UK Government Building Policy 2022 Response, British Prime Minister resignation, United Kingdom architecture news

UK Government Building Policy 2022 News

25 October 2022

New UK Prime Minister’s green credentials

Richard Smith, partner at Sandstone Solicitors, comments:

“Rishi Sunak will hopefully see the damage that Liz Truss was about to do to the environment, as well as to the economy, with her policies and will adopt a more positive approach to the important green issues that need to be addressed urgently.

He says he is committed to achieving net zero by 2050, but then he has to be, as it’s the law! However, he is keen on gas and wants to drive up North Sea gas production, which won’t help carbon reduction.

On river pollution he said he will crack down on water companies who must be held accountable for the excessive use of storm overflows, and for unacceptable leakage and mains bursts.

He signed the Conservative Environment Network pledge which commits the prime minister to use ‘Brexit freedoms’ to roll out home insulation and electric vehicle charge points, restore nature by implementing the Environment Act, support sustainable farming and clean energy, and back clean growth through future technologies.

The problem is that the Tories have been talking about all this for years, and done very little, and Rishi Sunak has been in charge of the money.

Rishi Sunak has said he would not relax the planning rules for onshore wind farms and wanted to focus on building more offshore wind. However, earlier this month, he said that onshore wind farms may be acceptable where it can be managed with local communities. However, he has said he wants to “protect the best agricultural land from housing, rewilding, or large-scale solar farms, to make sure they have minimal impact on food production”, but he is supportive of “rooftop solar”, pledging to “reform the regulations and licensing regimes so offshore wind, rooftop solar and nuclear can all be built and scaled up much faster”.

It still feels like too little too late; nuclear power stations take decades to build and there is no help for people to invest in rooftop solar.

No fan of the European Union, he has pledged to get rid of EU red tape by scrapping EU laws within 100 days of becoming prime minister. This will cause all EU-derived legislation, a lot of it relating to environmental protection, to expire. Hundreds of environmental laws, from those on water quality and protected sites, to chemical contamination and the EIA regime will go; the real ‘green’ test will be what he puts in their place.

But why wipe out all the environmental protections before the new laws are at least proposed? It does not bode well for habitats and wildlife.

The conclusion is that we will have to wait and see how ‘green’ this new administration will be, but my prediction is that very little resource will be put into the actual implementation of policies over the next two years. I think the people have had enough of ‘promises, promises’ and despite all the talk from Conservative benches about ‘delivery’, there has been hardly any.”

25 October 2022

It’s time we had Ministers who have been trained to make the right decisions

UK Government Ministers – View

25th of October 2022 – Former National Audit Office Director and Coronadiary author David Finlay attributes many of the government blunders of recent years to a lack of training for Ministers.

As Downing Street welcomes the third Prime Minister in two months isn’t it time to take stock of how well we are served by Government Ministers? After the errors of judgement in handling the COVID pandemic and the catastrophic impact on the economy of the short lived Truss premiership the country craves stable government where sensible well thought through decisions are taken for the public good.

Former National Audit Office Director and Coronadiary author David Finlay draws a dramatic comparison: If you need a doctor for a serious medical condition you take it as read that they will be qualified and will have been trained extensively not just in specialist medical skills but also important management skills such as planning, making good use of data and managing risks to protect us from danger. Shouldn’t we have similar expectations of those who govern us from Westminster?

Finlay observes “New PM Rishi Sunak has referred to the profound economic crisis. We face huge challenges from a stalling economy, a cost of living crisis, climate change and pandemics. It has become clear in recent times that, whilst Ministers can draw on extensive advice from civil servants and advisers, it is the Ministers themselves who have to make the final decisions under intense pressure on how to deal with these complex issues.”

Finlay first became aware of the lack of training for Ministers in decision making skills when writing his 2021 book Coronadiary: 100 days that changed our lives and three skills government had been told to improve. Finlay identified that government had not heeded previous warnings that it needed to improve its skills in planning, making good use of data and managing risk. In addition, he highlighted that Ministers to do not receive any formal training in these decision making skills when they take up office.

“The decisions which Ministers have got wrong have involved assessing the trade-offs between one possible course of action and another” Finlay notes. “For example, whether to lock down early during the pandemic or allow businesses and schools to remain open; or whether to cut taxes to stimulate economic growth when that may involve increasing government debt.” Finlay believes Ministers would stand a better chance of getting these difficult decisions right if they had at least had a common training in complex decision making including those core competencies of planning, assessing data and managing risk.

Repeated government errors in decision making have led to a perception that Ministers are not well enough equipped for the responsibilities they bear. David Finlay’s response is clear: “It must make sense to expect a similar level of expertise in decision making from Ministers as we expect from doctors. Even one week of training for Ministers in how to make complex decisions could be a game changer.” Something for the new PM to ponder.
24 October 2022

In light of Rishi Sunak taking the helm today of the Conservative Party, we thought you might be interested in the following comment from Hugh Blaza, senior consultant at Sandstone Law:

New UK Prime Minister Reaction

So what will be different from the Liz Truss ‘blink and you’ve missed it’ premiership. How could we know? Not a single speech from Rishi Sunak throughout the campaign and so we find ourselves with a new PM elected by fewer than 200 people and with no discernible mandate. During his summer jousts with Truss, Rishi Sunak adopted the ‘triple repeat’ approach, believing (presumably) that if he said the same word more than twice, it would be remembered as if it had been carved into tablets of stone. But does anyone still recall the ‘brownfield, brownfield, brownfield’ mantra Rishi Sunak trotted out to reassure the Conservative shires that their green belts would (despite the sacrifice of them in so many already adopted local plans, not to mention that little parcel of agricultural land he needed to accommodate his new swimming pool) be safe?

