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Construction companies urge reduction in carbon use

More than 50 major companies, including builders merchant chain Travis Perkins, Saint-Gobain, Knauf Insulation and Worcester, Bosch, have united in highlighting to the Government the “major economic opportunity” offered by reducing carbon emissions from buildings.
An open letter to Chancellor George Osborne, signed by leaders of 55 organisations from the construction, retrofitting and property sectors, highlights the opportunities in carbon reduction.

The letter reads: “Energy used in constructing and running homes and other buildings accounts for over a third of Britain’s total emissions. Yet our sector can offer cost-effective carbon reductions that are not only compatible with continuing reduction of the deficit, but also present a major opportunity for economic growth.

“Making buildings energy-efficient stimulates economic activity, strengthens international competitiveness and creates thousands of jobs, mostly with small local businesses. It lowers costs for businesses and householders, and reduces the burden on the NHS. More cost-effective than increasing generation, it safeguards Britain’s energy security.

The leaders strongly welcome the commitments in the Conservative manifesto to support the Climate Change Act and the push for a strong global climate deal in Paris later this year. However, they have warned the Government will also need four long-term policies for the sector.

The letter continues: “First it should recognise energy efficiency as a national infrastructure priority and allocate infrastructure funds for a national retrofit programme.

“Secondly, it should fulfil its commitment to make all new homes zero carbon from 2016 and all new non-domestic buildings so from 2019.

“Thirdly, minimum energy efficiency standards for the private rented sector from 2018 should be effectively enforced.

“Lastly, the Government should outline how it intends to meet the third and fourth “carbon budgets”, and introduce an ambitious fifth carbon budget which is in line with the recommendations from the Committee on Climate Change.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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