House-builders get red tape review

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The government is consulting house-builders and developers to see how their life could be made better by the removal or relaxation of legal duties and regulations.

The new ‘Cutting Red Tape’ review promises to give them a say on ineffective rules and heavy-handed enforcement that stop them building homes.

The evidence gathering phase of review will run for eight weeks (including Christmas and New Year shutdown), closing on 13th January 2016.

The review builds on the work of the Housing Implementation Task Force to explore issues that have the biggest effect on house-builders. The hope is to get views of all those involved in building homes, including developers, planners and trade associations, but particularly smaller building firms..

The key starting points for the review are based on the priorities raised by the Task Force:

  • roads and infrastructure rules for new housing developments
  • environmental requirements, particularly EU rules such as the Habitats Directive and wider EU environmental permit requirements
  • rules that affect utilities (such as electricity, gas and water – as well as broadband infrastructure).

The government is also keen to look at the changes made to the Construction Design & Management (CDM) regulations, as well as any examples of EU rules that are being implemented ‘too strictly’.

Business secretary Sajid Javid said: “This review will give housebuilders and smaller construction businesses a powerful voice as part of our £10bn deregulation drive. Where rules are too complicated, ineffective or poorly enforced, I want to hear about it and the government will take action. Together we can cut red tape and get Britain building.”

Housing minister Brandon Lewis said: “We are determined to remove barriers faced by housebuilders to ensure we continue to keep Britain building as quickly and safely as possible. We want to hear the views of firms big and small so we can remove unnecessary red tape and help housebuilders do what they do best, building the homes we need.”

Home Builders Federation chairman Stewart Baseley said: “As the industry looks to drive further increases in housing supply we welcome moves to reduce unnecessary regulation and the associated costs.

Aside from the planning system there are significant other regulatory processes and charges levied on the industry that can adversely affect viability, but also, critically, delay the ability of home builders to get on site and start building. Reducing red tape will bring more sites into play more quickly and so help the industry deliver more desperately needed homes in the coming years.”