Construction report on low carbon challenge

A report today from a construction industry working group set up by the government says that the industry faces a huge challenge to meet the low carbon agenda.

The Innovation and Growth Team (IGT) believes industry has engaged positively with sustainability but needs the largest change management programme since Victorian times.

The Climate Change Act calls for the net UK carbon account in 2050 to at least 80% lower than the 1990 baseline, which will require a ‘quantum change’ in the industry’s response to this challenge, says the document.

Paul Morrell, who led the IGT, said: “Meeting the low carbon agenda is both a challenge and an opportunity for the construction industry.

“It will require radical change to the way we do business as well as government action to meet the scale of the challenge. There are no easy answers.

“I hope this report will mark the start of a detailed collaboration between industry and government to address this complex issue.”

The report says there are opportunities as well as demands for SMEs in transforing the built environment. The work could provide the industry with a 40 year programme of growth for more than 200,000 small businesses in the sector.

Creating a low carbon construction industry would develop skills and expertise that would be of great value to other sectors.

The report calls for the government and industry to work closely together to identify the best ways to stimulate the market for low carbon and energy efficiency measures.

Construction Minister Mark Prisk said: “As a former chartered surveyor I am very much aware of the importance of the construction industry and the opportunity for growth the low carbon agenda represents. Now we need to make the most of that opportunity.

“Success in moving to a low carbon construction industry would provide UK firms with the chance to grow overseas as other countries seek our expertise and skills in this area.”

The report will now be considered by the Government, which will respond to the recommendations next year.

Alison Brown

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