Green Construction Board to focus on reducing industry carbon emissions for a further two years

Out-Law News | 13 Feb 2014 | 3:13 pm | 1 min. read

The Green Construction Board (GCB), a joint initiative between the construction industry and Government, is to continue its work for a further two years with a focus on reducing industry carbon emissions.

The announcement was made at an event to mark the second anniversary of the initiative. The Government's industrial strategy for construction, 'Construction 2025', appointed the GCB to help deliver a targeted 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment by 2025.

"The GCB is a good example of how our industrial strategy is bringing together government and industry leaders to work in partnership and really listen to each other," said Michael Fallon, the business minister. "This will see us address key issues in construction, such as carbon emissions, as well as understanding and capitalising on the prospects for growth."

Set up in October 2011, the GCB aims to lead on carbon emissions reduction and low carbon growth opportunities in the construction sector, as well as monitor the implementation of actions in the Low Carbon Construction Action Plan. It is chaired by Michael Fallon and Mike Putnam, president of Skanska UK. The GCB's work brings together industry and government representatives across seven working groups which focus on issues such as valuation and demand, infrastructure, buildings, promotion and knowledge and skills.

One of the GCB's notable recent successes was the production of the Infrastructure Carbon Review, which was published in November 2013. This initiative, which has already been backed by the Highways Agency, Balfour Beatty and the National Grid, aims to reduce the level of carbon emissions caused by the construction and operation of infrastructure projects by as much as 24 million tonnes by 2050. It sets out a series of actions for clients, suppliers and the Government, including commitments to cut the volume of materials used in construction and to use existing resources more efficiently.

The Government's industrial strategy for construction, published in June 2013, sets out 10 joint commitments to "radically transform" the sector over the next decade. It targets a 33% reduction in both initial construction costs and whole life costs; a 50% reduction in the overall time taken from inception to completion of new build and refurbished assets; a 50% reduction in the 'trade gap' between imports and exports of construction products and materials' and a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, all by 2025.

The UK has a legally-binding commitment to cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. Although there are no sector-specific targets, currently infrastructure and related sectors such as energy account for around half of the country's total emissions.