Q: What are Feed-in Tariffs (FiTs)?
A: Payments form your energy supplier to reward those who generate electricity at home via microgeneration technology which can include solar, PV, hydro, anaerobic digestion, wind and microchip (combined heat and power). Generation tariffs vary according to the system’s size and type, but all are designed to achieve a 4.5-8% return. You’re paid the higher generation tariff (21p for solar PV) for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) generated. You get and extra 3p per unit for exporting electricity back to the national grid, and electricity that isn’t sold back is used at home, reducing the amount of electricity you buy from your supplier. FiTs are funded by the taxpayer via increases to the general electricity prices. The generation tariff for new entrants is expected to fall bi-annually in line with reductions to supply cots, with the next reduction to the solar PV rate due on 1 July.
Q: What return on my investment can I expect?
A: The government’s aim is for a 4.5-8% return. The FiT is fixed at the same rate for 25 years and is RPI index-linked. For solar PV, homeowners are eligible for the highest tariff rate (21p) providing the installation is 4kW or less.
Q: What happens if I move house?
A: The FiT and entire microgeneration system are transferred to the new owner. Therefore, if you invest early with a high tariff and are looking to sell in a few year’s time, you should find you have added a valuable asset to your home.
Q: Are loans available to help with the cost of installing microgeneration equipment?
A: The Green Deal, launching in October, is the government initiative for homeowners to install microgeneration and efficiency measures at no up-front cost. Any installations are paid for through a low-interest credit agreement from your energy company that’s added to your energy bill. The ‘golden rule’ of this agreement is that the new measure pays for itself via savings to your energy bill.
The duty intends to require town halls to cooperate on strategic level planning. The government says the duty will enable it to require local planning authoirites and other bodies to have regard to their activities when preparing local plans and related activity. It came into effect on 15 November 2011 when the Localism Bill received royal assent.
The Localism Act gives government powers to revoke regional strategies outside London once strategic environmental assessments are complete. The duty will be a key element of the government's proposals for strategic planning post the abolition of regional strategies. It applied to all local planning authorities, national park authorities and county councils in England, and other public bodies including the Environment Agency, Highways Agency and Homes & Communities Agency.
Information Courtesy of Planning Magazine
The Planning Act 2008 (the 2008 Act) and related secondary legislation set out a range of bodies that may be able to participate in the nationally significant infrastructure planning process.
This advice note is aimed at:
• Public bodies that are prescribed consultees under the 2008 Act regime and;
• Where applicable, those public bodies which have powers to grant consents etc., other than development consent, that are required for the use or operation of a nationally significant infrastructure project (NSIP).
This advice note explains the framework which governs the involvement of consultees at each stage in the process and sets out the key principles which the Infrastructure Planning Commission (the IPC) hopes will underpin working arrangements. This advice note does not deal with the role of local authorities under the 2008 Act regime.
The advice note will be kept under review in the light of any changes to the infrastructure planning process and the statutory responsibilities of relevant bodies.
You can download the IPC Advice Note below.
Manual for Streets provides guidance for practitioners involved in the planning, design, provision and approval of new residential streets, and modifications to existing ones. It aims to increase the quality of life through good design which creates more people-orientated streets. It is a joint publication produced by the Department for Transport (DfT) and Communities and Local Government.
The Design Quality Indicator (DQI) is a web-based assessment tool that helps define and evaluate design quality at all key stages in the design and construction of new buildings and the refurbishment of existing buildings. It involves the people responsible for the design and construction and the building users and local community. DQI can be used at all stages of a building’s development and can contribute to the improved quality of buildings.The Design Quality Indicator is an initiative from the Construction Industry Council (CIC).
Young people can often be overlooked in community engagement, but Spaceshaper 9-14 aims to get them involved in improving their local parks, streets, playgrounds and other spaces. CABE has been working with Beam, the architecture centre in Wakefield, as well as The Architecture Centre, Bristol and Kent Architecture Centre to develop the Spaceshaper 9-14 tool. Spaceshaper works best when a wide range of stakeholders contribute to discussions about improving public spaces.
Spaceshaper is a practical toolkit for use by anyone – whether a local community group or a professional – to measure the quality of a public space before investing time and money in improving it. The toolkit works by capturing the perceptions of professionals involved in running a space, as well the views of the people that use it. Facilitated workshops allow discussions of the Spaceshaper results, debate issues of design quality and build a better understanding about how the space works for the different stakeholders. The toolkit is positive and aims to raise aspirations, encouraging people to demand more from their local spaces.
See our Links section for:
Key architectural press:
If London-based, see New London Architecture
The Meanwhile Project was set up following the launch of 'Looking after our town centres' on 14 April 2009, which includes the plan to revive empty shops to prevent high street decline.
Development Trusts Association is leading the Meanwhile Project as part of its wider Advancing Assets for Communities programme supported by the department for Communities and Local Government (CLG).
The Meanwhile Project is currently in the first phase of work to explore, develop, and test meanwhile approaches in several towns throughout the country, gathering information about who is already doing what, and developing the meanwhile lease document prior to more formal pilots and wider promotion in late 2010.
