A report released today by the Treasury reveals the potential for significant carbon reduction and billion-pound plus cost savings available though improved design, construction, operation and maintenance of UK infrastructure.

Commenting on the publication of the Carbon Infrastructure Review, Martin Baxter, Executive Director - Policy at the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) said: “This report highlights the significant economic and business benefits of cutting carbon associated with infrastructure. There is a huge opportunity to embed carbon reduction across the whole infrastructure sector. Today’s report rightly recognises that investment in low carbon skills are critical to enabling the benefits to be realised”.

The Infrastructure Carbon Review sets out a series of actions for government, clients and suppliers to reduce carbon from the construction and operation of the UK’s infrastructure assets in line with the UK’s climate change commitments. The recommendations have the potential to reduce the emission of up to 24 million tonnes of carbon and save the UK £1.46 billion a year by 2050. The Review is developed jointly by government and industry though the Infrastructure Cost Review and Green Construction Board.

Baxter states that environment and sustainability professionals are “crucial” to realising the carbon and cost saving opportunities highlighted by the report. In 2010, IEMA established principles on considering climate change mitigation in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) - the key assessment process required for major infrastructure projects - and was involved in the development and communication of the European Commission’s guidance on the subject earlier this year. In 2014, IEMA plans to launch new guidance for environment and sustainability professionals to ensure EIA is best-placed to influence the pre-application stage of infrastructure proposals, leading to better-informed design and decision-making.