Construction industry braced for low carbon challenge

The need for low carbon emitting buildings is one of the biggest challenges facing the construction industry since Victorian times, says the government's chief advisor.

Paul Morrell, chief construction advisor and chairman of the Low Carbon Construction Innovation and Growth Team (IGT), made the claim as the team published interim findings on how the construction industry can meet future carbon reduction targets.

He said “The requirement for low carbon construction is probably the biggest change management programme that the industry has faced since Victorian times.

“The industry and government need to rise to this challenge. Only by working together will the full benefits accrue to the UK economy and help drive the growth and new jobs we all seek.”

Business secretary Lord Mandelson set up the IGT to make sure the construction industry is “fit for purpose for delivering a low carbon future”, according to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Lord Mandelson said of the IGT’s Emerging Findings report: “The construction industry is central to the UK meeting our stretching carbon targets and I welcome the findings from the construction IGT which clearly show they are up to this challenge.

“There are huge business opportunities for growth and green jobs in the low carbon economy which will benefit construction.”

The IGT, which includes construction industry and government experts, says the construction industry will play a vital role in helping the UK cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The report says: “The United Kingdom’s commitment to reduce carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions is now a matter of legal obligation.

“The broad strategy by which this might be achieved, as set out in the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan, makes clear that the implications of a low carbon economy reach deep into every aspect of the construction industry, and the plan depends for its delivery upon the industry working at its best. Over the next 40 years, the Low Carbon Transition Plan is virtually a business plan for construction.”

To read the Emerging Findings report click here.

The IGT’s final report, including recommendations to government to help develop policy, is due by the end of 2010.

David Gibbs

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