Govt launches construction strategy

Construction waste heading to landfill will be halved and 25% of materials used in construction projects will be responsibly sourced by 2012 under new Government plans.

The Strategy for Sustainable Construction, unveiled by Business Minister Shriti Vadera last week, is a joint industry and Government initiative to make construction greener.

It also aims to ensure all construction projects costing more than £1m have biodiversity surveys carried out within four years’ time.

Buildings are responsible for almost half of the UK’s carbon emissions, produce about a third of landfill waste and account for a quarter of all raw materials used in the country’s economy.

Announcing the strategy, Baroness Vadera said: “Our aim is to become a world leader in sustainable construction.

“An efficient construction sector is essential for the investment in infrastructure and buildings that underpin our competitiveness.”

Other commitments include additional recruitment of construction workers, more apprenticeships placements and a cut in the number of work-related deaths in the industry.

The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) said the strategy had addressed many of the concerns it raised about the draft version of the strategy, such fears that the targets were not challenging enough.

However, CIOB ambassador Steven Wielebski added: “[It] still fails to acknowledge the potential of decarbonising the industry’s energy supply at source.

“Fifty per cent of the UK’s CO2 emissions come from energy produced from non-renewable sources and is consumed in building services.

“We would argue that addressing this problem at source should be a major priority for Government and for the strategy.”

The Strategic Forum for Construction also published its Construction Commitments to promote best practice across the industry, along with four-year targets to ensure their delivery, to support the strategy.

Key government departments and CIOB were among the first signatories to the commitments.

Forum chairman Mike Davies said: “The Government has taken a lead with a number of key departments already announcing that they will adopt the Commitments, and I want to see every company in the industry demonstrate their support for this agenda by putting their name to the Commitments.”

Kate Martin

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