Housing and Regeneration Act 2008
This Act merges the housing investment and regeneration functions of the Housing Corporation and English Partnerships into a new Homes and Communities Agency. The Agency will, by bringing together land and housing and shifting investment towards infrastructure, support the delivery of new social and affordable housing. The Act also creates a new regulator of social housing, the Office for Tenants and Social Landlords. The task of this new regulator will be to improve the level of service that social tenants receive.
Areas of the Act of particular interest are the provisions for the establishment of new settlements such as eco-towns, provisions being brought in to simplify the ways in which the Homes and Communities Agency facilitates delivery of these projects and the introduction of sustainability certificates. The Act received Royal Assent on 22 August 2008.
Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008
This Act aims to improve and simplify the way legislation (on any subject) is made and enforced. The Act follows the Hampton review in 2005 and incorporates its recommendations, principally that enforcement should focus on where the risks are greatest. The creation of a Local Better Regulation Office was announced in the pre-Budget Report of December 2005 in order to implement some of the Hampton recommendations. The Act converts the Local Better Regulation Office into a statutory non-departmental public body which can issue guidance and support best practice by local authorities. It also allows provision for a wider range of administrative sanctions to be applied for various criminal breaches, including those relating to environmental law, in order to give regulators more options and greater flexibility when imposing sanctions. This Act received Royal Assent on 21 August 2008.
The Energy Bill contains the legislative provisions which seek to implement energy policy in the United Kingdom following the publication of the Energy Review 2006 and the Energy While Paper 2007. The Bill is staled to be driven by two long-term energy challenges faced by the UK; tackling climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions and ensuring secure, clean and affordable energy.
The Bill contains a number of measures, but primary amongst them are the strengthening of the regulatory framework for offshore gas supply to enable greater private sector investment, the creation of a regulatory framew-ork to enable private sector investment in carbon capture and storage projects, a more robust renewables obligation to further stimulate deployment of renewables in the UK, the strengthening of statutory decommissioning provisions for offshore renewables and oil and gas installations, the improvement of the offshore oil and gas licensing regime and other administrative reforms.
The Bill also seeks to ensure that operators of new- nuclear power stations maintain adequate funds to meet the full costs of decommissioning and their full share of waste management costs.
The Bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 12 January 2008. It had its second reading in the House of Lords on 21 May 2008 and, as of 26 September 2008, was at the Lords Committee Stage.