Peter Head says there has been a lack of action on implementing low carbon construction

The UK will have to make more drastic cuts to carbon emissions if it is to curb climate change, says international consultancy firm Arup. At a specially organised one day event, it said there was now an evidence base that supported the need to make more drastic cuts than those outlined in the recent Climate Change Bill.

Peter Head, director of Arup and head of its planning and integrated urbanism, said: “The point about cuts is that we believe the concensus on emissions in Europe is moving to 80% by 2050”.

The Climate Change Bill which was launched in March of this year set legally binding targets for a 60% reduction on UK 1990 carbon emissions by 2050, with an interim target of 26-32% by 2020. Evidence, including carbon emissions projections for London, has shown that if cuts are to be effective they must be raised to 80% by 2050.

Head also added that there was growing frustration at a lack of action on the ground with implementing a low carbon built environment. The One Big Day event, the first of its kind to be held by the firm, brought together a broad range of businesses and government bodies to explore the vision for a low carbon UK and how this model might be achieved. This included the need for people to live within their ecological footprint and the shift towards a taxation system based on carbon rather than income.

Arup is planning similar national and international events throughout the year. The findings from these will be distilled by Arup and also the Cambridge Programme for Industry, which is compiling a report for the UK and EU governments on a vision for a low carbon future. This will be ready in time for the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen in 2009 when a ‘new’ Kyoto agreement will be finalised.