Construction industry devises strategy for a sustainable future

Reducing waste on site, using sustainable materials and increasing skills in the workforce are some targets set out for the construction industry in a draft strategy for sustainable construction prepared by the Government and the industry. The proposed joint strategy is now in the consultation stage and aims to help the industry deliver more sustainable construction methods and products. Key aspects of the draft strategy include the following. • Reducing the carbon footprint of activities in the construction sector.
• Producing zero net waste at construction-site level.
• Developing voluntary agreements and initiatives between the construction industry and its clients, with the aim of reducing the carbon footprint and use of resources in the built environment.
• Creating a safer industry by improving skills, boosting the numbers of workers taking part in training programmes and retaining more skilled workers. Stephen Timms, Minister for Construction with the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform, says, ‘Currently, the built environment accounts for around 47% of greenhouse-gas emissions in the UK; construction accounts for 1.5%. Not only must the construction industry rise to the challenge of reducing those emissions, it must also consider how it will adapt its products to deal with the aspects of unavoidable climate change. This strategy is not about introducing new legislation, it is about making existing regulation work better.’ Mike Davies, chairman of the Strategic Forum for Construction, says, ‘The strategy proposes some challenging targets. There are some quick wins and some where longer-term measures need to be in place. To develop a sustainable future, we must combine the processes for improving the built environment with the policies to increase competitiveness, and this will be the key to the success of this strategy.’

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