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Sat March 06 2021

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Skip count reveals northern construction activity

7 May 14 A survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has found that there are more skips in the north than in the south.

The skips are taken as indicators of small-scale construction projects. The RICS survey found that there had been four times as many skip licenses issued per capita between October 2012 and January 2014 in the northeast of England than there had been in the southeast.

The RICS ‘Skip Score’ looks at the number of skip licences issued per 100,000 people across the England and Wales, covering both residential and small-scale commercial developments. Local councils in England and Wales provided data on the number of skips licences between October 2012 and January 2014 to create an overview of SME construction activity.

However, skip licences are only required when the skip is placed on a public highway, so rich southerners with private driveways do not register in this survey.

Despite this shortcoming in the analysis, RICS director of built environment Alan Muse said the numbers still provided an interesting snapshot. “Skips are a very visible indicator of the health of small and independent construction firms and a good bellwether for the wider economy," he said.

"During the downturn many will have noticed a dip in the number of skips on our streets as households reigned in spending, but it is very clear that skips are back as consumer confidence returns. Our Skip Score shows where the hotspots are across the country, including some surprising results. The recovery is clearly not just confined to London, which is good news for this vital part of the construction industry and the wider rebalancing of the economy.”

RICS Skip Score results (Oct 12 – Jan 2014)

Region

Skip Score

(Number of skips per 100,000 people)

1.    Northeast

58

2.    Yorkshire and the Humber

57

3.    Northwest

30

4.    East midlands

18

5.    Southeast

15

6.    West midlands

13

7.    East of England

11

8.    Southwest

11

Cities in England and Wales

Skip Score

(Number of skips per 100,000 people)

1.    Sheffield

118

2.    Liverpool

111

3.    Cardiff

105

4.    Swansea

95

5.    Sunderland

74

6.    Bradford

67

7.    Newcastle upon Tyne

63

8.    Leeds

60

9.    Nottingham

51

Top 10 London Boroughs

London borough

Skip Score

(Number of skips per 100,000 people)

1.    Walthamstow

98

2.    Richmond upon Thames

82

3.    Ealing

72

4.    Enfield

67

5.    Merton

53

6.    Wandsworth

52

7.    Kingston upon Thames

50

8.    Brent

48

9.    Barnet

46

10.  Southwark

42

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