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Member Briefing: Cutting Red Tape review of house building – organising the HBF response

Date: 07/12/15

Cutting Red Tape review of house building – HBF Call for Evidence


On 2 December, the Government launched a Cutting Red Tape review for house building. (Click here to view)

The review stems from the commitment in July’s Productivity Plan to continue to tackle regulatory burdens and issues that are constraining housing delivery unnecessarily.

It is being led by the Cabinet Office, DCLG and DBIS, working with other government departments and regulators to identify and remove unnecessary regulatory barriers to growth and associated costs to the house building sector, while ensuring necessary protections are maintained.

The review will build upon previous work of the government to identify an initial list of regulatory burdens on house builders and identify opportunities to reduce these.

HBF strongly welcomes the review and, with some members, was involved in the earlier work, including participating in a Cabinet Office and DCLG workshop in early September. The workshop identified a range of concerns companies had that were not being addressed by existing initiatives and government policy measures. These included:

  • Highways issues (Section 38, Section 248 and Section 278 and highways standards),
  • Newt and bat licensing and EU species protection and habitat regulations,
  • Section 106 agreement process issues,
  • Water industry design requirements and infrastructure charges, and;
  • Other utility issues.

The government announcement of the review recognises these issues which we will now have the opportunity to pursue further.

HBF Call for Evidence

The review is very wide ranging in its scope and covers any form of regulation that impacts the house building process, including the way regulation is implemented or enforced – for example by statutory consultees and regulators. Planning issues are within scope, particularly if they are ones not already being considered under existing planning reform discussions.

The government seeks suggestions for action by 13 January and HBF will work with members to develop a co-ordinated industry submission across the range of unaddressed and unresolved regulatory issues affecting the industry.

To assist us in putting this submission together we are issuing a Call for Evidence through this note and would be grateful if you could let us have your suggestions for further regulatory reforms by 16 December so that we can work though these in good time and share our proposed response with you before the deadline. To assist you in this, we have prepared a simple response form which you can fill out on the HBF website here.

This asks for a short description of the regulation and the issue and for an indication of its impact in terms of cost or delay or otherwise. The government has said that it will give most attention to the issues which have the biggest adverse impacts on housing delivery, so we will need to reflect that in our response to the call for evidence. The form also seeks any thoughts you may have on solutions to the problem as it would be helpful for us to put such ideas forward to government alongside our concerns.

Overall this is an important opportunity to secure government backing for reform of regulatory requirements and processes that entail significant costs or delays for you and we hope you will be able to participate in our Call for Evidence.

With our thanks for your help.

John Slaughter

Director of External Affairs