Gas failure in part of UK render homes without heating in freezing temperature

Thousands of people spent the night without heat in freezing temperatures below zero after gas outage in Falkirk on Sunday morning.

Hundreds of engineers are visiting homes in the area as part of a major operation to tackle the gas network failure.

Fire brigade helping with distribution of heaters in Falkirk

Heaters and portable cookers have been distributed to vulnerable residents and 14 schools and nurseries are closed.

Gas infrastructure company SGN said it had now begun reconnecting supplies to homes across the area.

The company said previously that it had hoped to visit all 8,000 affected properties by Monday afternoon.

By 21:30 on Monday, SGN confirmed it had reconnected gas to 3,000 properties.

More than 250 engineers are going door-to-door to turn off gas supplies at the meter for safety reasons.

Falkirk Council said the majority of schools in the area, as well as Kinnaird Waters early learning and childcare centre, would reopen on Tuesday.

Bainsford primary school and nursery class, Larbert early learning and childcare centre, and Kinnaird primary school and Thistle Wing will remain closed.

Source: BBC News

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Wales launches climate change blueprint

A five-year blueprint to tackle climate change in Wales has been launched by the Welsh Government.

Prosperity for All: A Climate Conscious Wales sets out plans to improve flood defences, secure water supplies, and other environmental improvements.

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Environment minister Lesley Griffiths said the plan is “challenging”.

But Welsh Conservative Andrew RT Davies said “questions must be answered” over if the plans are “workable” and “economically viable”.

The plans build on the climate emergency declaration made earlier this year and Wales’ first climate change conference, the Welsh Government said.

Ms Griffiths added: “But we must all adapt and we must all commit to protect our nation for current and future generations.

“Success will mean Wales is a climate conscious nation, aware of the risks facing us, whilst being prepared and ready to adapt to the impacts before they occur.”

The proposals include:

  • Building defences to guard against flooding and coastal erosion
  • Protecting water supplies from drought
  • Reducing the use of pesticides
  • Growing more woodland
  • Creating more open spaces
  • The creation of 25,000 more energy efficient homes by 2021

Source: BBC News

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Home Improvement: Do I need a planning permission?

Do you want to create more space in your home, make it more energy efficient or perhaps you are looking to self-build? Whether your project is large or small, certain rules will apply in the form of permitted development rights and planning permission. Permitted development rights allow you to make minor changes to your property without having to apply for planning permission.

To find out whether your home improvement or large scale commercial project needs planning permission or building regulations approval, the UK government Planning Portal is the best place to start from. The planning portal website has a common projects and interactive guides to find out about permitted development limits or explore in-depth guidance to understand about what you need to consider at each stage of your project. To make sure everything is alright, contact your local authority, especially if you’re living in a conservative area, an Area of Outstanding Natural beauty, a World Heritage site, a National Park, or Norfolk or Suffolk Broads, where stricter planning restrictions will apply.

 

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Brexit continue to slow down UK housing market

The number of homes being put up for sale fell to a three-year low in September as Brexit uncertainty continued to hit consumer confidence.

Inquiries from potential buyers also dropped during the month, while agreed sales fell too, with activity slipping in nearly all parts of the UK, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

The subdued market left the level of properties estate agents had on their books close to record lows, while they also reported that appraisals were lower than a year earlier, suggesting little prospect of a pick-up in the immediate future.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: “There are good reasons for thinking the latest dip in both buyer enquiries and vendor instructions is a response to the endless wrangling about Brexit, as the October 31 deadline approaches.

“Unless there is a speedy resolution to the ongoing impasse it does seem inevitable that the standoff between purchasers and sellers will deepen making it harder to complete transactions.”

Source: Zoopla Property News

 

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UK housing stock grows by 9%

The number of new homes being created annually has nearly doubled during the past six years but the total continues to fall short of government targets.

The UK’s housing stock increased by 241,130 homes in 2018/2019, 9% more than during the previous 12-month period, according to figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The majority of additions came from new build properties, with these accounting for nearly 214,000 of the total, the highest level since the 1980s.

Other homes were created from building conversions and change of use, as well as larger properties being sub-divided.

But despite the fact the number of properties added to the UK’s housing stock has increased by 93% since hitting a recent low of 124,720 in 2012/2013, the figure remained below the Government’s target of creating 300,000 new homes a year.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation, said: “We need politicians to continue to work with us and develop policies that enable further increases to be delivered.”

Interested in buying a new property? You are in luck as 240,000 new homes have been created in a year.

Source: Zoopla Property News

 

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Manchester City centre population to double by 2025

In the four years since 2015, the city centre has added around 35,000 people, with the current total sitting at around 60,000.

Officials expect similar to happen again.

City-centre living is no longer monopolised by students and young professionals, with increasing numbers of 35-49-year-olds choosing to live in the apartment market, embracing city living.

The broadening of the population living in Manchester will inevitably lead to more demand on services such as schools, medical practices and policing.

How will fast growing cities such as Manchester City cope?

With most city centre booming and becoming increasingly residential, the potential conflict between the wants and desires of residents in town, and operators in the night-time economy, like bars and venues, is brought to the fore. The challenge will be for city councils and planners to continuously create sustainable and dynamic socio-economic environment for all to thrive.

Source: Manchester Evening News

 

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Climate Change is the cause of Venice flood says Mayor

Severe flooding in Venice that has left much of the Italian city under water is a direct result of climate change, the mayor says.

The highest water levels in the region in more than 50 years would leave “a permanent mark”, Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro tweeted.

A man crosses the flooded St. Mark's Square in high water levels in Venice, 13 November 2019

“Now the government must listen,” he added. “These are the effects of climate change… the costs will be high.”

The waters in Venice peaked at 1.87m (6ft), according to the tide monitoring centre. Only once since official records began in 1923 has the tide been higher, reaching 1.94m in 1966.