathrow’s 20 year timetable for rolling out noise insulation is reasonable. We believe that communities affected by noise in 2026 should not have to wait 20 years for insulation."
The committee's latest report on Carbon Emissions, Air Quality and Noise for expansion of Heathrow by a third runway is here. Its sections and conclusions expand upon the extracts above. The 'conclusions' sections should be taken into consideration by those responding to the Government's draft Airports National Policy Statement.

BNP Paribas work on viability and tax

Posted on: 29 January 2017 at 17:06:17
The GLA and @jamesmurray_ldn have been asked for their reaction to the report here by @georgenturner of

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