Think tank of senior figures criticise government policies over investment in green construction skills

A raft of government construction policies have come under fire this week, as the industry shows signs of impatience at the lack of growth and public investment.

The government’s financial approach was criticised by Edge, a think tank including senior figures from engineer Arup, Edward Cullinan Architects and engineer Ramboll, for “actively discouraging” investment in green construction skills.

In a letter to chancellor George Osborne, Edge wrote: “Recent announcements have not only directly damaged businesses gearing up to deliver a low carbon built environment, as is witnessed by the potential loss of 4,500 jobs at Carillion, but, critically, have jeopardised confidence in the robustness and longevity of other government carbon reduction programmes.”

Announcements have jeopardised confidence in carbon reduction programmes

Edge Think Tank

Solar industry heads and MPs also sent a letter this week to prime minister David Cameron complaining about the government’s plans to cut feed-in tariffs for solar electricity in half, which will apply from April 2012 to all installations completed after 12 December.

The letter, signed by 200 solar energy companies, said: “Crucial decisions are being taken now without the Department for Energy and Climate Change reappraising solar’s potential in the light of this striking industry development [30-40% cost reductions in solar equipment]. If the UK is to prosper, decision-making must be based on current data and a clear understanding of benefits - we urge you to ensure this happens.”

Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed construction output fell 2.5% in October compared with September. Public sector non-housing expenditure fell the most with volumes in the last three months falling 12.6% on the same period last year.