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February 2017

1)Govt's planned block on business rates appeals ‘illegal'

Business leaders believe the Government's planned block on appeals against incorrect business rates valuations may be ‘illegal' and have urged Whitehall to rethink its policy.

The Government has proposed a ‘reasonable professional judgement' provision in draft regulations reforming business rates due to go before Parliament in April.

This would mean that ratepayers would not be allowed to appeal an incorrect business rates valuation if it were inside a ‘reasonable margin' of error.

According to a letter signed by 13 trade bodies, including the CBI, the British Chamber of Commerce, and the British Property Federation, this policy is ‘illegal' and would leave firms overpaying on their rates bills.

2)DCLG proposes partial five-year business rates resets

The Department for Communities & Local Government has proposed to reset the redistribution levels of business rates partially every five years under the 100% retention system.


3)New services available for GeoPlace website

Last week GeoPlace launched a new part of its website offering significant upgrades to our online services. This includes:

  • Search

  • Check the status of your COU files

  • Upload street data

  • Download NSG and Street Inspire data

  • Find a streetworks register

  • View SWA codes

  • Online Improvement Schedules

They can be accessed from the "Access service" tab on or directly at where you will be invited to log in.

This offers an improved look and feel from the previous NSG and NLPG websites which now redirect users to the new site.

4)Addressing highlighted in Local Digital Transformation event

Last year GeoPlace published a report demonstrating how address and street data can be used by councils to save and deliver better services - ‘Everything happens somewhere; address and street data a common standard for digital transformation'

Building on this report addressing also took centre stage a recent event run by UKAuthority.

UKAuthority's Local Digital Transformation events, hosted in association with Microsoft, provided an opportunity to hear from local authorities and technology experts on the digital transformation trail, through presentations, live demonstrations and technology showcases in London and Manchester.

Recognising the importance of standardised data, location and the ability to link records, UK Authority invited GeoPlace's Luke Studden to speak at the events.

Luke's presentation titled; ‘Address data and its role in digital services & efficiency' outlined how address data provides a Digital Service Backbone, bringing intelligence and insight to council services.  It's well worth listening to Luke's 10-minute presentation, available here along with his accompanying slides.

To see an overview of the event as a whole, including the digital transformation journeys that Enfield and Wokingham have taken, see here, together with a thought leadership piece at available here.


5)Local authorities are being urged to bid for a share of £2.5m funding to install on-street electric car chargers

The funding from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles will cover 75% of the capital costs of public charging stations, capped at £7,500 per twin chargepoint,

The scheme aims to increase the number of car chargers in residential areas, making it easier for people who don't have access to off-street parking to own electric cars.

Andrew Benfield, group director for transport at the Energy Saving Trust said: 'There are more than 80,000 plug-in electric cars on UK roads now, and with fuel prices on the rise, this number is set to grow.

‘However, not everyone can install a charger at home because they don't have a garage or driveway, or perhaps live in a flat. This infrastructure is vital to help people make better choices about the car they drive and to do so without any difficulty.'

The funding is available on a first-come first-served basis, and applications for multiple chargepoints in residential areas are strongly encouraged.

6)Mapping the changes in London

What do all the changes to London's roads, rail, buildings & more look like over 10 years?

Have a look here.

7)GDS to run proof-of-concept for data access solutions

Three-pronged approach to focus on APIs, user consent for re-use and governance structures

The Government Digital Solutions (GDS) is to lead a workstream on developing new approaches for organisations to access personal data held by others.

It is planning to work with a cross-section of groups from the public sector, as yet unnamed, in a proof-of-concept project for sharing data within legal gateways.

The move is included in the ‘Making better use of data' section of the Government Transformation Strategy, published on February 10th, and reflects one of the prime objectives of the strategy for central government. 

See full article:

8)More heavy lorries 'could push local road network over the edge'

Council leaders have warned that a spike in the weight of goods transported by lorries could cause a similar surge in the number of potholes.


The Local Government Association (LGA) said the amount heavy goods vehicles are transporting each year rocketed by 5% to almost 1.7 billion tonnes in a year.

The amount goods vehicles transport each year rose by 5%

It said lorries, particularly very heavy lorries, are massively more damaging to road surfaces than cars because they exert more pressure, causing surfaces to crumble quicker.

Cllr Martin Tett, LGA transport spokesman, said: ‘Motorists should literally be bracing themselves for a surge in potholes. Our local roads network faces an unprecedented funding crisis and the latest spike in lorries could push our local roads network over the edge.

9)Roads of the future

Surveyor Transport Network ran an interesting interview with Shell's Prof John Read on his take on roads of the future.  See full article here

10)Traffex to showcase the "pioneers of innovation"

The organisers of Traffex are promising to give a platform to what they call "The pioneer companies at the forefront of road innovation" at the event in April.

With the total number of miles travelled by cars having grown to over 248 billion a year, there has been an increased call to improve the development of technology for the UK road network, as well as focus on alternative modes of travel.  From 4th to 6th April 2017, the highly anticipated international traffic management, road safety and highways maintenance exhibition at the NEC will showcase over 350 exhibitors.

Visitors will be given the chance to interact with technologies that are set to shape UK roads and the transport network of the future. The exhibition will bring together 10,000 industry experts who will be on hand to discuss everything from software production to cutting edge safety solutions. Se full story and details:

11)Regional Meetings

1st March, West Midlands Street – Solihull

8th March, East of England Street – London

14th March, Yorkshire & Humber Street – Hull

15th March, North East Street – Darlington

4th April, West Midlands Address – South Staffordshire

6th April, Wales Street – Llandrindod Wells

13th April, North West Street – Crewe

19th April, South West Joint meeting – Taunton

3rd May, North East Address – Seaham

23rd May, East Midlands Street – Nottingham

24th May, East Midlands Address – Grantham

31st May, London Street – London

1st June, South East Street – London

6th June, South East Address – London

8th June, Wales Address – Llandrindod Wells

14th June, East of England Address – TBA

20th June, London Address – London

11th July, Yorkshire & Humber Address – Wakefield

12th July, North West Address - Lancaster