Construction sector key to UK’s low carbon economy shift says Fallon

Energy minister Michael Fallon has stressed the important role the construction industry will play in ensuring the UK meets its carbon reduction commitments and reassured the sector that "growth will come".

Speaking at global construction company CEMEX’s book launch last night, Fallon said the construction industry will be the key sector to lift the UK out of the economic downturn and help it transition to a low carbon economy, mainly through innovative products and solutions coming out of the sector.

The output of the construction industry is more than £40bn a year in the UK with 10% of this figure exported. More than 300,000 work in the sector across 20,000 companies.

“There are challenges the sector faces in our current economic climate to maintain the capacity for future growth, a perennial challenge for construction when you’re coping with reduced demand,” said Fallon.

“But growth is going to come, I can’t predict when it will come, but we will need the construction industry to supply the infrastructure that we need to lead this economy out of the downturn,” he added.

The minister spoke of the Governments work with the construction industry and highlighted some of its plans to stabilise the sector, including the launch of the Industrial Strategy for Construction.

“Working in partnership with industry, the Government’s new Industrial Strategy for Construction will set out our long term approach to supporting business, to give the industry further confidence for investment and growth,” said Fallon.

Set for launch in the summer, the Industrial Strategy for Construction will build on the work of the green construction boards as to how to achieve a low carbon economy.

According to Fallon, the Government has already been working for the benefit of the sector with reductions in corporation tax and the elimination of the energy level affecting ceramics, steel, glass and cement.

However, CEMEX’s sustainability director Andy Spencer told edie that although some Government legislation, such as eliminating energy levels for parts of the industry, had benefited the sector, others have caused barriers.

“There are elements of legislation that are very challenging, for example some of the UK specific green taxation measures are making it quite difficult from a competitiveness point of view for the longer-term, in terms of more energy intensive cement manufacturing,” said Spencer.

Leigh Stringer

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