New Call for Evidence: Utilities and Development

Connecting for Growth - the role of Utilities in speeding up development

Author: Localis, Kent Council Council, South East LEP   |  

Localis’ call for evidence to the construction industry, utility companies, regulators and the public sector to gather opinions on the current state of relations between utility providers and developers has been extended.

Leading think tank Localis, Kent County Council and the South East LEP have joined forces to launch this call for evidence as a result of persistent feedback from a number of sources indicating that utility issues – in particular the connection of services such as water, gas, electricity and telecommunications – can impede the build-out of development sites, so delaying the delivery of much needed new housing and other amenities, and hampering the growth of local economies.

The aim of the work is threefold:

  • to determine whether these problems are experienced elsewhere in the country i.e. is this a systemic problem?
  • to identify, support and promote good practice
  • to make recommendations to the Government on how best to ensure that utility providers and developers interact in positive fashion.

Evidence gathering is to take place over the coming weeks in advance of publishing initial recommendations in March, testing these in further direct discussions with the sector and then presenting them to Ministers.

Specific development examples are sought from across the utility and development industries, with evidence of good and bad practice and ideas for policy or practical change. Submissions are welcome from all private, public and community sector interests.

The call for evidence asks four key questions:

1. Do you know of any specific examples of where any utilities issues have/are hampering or delaying development?
2. Do you know of any examples of good or bad practice in the way that developers and utility companies work together?
3. Does the current regulatory framework for utilities have sufficient focus on supporting local and national economic growth?
4. Is there a need for greater competition in the utility market? If so, how might it be achieved?

Launching the national Call for Evidence today, Localis Chief Executive Alex Thomson commented:

“Many construction projects run smoothly but we also hear stories of utility companies delaying developments by many months. We want to verify whether these anecdotes are indicative of the situation across the country and, if so, take steps to identify and resolve the problems. The country needs growth and we need to ensure that the national policy framework encourages developers and utility companies to work together.”

Leader of Kent County Council Paul Carter added:

“We want to understand the scale of this issue and where and why any delays may occur. The country simply can’t afford to hold-up growth and we need immediate solutions that help get Britain building.”

Peter Jones, Chairman of the South East LEP concluded:

“Any delays to development mean delays to business and jobs. We’ve evidence from the construction industry and others that providing utility connections and supply can be a problem and we want to help resolve it. We’re delighted to launch this call for evidence to get to the very heart of the problem and suggest ways to overcome it.”

Evidence should be submitted by email to: