UK pushed to set better efficiency targets by business leaders

Over 50 business leaders in the UK have called on the government to set much stricter energy efficiency targets to help reduce carbon emissions and drive investment.

In an open letter addressed to Greg Clark and Sajid Javid, the two Government ministers responsible for overseeing the UK's housing, business, and energy policies, the leaders state that new build standards should be tightened without further delay, while pointing out that the construction and property sector “stands ready to deliver on bold targets for energy performance and low carbon solutions”.

The letter was signed by a wide range of investors, property developers and manufacturers, including the CEOs and heads of Marks & Spencer, The Berkeley Group, The Crown Estate, BAM Nuttall and Heathrow Airport.

The group states that UK buildings currently contribute 30 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions and that tackling this can help meet the commitments of the Paris climate agreement.

“We therefore call on the Government to signal as soon as possible that by 2030 all new buildings should be ‘net zero carbon’, which means reducing all energy use as far as technically possible, with remaining demand met through renewables”, they add.

Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive at the UK Green Building Council, which represents the industry in this area, argues that there is wide consensus on the role the built environment plays in the UK’s carbon emissions.

“Time and again UKGBC members tell me they are looking to Government to provide policy certainty in order to drive investment and catalyse innovation. We have not seen changes to Building Regulations since 2014, and the scrapping of the zero carbon policy in 2015 was both confusing and unnecessary,” she said.

“We’ve heard a lot from government recently on the environmental agenda, with some impressive commitments in the Clean Growth Strategy and the 25 Year Environment Plan. Now it’s time for the government to act on those commitments, with the industry’s backing, and put policy in place to turn their low-carbon aspirations into reality.”

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