Welcome to our winter round-up of articles on topics affecting UK construction businesses. To discuss any of the issues flagged below and their effect on your business, please contact one of the team listed on the right, or your usual UK Construction team contact.
- Energy and renewable energy
- Housebuilding and Planning
- Real Estate
- Corporate and Commercial
Our construction team prepares a monthly summary of new and proposed legislation affecting the UK construction industry for Construction Law. Here are the most recent summaries and features:
- New and proposed legislation: State of play table 245 with a short feature on Grenfell Tower Inquiry phase 1 recommendations. (Published by Construction Law in December 2019.)
- New and proposed legislation: State of play table 244 with a feature on " Quality counts" which comments on the CIOB's publication of the "Guide to Best Practice Construction Quality Management". (Published by Construction Law in November 2019.)
- New and proposed legislation: State of play table 243 with a feature on " The latest changes to the Community Infrastructure Levy". (Published by Construction Law in October 2019.)
- New and proposed legislation: State of play table 242 with a feature on " Creating a responsible payment culture". (Published by Construction Law in August 2019.)
- The 2020 edition of our guide to " Investing in renewable energy projects in Europe" is now available.
- Ahead of the UK General Election in December 2019, Adam Brown reviewed the "net zero" debate and compared the manifestos of the six political parties relating to climate and energy issues. View the full blog post here: The "net zero" debate: UK General Election 2019 (and beyond).
- In "Moving the UK ban on new petrol, diesel (and hybrid) car sales to 2035: why the fuss?", Adam Brown comments on the government's plans to bring forward an end to the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans to 2035.
- Mathieu Raedts and Nora Wouters discuss the way towards a competitive bidding process for new offshore wind farms in Belgium. They discuss the Belgian federal government's establishment of a new legislative framework aimed at achieving an additional offshore wind energy capacity of at least 1.75 GW – as well as the challenge of meeting the nuclear phase-out scheduled for 2025 and ambitious climate change goals.
- In the wake of the election of a majority Conservative government, Matthew Hanslip Ward and Zara Skelton in our UK Rail team look at what policies were laid out in the Conservative manifesto relating to infrastructure investment, franchising and more in Rail policies included in the Conservative manifesto.
- In The utility regulator's powers to impose financial penalties, Christopher McGee-Osborne and Zara Skelton compare the powers of the economic utility regulators to levy fines for breach of licence conditions, how regulators decide whether to impose a fine, how the amount is determined, what happens to the money paid over and the mechanism for challenging fines. They also look briefly at GEMA's power to order redress for customers, which is unique among the economic regulators.
- Civil society is demanding that companies make sustainable choices. In How vulnerable is your Social Licence to operate, Stephen Shergold explores what businesses can do to proactively address these demands.
- Today's corporations are under pressure to adopt and deliver high standards of environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance. But corporations face disruption in addressing these issues in the absence of clear and consistent regulation from governments. Stephen Shergold considers the lawyer's role in delivering high standards of ESG performance.
- The UK government has introduced regulations to reduce transport emissions and support the early market for ultra-low emission vehicles. The challenges facing the market in implementing these regulations is discussed in " The insulators and conductors of the electric vehicle revolution".
- In "(How) can planning speed up delivery", Ralph Kellas examines the factors behind "slow" build out rates and analyses proposed ways to tackle the issue. (Published in Public Law Today.)
- In Section 73 Changes – Don't Let the Gremlins In, Roy Pinnock reviews the Court of Appeal's decision in Finney v. Welsh Ministers, that Section 73 permissions cannot alter the description of development.
- Between 2011/12 and 2017/18, consent was given for 258,192 homes on average each year, but only 153,560 homes were completed. This gap presents a challenge given high housing demand and the slow ratchet of the Housing Delivery Test. In (How) Can Planning Speed Up Delivery? (part 1), Ralph Kellas considers the expectations and challenges around build-out and some of the reforms proposed to address the issues. In Part 2, Ralph goes on to consider the implications of slow build-out for local authorities and what they and the broader planning system can do to speed up delivery.
- Our planning team provided a summary of the parties' manifestos ahead of the UK's General Election in December 2019. Find out what the Conservative Party included in their policies here: General Election 2019: Vote Planning.