See The Meanwhile Project website for more information.
Pop up Space is a new national website database connecting landlords and agents with projects.
Visit the Pop up Space website.
Although not totally up to date, this publication contains some very relevant information.
Communities in Control tells the story of power, influence and control and how people can use existing and new tools to access it. The White Paper looks at who has power, on whose behalf is it exercised, how is it held to account, and how can it can be accessed by everyone in local communities.
Download PDF (1.8MB)
Northern Architecture has published a major document that presents a 10-point action plan on sustainability in the North East; the plan is the collective view of a substantial cross-section of people in the North East as their response to the major challenges of creating sustainable developments in the region.
The views were gathered at an event held at Newcastle College in March 2008. This event was the culmination of a series of five events held between November 2007 and March 2008 under the title ‘Designing for Life’ at which a range of professionals, experts and members of the public gave their response to the frightening fact that 50% of all the UK’s carbon emissions are produced by the built environment, and that the industry creates a third of all waste. These events were held in Newcastle, Durham, Sunderland and Middlesbrough and were attended by over 400 people.
The final event presented the key issues to come out of the preceding events, which had focused on the challenges of sustainability in relation to the four themes of communities, cities, buildings and resources. This new document presents ten key messages that were seen as key action points by the 65 people who attended the final event. It discusses these in the context of regional, national and global priorities, and of the key contributions made by speakers and delegates in the series as a whole.
Both documents were prepared by Northern Architecture with the substantial assistance of Victoria Eynon.
Here's a quick overview of the current training and development offered by the architecture centres, download the attachment below.
There is a huge range of activities on offer for design professionals, communities and local authorities - both regular and bespoke programmes. If what you want is not there, then contact the relevant centre and see how they can develop something specific for your needs!
CPRE has published a really useful publication on how to get involved with a planning application / consultation process.
New design guidelines published by MADE for the development of more inclusive play areas based on the experiences of 4,546 children in Dudley. The guidelines are published to coincide with Anti-Bullying Week.
A publication by Garden Organic who promote organic growing. Some valuable information and guidance on how to constuct your own roof garden.
Community right to challenge; to build; to buy and reclaim land. These are all current proposals under the Localism Bill to give communities a greater say and involvement in where they live.
The detail of some of these rights are still under development , but the paper provides an overview and some useful links.
Housing Minister Grant Shapps recently pledged Government backing for self-builders. Including ensuring more land is available for development, and including plots for self-builders in the first publicly-owned site to be made available. This and Community Right to Build in the Localism Bill may encourage more people to more self-builders.
Just launched in May 2012 is the Self Build Portal, which should have all of the information that you need!
An interesting article in the Guardian
Here is some further information and links:
Our member organisations have a wide range of support and advice services that can be offered to communities. They can also support architects, developers and stakeholders working with community engagement.
Much of the centres' work involves mediation and facilitation between design professionals and communities. Their independent status, local knowledge and expertise means that they can play a unique role in the placemaking process.
Architecture centres provide community consultation services in connection with the development proposals for a site. They are independent organisation that have delivered successful community engagement programmes on a number of developments across the country.
This process of engagement and consultation involves all those who have a local interest in a city. It seeks to establish an open, dynamic and ongoing conversation, to help share the plans as they emerge. To facilitate this discussion architecture centres work in close partnership with local residents, businesses, community groups, local politicians and all interested stakeholders to work towards achieving shared goals for a site. Architecture centres act as an impartial voice in the development process, engaging with the local community to empower them.
Wondering what design review is all about? See the attached document to learn more...
For construction careers: Construction Skills website (formerly CITB)
Different engineers design different aspects of the built environment: Institution of Structural Engineers / Institution of Civil Engineers / Institution of Mechanical Engineers / Institution of Engineering and Technology
For landscape architecture: Landscape Institute website
This fact sheet sets out where you can obtain design advice and some other useful information on asset transfer:
Q: What is CIL?
A: Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a new tariff that English and Welsh councils can charge developers on most types of development in their area. The money raised can be used to support development by funding local infrastructure.
The local council establishes the relevant rate for different types of development and specific items that it intends to fund through CIL. These vary from place to place; e.g. £0.75 per sq metre on residential development in Newark and Sherwood District Council and £100 per sqm by Torbay District Council. But many councils have yet to decide their rates.
Q: When does it come into force?
A: Some are already in force (Newark and Sherwood District Council; Shropshire Council and the London Borough of Redbridge), others are in development / consultation.
Q: Does it replace section 106 planning gain?
A: No. But section 106 agreements are being scaled back. From April 2014, or from the date that a CIL charge is adopted by a local planning authority, limitations will make it harder for authorities to rely on section 106 to fund infrastructure.
Q: What role does section 106 continue to play in authorities that have a CIL charge in place?
A: If there is a CIL charge in place, there can be no double charging. A council will be able to pool no more than five contributions for an item of infrastructure not funded by CIL. But section 106 will continue to be the primary mechanism for securing affordable housing contributions through the planning system.
Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Front runners progress, issues and lessons to date – December 2011