John Colley, president of the Construction Products Association, has urged the government to set long-term targets for reductions in carbon in the built environment.

He told a fringe meeting that people were beginning to realise that in terms of sustainability the construction industry was not the problem but the solution. It had the ability to regenerate urban areas, develop efficient transport systems and deliver energy-efficient housing.

Colley said the government ought to make more effort to help the industry meet the challenge of climate change and deliver sustainable construction.

He urged the government to provide long-term targets with five-year milestones.

Colley said: “The government is trying to micromanage the industry with too many conflicting and overlapping initiatives, setting targets that have too short a timeframe and are subject to review, and leaving critical decisions to the last minute.”

He said the government should also focus on opportunities for energy reduction in existing stock and encourage people to take notice of the energy performance certificates to be introduced in June.

He said this could be done through the introduction of financial incentives, adding that this ought to be a priority for this year’s pre-Budget report.

Colley also advised the government to sort out the confusion surrounding byproducts from one industry that could be of value to another.

Gordon Brown has pledged to introduce incentives for UK companies to train British workers if he becomes the next prime minister. Brown said more needed to be done to ensure that UK industry did not rely on migrant labour.