Construction sector and government urged to take action to meet low carbon targets

The government and the construction sector have been urged to make big changes if the UK’s 2050 zero carbon target is to be met. The National Federation of Builders’ major contractors group has called on government to act immediately to address how construction – the largest contributor to UK carbon emissions – can help the UK to meet its stated goals on carbon reduction.

The builders trade body says that with construction directly influencing 47% of UK carbon emissions and 61% of UK waste, the sector is a critical part of the radical change needed. It launched a new report – Transforming Construction for a Low Carbon Future – in which it warns that the industry must be transformed within a generation, otherwise it will have failed the country and the Government will fail in its zero carbon ambitions.

NFB chairman, Nick Sangwin, said, “This Report is not a document to sit on shelves gathering dust. It is designed to galvanise the sector into action, to see the opportunities and to lead the way towards zero carbon by 2050. It is critical that those within the construction sector are stepping forward and implementing a real step-change in the way they do business.”

Mark Wakeford, chair of the NFB’s major contractors group, added: “The year 2050 might seem a long time away but it’s really not much time to radically change our industry. We must start now and the Government, in whatever guise they return, must lead the way and make this a firm priority post-election. Anyone still operating the same way as they are today in 20 years’ time will be lucky to still be in business. There are no excuses: Government, contractors, the supply chain, manufacturers, designers and the trades must all embrace the challenge now, as highlighted in our recommendations.

“To make this happen, domestic housing requires a Government spend of £15bn a year, industrial and commercial property and infrastructure requires up to £10bn a year, flood defences £1bn a year, and the power sector £20bn a year. But it’s about more than just money: the transformation required in the construction industry is multi-faceted and it is critical that Industry and Government take a joined-up approach to bring together developments in skills, procurement, design, products and materials, transport and more.”

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