November, and with the fall of leaves comes the clatter of hooves as the Queen makes her way to the Lords to deliver her annual speech. This yearÍs speech contains five pieces of legislation that impact on architecture.
The Climate Change Bill will fix the government's target of reducing the UKÍs carbon dioxide emissions by at least 60 per cent by 2050 on the statute book . While this is an encouraging step, the RIBA suggests 80 per cent.
Achieving carbon targets relies on a new committee to advise on government policy. With the construction industry responsible for around 50 per cent of CO 2 emissions, itÍs essential the sector has a place at the table. The Climate Change Act 2008 will direct government policy for years to come, so it has to be right.
The Planning Reform Bill will set up a new planning commission to make decisions on national projects, and deregulate the smaller things like loft extensions. ItÍs an opportunity to get design quality properly entrenched in the planning system, and the RIBA will use the passage of the Bill to promote the systematic use of local design-review panels.
The Housing and Regeneration Bill will give life to the Homes and Communities Agency by merging the Housing Corporation with English Partnerships (EP). We want to see this agency build on the success of its predecessors.
Only time will tell if the draft Heritage Protection Bill ever becomes law. Almost eight years after the heritage protection review is it really that difficult to merge the listing and scheduling systems? But even this delay is piffling compared with the draft Cultural Property (Armed Conflict) Bill to protect historic buildings in wartime. It ratifies the 1954 Hague Convention Ð signed two years after the Queen came to the throne.
Steven Harding is head of public affairs at the RIBA