Industry body wants sector to speed up process

The rate at which major infrastructure projects are decarbonising is not fast enough to hit the government’s goal of being net zero by 2050, the Construction Leadership Council has warned.

The Infrastructure Carbon Review (ICR) was published in November 2013 with the call to action to “reduce carbon, reduce cost”.


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Industry is currently not changing fast enough to hit carbon targets, the CLC has warned

Seven years on, the Green Construction Board – the net zero and sustainability technical lead for the CLC – has assessed industry’s progress to date on decarbonising infrastructure.

The report did identify areas of progress but said its current rate meant it was unlikely to get the industry to the net zero carbon transition in time for 2050.

Andy Mitchell, Construction Leadership Council chair, said: “This report highlights the work this sector has and is doing to decarbonise infrastructure. However, it also highlights that there is much more to be done if the sector is to transition and align to net zero ambitions.

“The CLC will work with the industry to address and unlock the steps it needs to make to improve progress; and ensure that our industry is doing what is needed to meet our 2050 net zero target.”

When the ICR was published it said infrastructure was responsible for more than half of the national carbon footprint.

Since, an international standard for managing infrastructure carbon, PAS 2080:2016, has been created, providing a common whole life carbon management framework.

The new stocktake report highlights the significant blockers to faster implementation of decarbonisation and sets out key recommendations for achieving net zero.

It said traditional procurement and commercial approaches still incentivise lowest capital cost, which was holding back progress in decarbonisation.

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The report also said cross-sector collaboration was essential to maximise carbon reduction opportunities and avoid silo working.

It also said more consideration on retrofitting existing infrastructure to be fit for net-zero carbon.

The CLC said through its programme CO2nstruct Zero it would work with the industry to support and drive the change needed.

Earlier today reports emerged that prime minister Boris Johnson will this week set out new climate change targets, committing the UK to cutting carbon emissions by 78% by 2035 compared with 1990 levels. The UK has committed to reducing emissions by 68 per cent by 2030.

Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive at the UK Green Building Council, said: “This is exactly the level of ambition the UK should be displaying if it wants to strengthen its position as a world leader on tackling climate change.

“However, a major shortcoming of previous government targets has been its inability to meet them. We’re currently on track to miss the fourth and fifth carbon budgets, meaning we urgently need the policies and practical solutions which will enable us to deliver on this commitment, not just dream about it.”