Parliamentary group starts inquiry into retrofitting commercial buildings

The first Parliamentary inquiry into retrofitting offices, shops and warehouses with green technology will begin today.

MPs to examine greening existing buildings
The All Party Urban Development Group is to question a group of green experts and property figures on reducing the impact of commercial developments on the environment.

Witnesses will include Paul King, chief executive, UK Green Building Council; Allan Jones, chief executive officer of the London Climate Change Agency; and Hilary Reid Evans, head of sustainability initiatives at Quintain.

Reid Evans said: “We need some innovative and joined-up thinking to ensure we meet this challenge, including a fresh look at capital allowances, fiscal incentives and the planning regime. [Today’s] inquiry provides us with the opportunity to start this process.”

The parliamentary group is chaired by Labour MP Clive Betts, and also includes Nick Raynsford, the former construction minister.

Speaking on the BBC’s Today programme this morning, Liz Peace, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: “We're in a cyclical downturn at the moment and we need some serious fiscal support tax breaks, incentives to allow business to go out and make these highly costly improvements."

Betts, also interviewed on the programme, said: “If we set targets how do we provide incentives for business to meet them? Business also has a responsibility to our society, so we want to find what plan of action is best."