And what of charter cities where planning laws may become a distant memory? And then there’s the ‘bonfire of regulations’ which look destined for the shredder as a result of The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill 2022?

The trouble is, no-one, least of all the tiny handful of people who supported Truss, then Johnson, then Mordaunt, then Rishi Sunak himself knows or cares. The best we can take from the past 4 months is that we are that much closer to a General Election when the politicians who want our votes will need to put their cards on the table. Until then, it’s the wild west out there.

RIBA President calls for reassurance and stability from new PM

Monday 24 October 2022 – RIBA President Simon Allford said:

“In these tumultuous times, people and businesses across the country need reassurance and stability – Rishi Sunak must provide this.

With inflation soaring, energy prices surging, and the housing and climate crises worsening, achieving this will be no mean feat.

The Government must recognise that in addition to construction being a key driver of growth, buildings are long-term assets – critical to our quality of life and wellbeing. Architects and the wider built environment sector stand ready to work with the Government to create a better future for all.

To do this, the new Government must ensure we have the housing we need; create a well-resourced and efficient planning system; implement a National Retrofit Strategy; and embed a clear and effective building safety regime.

We will be engaging with the Prime Minister and his Government immediately.”

Thursday 7 July 2022

RIBA President responds to Boris Johnson’s resignation

“An opportunity to refocus priorities” – RIBA President responds to Boris Johnson’s resignation

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has responded to the announcement that Boris Johnson will be resigning as Prime Minister.

UK Government Building Policy 2022

RIBA President Simon Allford said:

“The news that Boris Johnson will step down as Prime Minister is an opportunity for the Conservative Party to take stock and refocus its priorities.

Amidst all the uncertainty, the climate crisis and its implications on the built environment – urgent action is required. This is an opportunity for a new leader to step up and take that action.

From improving the sustainability, safety and quality of our buildings to addressing the housing crisis, architects have a key role to play.

We will be reaching out to the new leader and their ministers as soon as they are in post – encouraging them to draw on the expertise in our industry, to help make our buildings and communities fit for the future.”

Big Ben Palace of Westminster London building


The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is a global professional membership body that serves its members and society in order to deliver better buildings and places, stronger communities and a sustainable environment. Follow us on Twitter for regular RIBA updates

7 July 2022

Response to the PM’s resignation

Angus Duguid, Regional Commercial Business Leader at HKS, comments:

“Delivering many aspects of government policy, whether building new hospitals, delivering thousands of new homes or creating infrastructure to help ‘level up’ the economy needs a flourishing property and construction industry.

“The interim and long-term cabinet need to focus on stabilising inflation to provide some certainty about the viability of schemes both in the private and public sector. Although we can continue to plan for tightening of economic conditions, uncertainty is still the biggest risk.

“In response to the worsening economic outlook it would be highly beneficial for policies to be implemented that support growth in the skilled design and construction labour markets. The cost of labour has hugely increased; we want to see a strong focus on creating domestic supply through apprenticeships and support for the professional bodies promoting the industry.

“The new government also needs to look at how it procures services to make it easier for SMEs to enter the market, for example by reducing the huge burden on professional indemnity – this is currently pricing practices out of public sector work and reducing opportunities for innovation and growth across the industry.”

UK Government Building Policy 2022 infomration received 070722

Previously on e-architect:

UK Government Building Issues

RIBA responds to Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill + Queen’s Speech 2022
Palace of Westminster London building
UK Government Queen’s Speech 2022 Response

UK sustainable property gain due to energy prices crisis
UK sustainable property gain from energy prices crisis
UK sustainable property gain due to energy prices crisis

UK government funding for cladding repairs
UK government funding for cladding repairs

Combined approach to Heat and Buildings welcomed by ICOM
UK Government Heating and Building Strategy Response

UK Government responds to Architects Act consultation
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has responded to the outcome of the Government’s consultation on proposed amendments to the Architects Act, changing the way architects are regulated within the UK:
UK Government responds to Architects Act consultation

LGA Responds To Consultation On Building Safety Reforms – Grenfell Tower building in West London:
Grenfell Tower London Combustible Cladding
UK Government Funding for Combustible Cladding Removal

BSI External Cladding Systems Test Method

UK Government Ban on Combustible Cladding

UK Tower Cladding Tests

Banning the use of Combustible materials in the external walls of high rise residential buildings:
UK Government Ban on Combustible Cladding

Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Buildings Regulations and her Interim Report:
Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety Interim Report

Location: UK

Grenfell Tower Cladding Exposed

Grenfell Tower Cladding

Grenfell Tower Fire

Chalcots Estate Building Cladding
Chalcots Estate towers Camden North London
Chalcots Estate Tower Cladding

London Architectural Designs

London Architecture Designs – chronological list

London Architect – design practice listing on e-architect

London Architecture Designs – architectural selection below:

Houses of Parliament Restoration & Renewal Programme
Palace of Westminster building viewed across the River Thames
photograph © UK Parliament
Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal

New AELTC Indoor Courts, Somerset Road, southwest London
Design: Hopkins Architects
New AELTC Indoor Courts, Somerset Road

London Architecture

London Architecture Tours

Comments / photos for the UK Government Building Policy 2022 Response – page welcome