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Business Secretary Greg Clark confirmed the agreement yesterday (29 November), in what is the first of several sector deals pledged as part of the Industrial Strategy.

The flagship deal will see the Government invest £170m over three years, with £250m coming from industry, to commercialise technologies capable of building energy-efficient, cost-effective housing and infrastructure.

Clark said: “The agreement embodies our vision for a modern Industrial Strategy, with government and industry working together in a strategic partnership towards the common goal of higher productivity, and a more skilled construction workforce with more earning power.”

Low-cost, low-carbon

The deal aims to reduce the cost of construction by one-third while halving greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the industry by 2025. This represents a significant commitment, considering that around 33% of UK carbon emissions come from the built environment, while 10% of emissions derive from heating buildings alone.

The Government will also invest £1.4m in a research project aimed at overcoming the barriers to developing low-cost, low-carbon housing. Led by construction firm AECOM, the project will trial innovative methods of building to reduce the environmental impact of UK homes by 2050.

A Centre for Digital Built Britain has also been given the go-ahead by ministers. The new centre at the University of Cambridge aims to deliver reductions in whole-life costs and carbon emissions of buildings, while improving construction productivity by using intelligent building information models and sensing technology.

George Ogleby

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