Radical reform needed for 40-year low carbon plan

Aaron Morby 12 years ago

Construction tsar Paul Morrell has called for a radical reform programme and tighter partnership between industry and Government to deliver ambitious low carbon plans.

Launching his long-awaited report into how construction can deliver a low carbon economy, he warned the industry faces the largest change management programme since Victorian times.

Morrell said: “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 complex issue.”

The report said the construction industry had engaged positively with the sustainability issue with new cutting-edge practices being implemented across the country.

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.

    • meeting the UK’s commitment to reducing carbon will affect every aspect of the built environment, with a focus needed now on the existing built stock
    • it could provide construction SMEs with a 40 year programme of work and act as a springboard to growth for more than 200,000 small businesses in the sector
    • Creating a low carbon construction industry would develop skills and expertise that would be of great value to other sectors
    • Government and industry need to work closely together to identify the best ways to stimulate the demand for low carbon and energy efficiency measures.
  • Morrell’s four key findings

Construction Minister Mark Prisk said: “We will carefully consider this important document and the government will respond to these detailed recommendations next year.

“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.”

Construction Products Association chief executive Michael Ankers said: “This report provides an enormous opportunity and there is a 40 year programme of work out there for those capable of seizing the opportunities this presents.

“The report sets out a very exciting agenda for the construction industry, but it makes clear that without decisive leadership and co-operation between different parts of the industry, and between industry and government, we will not achieve the benefits for the construction industry and the wider UK economy.

He added: “The biggest challenge undoubtedly lies in making our existing buildings more energy efficient.

“Whilst energy efficiency products and solutions have been available for some time, there is still a need for the consumer to understand and grasp the opportunities to considerably improve the carbon performance of their homes.

“We particularly welcome the recommendation that an existing homes hub is established similar to the Zero Carbon Hub that is working so successfully to develop the programme for delivering all new homes to a zero carbon standard by 2016.

Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) President, Peter Hansford warned that the regulatory conditions first needed to be in place to succeed in the move to a low-carbon economy.

“Aspects of the current framework lack long term vision and do little to encourage behavioural change. Close collaboration between industry and Government will be fundamental in overcoming regulatory barriers.

“Government must also take a lead role in making sure these goals become reality. The long awaited National Infrastructure Plan and today’s IGT report are extremely welcome, but they are just a start.”

Brian Berry, Director of External Affairs at the FMB said: “The recommendation to apply additional fiscal incentives to deliver the Green Deal is an essential one because without such incentives this flagship policy has little hope of success.

“Cutting the rate of VAT on energy efficient repairs would be the most obvious and simplest choice to kickstart the retrofit market.”

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