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Table 1: Annual Percentage change in underlying value of planning approvals

Value of planning approvals over three months to November 2011, compared with the same period of 2010. Excludes projects worth £100m or more. Source: Glenigan

The underlying value (excluding projects worth £100m or more) of detailed planning approvals over the three months to November has fallen by 5% compared to the same period of 2010, continuing the negative trend seen over the past twelve months.

Residential was the worst performing section of the industry. The underlying value of social housing planning approvals fell by 45% on a year before, as government cuts to spending continue to constrain investment in affordable housing.

In addition, underlying private housing approvals fell by 23%, after similar annual declines were seen in each of the last nine months. There have, however, been a few very large developments gaining planning approval in London and the south of England. These should start on site over the next eighteen months, and will support sector house building over the medium term.

Elsewhere, there have been a number of significant (£50m-£100m) civil engineering projects gaining planning approval, led by approvals for potential airport and railway investment. In addition, several major (+£100m) projects were given the green light during Over the end of the year, including two large electricity substations and a £200m onshore wind farm in Sutherland in Scotland.

A strong level of retail and industrial planning approvals drove an increase in private, non-residential over the three months to November. Once again, it was supermarket activity which fuelled the increase in retail approvals, with several £40m-£80m projects getting the green light between September and November 2011.

Public non-residential sectors continued to be a weak spot for the construction industry, with education and community & amenity projects thin on the ground. Health, however, saw two large approvals in the final months of 2011. A £70m new hospital in Manchester, and a £50m nursing home project in Wales insured that the value of health approvals increased year on year.

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