- With the delivery of new homes remaining a key priority for government, Michele Vas highlights the need for greater consideration to the legacy arrangements required to create communities once residents move in. See Where next for stewardship?
To receive regular updates from Dentons' UK Planning Law blog, sign up here.
- In " Cladding in 2020", Ross Wilson and Bryan Johnston examine the new pressures on landowners of high-rise residential buildings which contain ACM and other unsafe cladding.
- Emma Broad and Lewis Myers review the Legal highlights of the UK Real Estate market in 2019.
- Alan Cairns and Lisa Cruickshank review the Legal highlights of the Scottish Real Estate market in 2019.
- Gareth Hale and Douglas Blyth review A valuable decision of the UK Supreme Court on Scottish sales at undervalue. The Scottish decision in MacDonald and another as joint liquidators of Grampian MacLennan's Distribution Services Ltd v. Carnbroe Estates Ltd UKSC 2018/0092 is important, firstly, because it clarifies the test for "adequate consideration" under the insolvency rules. Secondly, it represents a significant departure from previous Scottish authority in recognising that the court does have the necessary flexibility to deal with a transaction (found to be a gratuitous alienation) in a way that balances the respective interests of the purchaser and the creditors of the insolvent company.
- The first Court of Appeal decision on the new Electronic Communications Code has recently been handed down in the case of Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited v. Compton Beauchamp Estates Limited  EWCA Civ 1755. Both landowners and operators will find the unanimous decision helpful as it clarifies a number of key aspects of the code. Read more here: Clarification of the Electronic Communications Code.
- Following on from the 2017 Clean Growth Strategy, in which the government committed to support businesses in reducing their energy use by at least 20% by 2030, the government has now issued a consultation, The Non-Domestic Private Rented Sector Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards: Trajectory to 2030. The consultation document recommends significantly tightening minimum energy efficiency standards. Emma Broad and Fiona Raglettli explain more in: Consultation to tighten minimum energy efficiency standards.
- The UK government's Good Work Plan, published in December 2018, introduced a number of reforms designed to provide clarity for employers and workers, ensure fair and decent work for all and facilitate fairer enforcement. Claire McKee explains the reforms introduced by The Good Work Plan starting April 2020. (Published in The Scottish Grocer.)
- Helena Rozman and George Williamson explain some key developments with the Working Time Regulations (WTR) and the Working Time Directive (WTD) this year. (Published in People Management magazine.)
- An employment tribunal recently ruled that ethical veganism is a philosophical belief and should therefore be protected by law.
- Other articles published by our
- How much holiday pay are temporary staff entitled to? (The Scottish Grocer)
- Discrimination update – what constitutes a 'philosophical belief' under the Equality Act?
- The Information Commissioner's Office consults on subject access guidance
- Whistleblowing: Is a detriment suffered outside work as a result of a disclosure protected by the Employment Rights Act?
- Ability to "release" job not an unfettered right to substitution, says EAT
- Employees on social media: can employers dismiss staff for sharing views online?
- HMRC's Check Employment Status for Tax tool (CEST) and Employment Status Manual Updated
- Does TUPE catch workers who aren't employees?
For further employment law updates, sign up to the Employment team's blog here.
- In our autumn/winter 2019
UK Corporate Briefing, our corporate colleagues review the
- Giving notice of claim under a share purchase agreement: the importance of strict compliance
- Implying terms into the price adjustment provision of a share purchase agreement
- Court of Appeal considers the meaning of "payable" in a share purchase agreement tax covenant
- Directors' fiduciary duties to shareholders
- Warranting forward-looking projections: lessons for a seller
- Dentons, in partnership with the
Kairos Society, has launched "Fully Vested" a new podcast
which tackles legal and commercial issues facing founders and
investors in the start-up, venture capital and venture technology
community. The following podcasts are available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts:
- Episode 1: Equity funding for start-ups
- Episode 2: Founder vesting
- Episode 3: Introduction to employment law for start-ups are now
- Episode 4: Rights and responsibilities of directors and start-ups
- Episode 5: Commercial contracts for Saas and enterprise software business
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The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.