10th November, 2023

Does the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill go far enough?


Last month, the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill became law. However, according to our research, more than 3 in 5 (61%) housebuilders believe that the 534-page bill, which will underpin the government’s levelling up agenda, needs to go further to enable them to reach housing targets.

In fact, two thirds (66%) of housebuilders had supported the government’s initial plan to scrap nutrient neutrality laws and 75% said that the amendment would have been a ‘major win’ for the industry. So, when this was dropped, many were left concerned about the housing crisis, a reduction in economic activity, and how the removal of the amendment could impact jobs and businesses.

Nutrient Neutrality

According to the House Builders Federation (HBF), the scrapping of nutrient neutrality laws would have unlocked 150,000 homes, helping housebuilders to meet ambitious governmental housing targets. The bill could have, therefore, provided some relief to a sector that continues to face a multitude of immense challenges.

However, nutrient neutrality only makes up a fraction of the blockers that housebuilders are currently navigating. Aside from a downturn in the housing market, 63% of housebuilders say that the government’s overall approach to planning is an issue and 62% said that the lack of resources in Local Planning Authorities is a major barrier.

Furthermore, 65% said they didn’t believe Gove’s claim that the reform would unlock the prompt construction of 100,000 new homes, arguing that the legislation must go further.

The scrapping of nutrient neutrality has been a nuanced debate. Both environmental standards and the ability to meet housing targets are key issues for the housing sector and we know that housebuilders and developers are passionate about both of these issues.

While the intent of nutrient neutrality rules are appreciated by developers, there is an overwhelming feeling that stopping new homes being built disproportionately impacts housing developers and those seeking housing needs, rather than root causes of negative impacts on nutrient neutrality.

Keeping Informed

With so much uncertainty ahead and with numerous updates to environmental, planning and building regulations ongoing, it’s more crucial than ever that housebuilders, contractors, and specifiers have access to adequate resources and information to support them through the changes. At Polypipe Building Products, this remains a key area of focus as the industry navigates a period of significant change, and our technical team will continue to work with housebuilders and specifiers to support them through planning stages and the design of compliant heating systems to aid them in meeting housing targets.

If you need advice or technical support, our team are also on hand to help. Please get in touch with us below.

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