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. 


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:

Energy and renewable energy 


  • 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".

Housebuilding and Planning

  • 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?

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Real Estate

  • 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 [2019] 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.


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Corporate and Commercial

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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.