must undergo huge change to meet the low carbon challenge
industry faces the largest change management programme since
Victorian times if it is to meet the low carbon agenda, according
to an industry report published today.
The Innovation and Growth Team (IGT), which is drawn from the
construction industry, was tasked by the government to consider
how the construction sector could meet the low carbon agenda and
the IGT today published its report.
The report said the construction industry had engaged positively
with the sustainability issue with many examples of cutting-edge practice.
But 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.
The report highlights four themes that government and industry
need to engage on to rise to the carbon challenge:
The potential size of the market – meeting the UK’s commitment
to reducing carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions will affect
every aspect of the built environment. The scale of the necessary
change is considerable but there is much that could be done now,
particularly with the existing building stock.
Opportunities for SMEs – transforming the built environment to
low carbon could provide the industry with a 40 year programme of
work and act as a springboard to growth for more than 200,000
small businesses in the sector.
The wider green economy benefits – the green economy represents
an area of substantial potential growth for the UK. Creating a low
carbon construction industry would develop skills and expertise
that would be of great value to other sectors.
Stimulating demand – there would be little point in developing
the necessary capacity and skills if the demand for low carbon was
not there. Government and industry need to work closely together
to identify the best ways to stimulate the market for low carbon
and energy efficiency measures.
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
The report will now be considered by the Government, which will
respond to the recommendations next year.
Construction Minister Mark Prisk said:
“This report is a valuable contribution to the debate around how
the construction industry can play its part in the UK meeting its
low carbon responsibilities.
“We will carefully consider this important document and the
government will respond to these detailed recommendations next year.
“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 low carbon construction agenda is an issue that goes across
Government and report addresses various Government departments.
Communities Minister Andrew Stunell said:
"I welcome this report from Paul Morrell and the IGT. As
we look to make building regulations easier to understand and
follow, his recommendations will certainly be worthy of serious consideration.
"The Government wants to make it easier for
housebuilders to go green. That's why we're
already scrapping a myriad of regulations so the construction
industry has one simple and concise set of guidelines for
environmental assessments, making it user friendly, removing
excessive red tape while also ensuring that the environment can be protected."
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