Government Announce They Will Deliver 300,000 New Homes a Year

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The government today have announced they will abolish stamp duty for first time buyers, in England and Wales, in their new budget. This will relate to the first £300,000 of a home’s cost, saving first-time buyers £5,000.

This will mean 95% of first-time buyers would see the tax cut, while 80% who are buying a property will pay no tax at all.

In addition, the chancellor Philip Hammond will use this budget to plan the build of 300,000 homes a year. This will concentrate on areas where most people live and where most jobs are created.

Plus, the aim is to guarantee councils in high-demand areas to permit more homes for local first-time buyers.

Hammond will also find £5 billion for housing schemes, according to the Sunday Times. Perfect for the industry!


house building

Succesful Discharge of Planning and Foundation Design in Brighton

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YourEnvironment recently carried out a multi-services consulting project for one of our long term clients in Brighton. We were involved in the contaminated land planning conditions as well as services scanning, CCTV drainage and designing the foundation solutions. We spent several days on site carrying out site investigations and provide our client with a report outlining the foundation design and also the contamination present on site and what remedial measures are required. These works were provided under budget and ahead of the programmed time.

YE Carries out Multiple Services for Glasgow Airport Fire Training

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YourEnvironment have recently carried out a successful project at Glasgow Airport for our client. Looking to replace the fire training facility, they turned to YE to carry out a full turn-key package. This involved topographical surveying, services location, concrete coring and a geotechnical investigation. All of this took place airside at the Airport. The project was delivered ahead of schedule and with as little disruption to the operations at the airport as possible.


Contaminated Land – An Introduction to the UK Regime

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The contaminated land regime in the UK is set out in a number of documents which outline a framework or process flow if you like. Much like assessing a risk in Health and Safety, the overarching theme is Risk Assessment. It’s exactly the same as a Health and Safety Risk assessment, just that the risk comes from another source – potential contamination in the ground.

The logical progression for this would be to take a soil sample in every single new build house to ensure that there is no contamination. However this would be extremely expensive and not a proportional view to take bearing in mind that 70% of new development is on green field sites. Instead the process of assessing whether contaminated land will effect your property is dictated through the planning system.

Each local planning authority has a contaminated land officer who will be a consulate on the planning application. These officers are often very experienced and have a vast amount of local knowledge. Therefore there decision to put a contaminated land planning condition on a consent is borne from a mixture of local knowledge and also experience of what type of facilities are potentially contaminative.

The conditions are differently worded depending on what local authority you are with. However, they are always in the same vein and normally take the form of 3 or 4 separate conditions. These conditions usually take the form of the following stages in the contaminated land assessment process:

1 Stage 1: Desktop Study

2 Stage 2: Site Investigation

3 Stage 3: Remediation (This includes provision of a remediation strategy normally); and

4 Stage 4: Validation and Verification

During the whole process, the keystone document is the Desktop Study. This provides the baseline assumption as to whether the site is contaminated or not. It also provides the geology, historical mapping and other important information.

The key part of the Desktop Study is the Conceptual Site Model (CSM), basically a Risk Assessment geared primarily to contaminated land, gas and groundwater risks. This model is carried through the whole process right through to Stage 4 and is updated at every stage.

This model assesses the risks from potential sources (tanks for example) to potential receptors (small children living in the house for example) via a pollutant pathway – for example ingestion. For example, lets say that there is lead (potentially very toxic) in the ground and that you were to grow your tomatoes in the ground and then someone ate the tomatoes which were contaminated. This would lead to a person having lead poisoning. However, if the linkage is broken then there is no risk. The aim of the staged process is to prove the this link either doesn’t exist or has been removed.

In our experience, in most cases; the Desktop Study is sufficient as we find that no further action is required and the conditions are discharged. However, there are times when a Site Investigation (SI) is required which can potentially lead to remediation and validation.

A Site Investigation builds on the information obtained in the Desktop Study. The whole approach is scientific in nature – The Desktop Study is a theoretical document that says “we might have contamination here because it used to be a petrol filling station”. The Site Investigation takes this theory and aims to prove or disprove it.

This is the time where the local authority need to be involved. It’s important to gain early regulator buy in. They will provide comment on the Desktop Study and sometimes require further works to be added to the scope of the SI.

The scope of the SI is dependant on the outcome of the Desktop Study and can range from simple trial pits with chemical sampling of soils only to installation of boreholes to monitor for gas and groundwater contamination. The results from the SI are then collated into a report (including the data from the Desktop Study and the initial Risk Assessment) which builds on the CSM further and provides either an assessment of further works required (remediation) or concludes that the pollutant pathway has been broken or doesn’t exist in the first place.

Our aim as a consultant is to guide our clients through this process and provide the liaison between the planners, science, warranty company’s and most importantly, our client.

Housebuilding Sector Growth

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We at Your Environment are continuing to see growth within the small scale and large scale housebuilding sector.

Housebuilder Barratt Developments will report with the housebuilding sector the focal point for much of the week. Blue-chip firm Barratt has, like almost all of the housebuilders, enjoyed strong growth in the UK’s buoyant first-time buyer market supported by low interest rates and the Government’s Help to Buy scheme.

Few surprises are expected in its full-year figures with a trading update in July stating that the company built 17,395 homes in the year to June 30 and that pre-tax profit has risen by 12pc. The outlook will therefore dominate much of the focus for shareholders with Barratt expecting “modest growth” in home sales in its new financial year.

The sector has brushed aside post-election uncertainty but its reliance on Help to Buy was highlighted when shares dived last month on later denied rumours that the Government was reviewing the programme.

Housebuilding peers Redrow and Berkeley are also reporting to the market this week with the latter’s results set to be under increased scrutiny after the firm was recently promoted into the FTSE 100.

CL:AIRE publishes Asbestos in Soil Guidance (CAR-SOIL) 

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CL:AIRE has published the Joint Industry Working Group Asbestos in Soil and Construction & Demolition (C&D) Materials guidance titled “Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012: Interpretation for Managing and Working with Asbestos in Soil and Construction & Demolition materials: Industry Guidance (shortened name CAR-SOILTM)”.

This authoritative document has been prepared with the support of the Health and Safety Executive and presents the definitive explanation of how the legal requirements of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR 2012 or the Regulations) have been interpreted to apply to work with asbestos contaminated soil and construction & demolition materials.

The guidance is underpinned by the fundamental requirements expressed in the Regulations, in relation to the protection of employees from risks related to exposure to asbestos, but is set within a carefully considered framework designed specifically for soil and C&D materials contaminated with asbestos.

In order to be more directly applicable to the risks associated from work on soil and C&D materials contaminated with asbestos, the Regulations have been interpreted in order to allow practical guidance to be produced that is fit for purpose whilst allowing compliance to be demonstrated with the overarching requirements set out in the Regulations.

New Website

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Welcome to our new website!! It’s been a while in the making but it’s finally here. Welcome to the home of common sense Environmental Consulting. From our Head office in Chichester, West Sussex and our Northern office near Manchester we a proud to delivery the best value for money for environmental, geotechnical and surveying consulting.