New board to lead greener construction

24th June 2011


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  • Public sector ,
  • Procurement ,
  • Local government ,
  • Construction ,
  • Mitigation

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IEMA

Government and construction industry officials will form a Green Construction Board next month to lead the UK's construction sector towards a low-carbon future, business minister Mark Prisk has announced.

The creation of the board is one of the key actions laid out in a joint government and industry low-carbon action plan published this week. It sets out a series of activities that aim to drive greater sustainability across the sector.

The plan includes government commitments to reform public sector procurement to drive best practice including the publication of a National Planning Policy Framework in April 2012, providing clarity for developers, investors and planning authorities and introducing a strong presumption in favour of sustainable development.

The government also pledges to extend the scope of energy performance certificates (EPC) by changing regulatory requirements to include those selling or renting both commercial and domestic properties and to ensure EPC information is included in marketing material for commercial buildings.

Industry groups including the Institute of Civil Engineers, UK Green Building Council and the Strategic Forum for Construction will work alongside the government to research and share best practice, develop a code of practice under the green deal and encourage the uptake of voluntary standards and energy certificates.

The plan was published in response to last year’s report from the construction industry’s Innovation and Growth Team (IGT), which outlined how the sector could cut its emissions.

“Meeting the UK’s commitment to reducing carbon will affect every aspect of the built environment and has the potential to provide the construction industry with a 40 year programme of work creating great opportunities for growth in the sector,” said Prisk.

“We are making a clear commitment to the low carbon transition which will create the certainty needed for construction companies to invest in essential new skills, processes and products.”

The government’s chief construction advisor, Paul Morrell, who led the IGT report, welcomed the report highlighting the importance of the joint public-private sector approach.

“I am delighted the government has taken on board so many of the recommendations from the IGT report which was developed with expertise from across industry,” he said.

“To ensure that construction rises to the low carbon challenge we need to continue this new level of cooperation so I am also pleased that a joint government and industry board has been set up to ensure implementation of this plan.”

Paul King, CEO of the UK Green Building Council, which will play a leading role in implementing the action plan, agreed: “The government has put in place a solid foundation for building a new relationship with industry. The IGT said we needed a shared action plan and joint oversight of that plan – and the government has listened.”

King also welcomed the creation of the Green Construction Board, saying it has the potential to play a pivotal role in joining up both industry and government activities but warned: “For it to be successful, it needs to have a voice – with a genuine mandate to shape the policy landscape and ensure that government is providing the right enabling conditions for industry to invest and deliver.”

Peter Hansford, president of the Institute of Civil Engineers echoed King’s thoughts saying: “To be effective the board will need to be led by someone with significant standing within the construction industry and who commands respect among ministers and government officials.”

To read the low-carbon construction action plan in full, visit the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills website.

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