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News Round-Up

Sep 8: UK’s largest charging hub opens; Police won’t rule out Khalife has left country; UK house prices fall at fastest rate since 2009

Here are the headlines for Friday, September 8.

Time 6:19 am, September 8, 2023

UK’s largest EV charging hub opens

The largest electric car charging hub in the UK has opened at the NEC near Birmingham.

Capable of charging 180 electric cars at the same time, it is being run by BP Pulse, one of the biggest players when it comes to EV charging.

The ‘GigaHub’ is at the UK’s largest exhibition space, the NEC, that is said to attract seven million visitors annually, near the M42 and M6 motorways.

The hub is made up of 30 150kW rapid DC chargers, capable of charging most electric car batteries up to 80 per cent in around half an hour, as well as a further 150 points for slower 7kW chargers. There are designated accessibility charging bays too.

Police keeping ‘open mind’ on whether Khalife has left country

Police have refused to rule out that Daniel Khalife has left the country, or that he had outside help to escape prison, as the search for the fugitive terror suspect enters its third day.

Former soldier Khalife, who according to reports is accused of gathering information for Iran, went missing in his cook’s uniform from HMP Wandsworth on Wednesday, prompting extra security checks at major transport hubs.

The Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism commander said it is ‘testament to the ingenuity’ of the 21-year-old that there have been no confirmed sightings since he escaped prison.

UK house prices fell at fastest annual rate since 2009 in August

The average UK house price dropped by 4.6 per cent in August, falling at the fastest rate since 2009, according to an index.

But despite dropping by £14,000 over the past year, the average house price remains around £40,000 – or 17 per cent – above pre-pandemic levels, Halifax said.

Annual house price falls were recorded generally across the UK, but the lender said it should be noted that the drops are from record-high property prices seen last summer.

Across the UK, the average house price in August was £279,569.

Production of electric vans begins in Ellesmere Port

Electric vehicle (EV) production has started at Stellantis’s factory in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire.

The company said it is the UK’s only dedicated EV manufacturing plant.

Electric vans such as the Vauxhall Combo Electric, Opel Combo Electric, Peugeot e-Partner, Citroen e-Berlingo and Fiat E-Doblo will be made at the site.

A £100m investment by Stellantis secured the future of the former Vauxhall car manufacturing site, which had been in doubt due to post-Brexit trading arrangements.

Six days of 30C heat predicted for first time in September

The UK could have a record six days of 30C heat for the first time in September, the Met Office has said.

Thursday was provisionally the hottest day of the year so far, with 32.6C recorded in Wisley, Surrey, the forecaster said.

The previous highest temperature for the year was set in June at 32.2C.

The heatwave has already broken the record for the most consecutive days with temperatures above 30C in September, with Saharan dust generating vivid sunsets and sunrises in the clear conditions.

Electric bus funding prioritised in rural areas

Funding for hundreds of new electric buses in England will prioritise rural areas, Transport Secretary Mark Harper has announced.

The Cabinet minister said the first £25m of investment in zero-emission buses worth up to £129m will be focused on rural communities.

All local authorities in England outside London can apply for funding through the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (Zebra) programme.

Harper also announced that a new research hub to develop ideas for low-carbon and resilient transport infrastructure will be created, backed by £10m of Department for Transport funding.

Thursday’s Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

Building ‘passports’ could prevent Raac-style safety failings

New sustainability ‘passports’ for buildings could prevent major safety failings similar to the crumbling concrete crisis, engineers have said.

Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) has been found in more than 100 schools, forcing them to either fully or partially close.

But University of Sheffield researchers said a new passport system could help prevent future crises and boost sustainability in Britain’s built environment.

The documentation framework, currently being developed by engineers at the university, could better record information on how buildings are designed, constructed, maintained and modified.

FTSE 100 regains ground as pound slips

The UK’s top stocks moved higher on Thursday while the pound faltered after the Bank of England’s chief hinted that UK interest rates could be nearing their peak.

Andrew Bailey told a group of MPs on Wednesday that the UK is ‘much nearer now to the top of the cycle’ based on the current evidence. He also said that UK inflation is expected to fall sharply by the end of the year.

Policymakers will meet later this month to decide whether or not to raise rates further.

The pound fell to its lowest level in three months on Thursday, slipping below 1.25 US dollars.

Weather outlook

Most places will have another dry day today, according to the Met Office, with lots of hot sunshine but cloud will affect some coastal areas at times.

An isolated and thundery shower in the north and west is possible during the afternoon.

It will staying mostly dry and warm tonight with clear spells and a chance of a thundery shower in the west though, with some low cloud and fog, mainly affecting coastal parts.

Rebecca Chaplin's avatar

Rebecca has been a motoring and business journalist since 2014, previously writing and presenting for titles such as the Press Association, Auto Express and Car Buyer. She has worked in many roles for Car Dealer Magazine’s publisher Blackball Media including head of editorial.

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