Richard Twinn, Policy Advisor at the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), responds to the publication of an independent assessment of the government’s Clean Growth Strategy for the UK.
In January, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) published an independent assessment of the UK’s Clean Growth Strategy, called ‘From ambition to action’.
Launched in October 2017, the Clean Growth Strategy is government’s plan to grow the nation’s economy while cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Prime Minister, Theresa May has previously said that “Clean growth is not an option, but a duty we owe to the next generation.”
In his foreword in the independent assessment, Lord Deben, CCC Chairman highlights how the publication assesses the Strategy and looks at whether it stacks up against the challenge, whilst also advising on what further action is needed.
There is a real challenge and we stand alongside the CCC in calling for strong policy action from Government
A change of tone
One of the key conclusions is that the strategy aims to show how a low carbon approach can make a positive contribution to the economy rather than being seen as a burden that needs to be minimised.
Lord Debden highlights that the publication of the strategy has changed the tone of the conversation about reducing emissions and has recognised the essential contribution of the low-carbon transition to the economy as a whole.
He also points to the very positive signals showing how we might get to 85% electricity generated from ‘clean’ sources and how we can continue to improve the energy efficiency of the nation’s homes.
Mind the policy gap
Here at UKGBC we welcome the CCC’s independent assessment which not only focuses on where progress is being made but also highlights the significant remaining ‘policy gap’ in current plans, meaning that we’re still not on track to meet our fourth and fifth carbon budgets.
In addition to this, the CCC report highlights the importance of buildings in helping to bridge this policy gap, and we welcome the focus on measures for our sector to achieve vital emissions reductions.
With big new housing targets and some of the draughtiest existing homes in Europe, it’s important we take action now to cut our emissions and make new buildings and infrastructure fit for the future.
Energy from fossil fuels consumed in the construction and operation of the built environment accounts for almost 30% of the UK’s emissions of carbon emissions.
Construction materials account for 19% of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions and 30% of all UK freight transport.
So there is a real challenge and we stand alongside the CCC in calling for strong policy action from Government.
We need robust energy efficiency regulations for rented homes; the introduction of performance-based labelling for commercial buildings; and high standards for new build properties.
It is also essential that an action plan for home energy efficiency is published as soon as possible to give us a fighting chance of meeting our carbon budgets.
In conclusion, we strongly support the CCC in calling for more detailed policy and a clear timeframe to help us minimise risk to the economy and achieve the low-carbon growth we all need.
Richard Twinn is Policy Advisor at UKGBC which campaigns to radically transform the way that the built environment in the UK is planned, designed, constructed, maintained and operated.
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