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Adams Hendry Planning & Built Environment News Round-Up - 20th December 2018

The Adams Hendry News Round-Up highlights recent news and commentary relating to planning and the built environment.


This week’s round-up includes an update on the proposed mass rapid transit scheme between Reading and Wokingham, a recent case on the assessment of Objectively Assessed Need, and the world’s first fully electric bus fleet.


Berkshire transit scheme runs into roadblock (The Planner - Requires Log-in)

“Plans for a mass rapid transit scheme linking two Berkshire boroughs have again been rejected by one of the councils.

The £20 million mass rapid transit riverside route for buses, cyclists and pedestrians aims to link Reading and Wokingham on land between Thames Valley Business Park and Napier Road Reading, south of the River Thames and north of the Great Western main line railway.

The scheme involved building a segregated fast-track public transport, pedestrian and cycle bridge and viaduct, supported by concrete columns, steel beams and reinforced soil embankment, together with footway links, junction improvements and landscaping.

Wokingham councillors went against officers’ advice and voted to reject the application by Reading Borough Council, which had earlier approved the proposal. Wokingham officers had recommended the scheme as it would encourage a model shift towards public transport.

The proposal forms part of a wider strategic transport infrastructure project between Wokingham and Reading borough councils to manage traffic and travel demands ahead of projected residential expansion and economic development.

Wokingham had rejected the scheme in May, citing its harm to the area’s landscape character. Since then the project had been extensively revised including scrutiny by a design review panel and substantial changes following consultation and talks with Wokingham officers following the council’s refusal of the proposal.

Wokingham’s latest move follows more than 300 objections citing environmental concerns to the project.”


Local Plans and Objectively Assessed Need (Local Government Lawyer)

“The High Court last month dismissed challenges to a borough council's Local Plan. Wayne Beglan and Asitha Ranatunga explain why.

In CPRE Surrey & Anor v Waverley Borough Council & Ors [2018] EWHC 2969 (Admin) the Planning Court has dismissed conjoined Local Plan challenges brought by POW Campaign Limited and CPRE Surrey to the adoption of Waverley Borough Council's Local Plan. The Court also dismissed a s.288 challenge by POW to the SoS's decision to grant planning permission for a new settlement at Dunsfold Aerodrome (including 1800 homes).

The decision will be of interest to those involved in the assessment of Objectively Assessed Need within the Local Plan process, and more widely to those considering the standard of reasons required in such decisions…”


Resources and waste strategy for England (Gov.uk)

The Government today [18th December 2018] published its resources and waste strategy for England:

“This strategy sets out how we plan to double resource productivity and eliminate avoidable waste of all kinds (including plastic waste) by 2050.

Our strategy sets out how we will: 

  • preserve our stock of material resources by minimising waste, promoting resource efficiency and moving towards a circular economy
  • minimise the damage caused to our natural environment by reducing and managing waste safely and carefully
  • deal with waste crime

It combines actions we will take now with firm commitments for the coming years and gives a clear longer-term policy direction in line with our 25 Year Environment Plan.

We want to prolong the lives of the materials and goods that we use. Our plan is to move society away from the inefficient ‘linear’ economic model of ‘take, make, use, throw’.

A more circular economy (re-use, remanufacture, repair, recycle) will see us keeping resources in use for as long as possible. It will allow us to extract maximum value from them, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of their lifespan.”


Shenzhen's silent revolution: world's first fully electric bus fleet quietens Chinese megacity (The Guardian)

“You have to keep your eyes peeled for the bus at the station in Shenzhen’s Futian central business district these days. The diesel behemoths that once signalled their arrival with a piercing hiss, a rattle of engine and a plume of fumes are no more, replaced with the world’s first and largest 100% electric bus fleet.

Shenzhen now has 16,000 electric buses in total and is noticeably quieter for it. “We find that the buses are so quiet that people might not hear them coming,” says Joseph Ma, deputy general manager at Shenzhen Bus Group, the largest of the three main bus companies in the city. “In fact, we’ve received requests to add some artificial noise to the buses so that people can hear them. We’re considering it.”

The benefits from the switch from diesel buses to electric are not confined to less noise pollution: this fast-growing megacity of 12 million – which was a fishing village until designated China’s first “special economic zone” in the 1980s – is also expected to achieve an estimated reduction in CO2 emissions of 48% and cuts in pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, non-methane hydrocarbons and particulate matter. Shenzhen Bus Group estimates it has been able to conserve 160,000 tonnes of coal per year and reduce annual CO2 emissions by 440,000 tonnes…”


RTPI opens public consultation to shape its future (RTPI)

“The RTPI has issued an open invitation to anyone interested – from planners and built environment professionals to national and local governments, politicians, business leaders and members of the public – to shape the future of the Institute and the planning profession.

The Institute has launched a public consultation online to collect a broad spectrum of views to shape its new corporate strategy that covers the ten-year period from 2020 onwards.

Respondents will be asked to comment on the proposed vision and mission of the RTPI, as well as its draft objectives, priorities and deliverables.

Victoria Hill MRTPI, RTPI Chief Executive, said:

“Planning has never been more crucial to society, or its future direction more debated.

"At a time of significant interest in the planning profession, with delivery pressures and immense opportunities and challenges facing the UK, the RTPI is keen to listen to our members and non-members alike on what matters most to them, to ensure our future work in advancing the influence and impact of planning can really benefit the public. I urge all those who care about the places we live and work to take part.”

The RTPI is the UK's leading body for spatial planning and is the largest planning institute in Europe with over 25,000 members worldwide.

Its proposed vision and mission is “to champion the power of planning to deliver quality places for people” and “to advance the science and art of planning for the benefit of the public”.

The deadline for responding is midnight on Sunday 17 March 2019. Go to the survey here.”


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Suzanne Pidgeon 01962 877414 | s.pidgeon@adamshendry.co.uk