October 28, 2020

UK Rural Homeless Rise 20% A Year

Homelessness in rural England is doubling every 3 years, according to  campaigners warning planning reforms are likely to worsen the situation. The sharp increase in demand as people flee the larger cities has worsened the situation.

The number of households categorised as homeless in rural local authorities in England rose to 19,975 – an increase of 115% from 2017 – according to the countryside charity CPRE, and the Rural Services Network, which represents many parish councils and other countryside organisations.

The rise in numbers of households owed homelessness relief by councils, according to government figures, has been greatest in the north-east and north-west of England but an increase has happened in all areas.

One woman  was forced to live in a horse box for a month when she lost her home. A nursing said she and her three children may have to wait up to five years for an affordable property.

 

Local authorities have predicted a potential reduction in affordable house construction by up to 50% under the government’s proposed alterations to the planning system

Crispin Truman, chief executive of CPRE, said key workers were being priced out of rural areas by high rent in the private sector. “Tragically, rural homelessness continues to soar. Continuing to deregulate the planning system will only make this situation worse.

“Instead, investing in rural social housing now would deliver a boost to the economy at a time when this is so desperately needed. The evidence is crystal clear that this is the best way to provide affordable homes for rural communities – especially the key workers whom communities rely on now more than ever – while at the same time jump-starting the economy.”

The CPRE has calculated that at current social housing build rates it could take more than 150 years to clear rural housing waiting lists.

The Rural Services Network has said that changes set out in the government’s planning white paper would be catastrophic for the delivery of rural affordable housing. It argues that more rural affordable housing would boost the economy. It has forecast that for every 10 new affordable homes built the economy would be boosted by £1.4m, supporting 26 jobs and generating £250,000 in government revenue.

Graham Biggs, chief executive of the network, said: “The social case for affordable rural housing provision is undeniable and is at the heart of sustainable rural communities. Now the economic case for government investment in such housing is also firmly established, we call on the government to boost affordable rural housing supply in a clear win-win situation.”

The ministry of housing communities and local government was contacted

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TV News still showing active fire in Orange County
Energy

New California fires caused by electricity grid – SoCal confesses

Oct. 28—Thousands of Southern Californians were without electricity for a third  day Wednesday, as the region’s largest utility turned off power to areas where strong Santa Ana winds were causing high fire risk.

Power company Southern California Edison told state regulators that its equipment might have ignited one of a pair of fast-moving wildfires in Orange County, Calif., that have prompted evacuation orders for 80,000 people.

A few miles to the north, the Blue Ridge Fire also broke out Monday and has blackened more than 10,000 acres and led to evacuation orders for the city of Yorba Linda. Both conflagrations were driven by Santa Ana winds gusting up to 80 miles an hour. In all, more than 16,000 homes valued at $14.1 billion were at risk from the twin fires, according to estimates by Realtor.com.

Simultaneously About 355,000 power customers – covering an estimated 1 million people – were in the dark in the northern part of the state as officials issued warnings for what could be the strongest winds in California this year.

The fast-moving wildfire forced the evacuation of 70,000 people and seriously injured two firefighters in Southern California on Monday as powerful winds across the fire-fatigued state prompted power to be cut to prevent utility equipment from sparking new blazes.

The wind-driven fire spread to more than 16 square kilometers within a few hours of breaking out around dawn in Orange County, south of Los Angeles.

Strong gusts pushed flames in Silverado Canyon and near houses in Irvine, a city of about 280,000 residents 65 kilometers southeast of Los Angeles.

Two firefighters, aged 26 and 31, were severely burned as they battled the blaze from the ground, Orange County Fire Authority Chief Brian Fennessy said.

Water-dropping helicopters were briefly grounded because the winds made it unsafe to fly.

Officials did not immediately know the cause of the fire, one of several that broke out across the region.

Tinder-dry weather

The electricity shutdowns marked the fifth time this year that Pacific Gas & Electric, the nation’s largest utility, cut power to customers to reduce the risk of downed or fouled power lines or other equipment that could ignite fires amid tinder-dry weather conditions and powerful wind gusts.

The conditions could equal those during devastating fires in California’s wine region in 2017 and the Kincade Fire that devastated Sonoma County north of San Francisco last October, the National Weather Service said.

Fire officials said PG&E transmission lines sparked that fire, which destroyed hundreds of homes and caused nearly 100,000 people to flee for their lives.

Extreme fire danger moved into Southern California late on Sunday following cooler temperatures over the weekend. A area north of Los Angeles recorded a wind gust of 156 kilometers per hour.

“We have very strong winds and very low humidities, and that’s causing ideal conditions for a very strong Santa Ana event with …

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