National Federation of Builders call for massive public spending programme to meet 2050 zero-carbon goal


Future governments will need to spend nearly £50bn a year on de-carbonising the UK’s housing stock, infrastructure and the power industry if the country is to meet its zero-carbon target by 2050, a new report argues.

Put together by Major Contractors Group of the National Federation of Builders’ (NFB), the document ‘Transforming Construction for a Low Carbon Future’ said the sector was responsible for 47% of the UK’s carbon emissions and 61% of the country’s waste.

To achieve the goal of zero carbon by 2050, an estimated £15bn will need to be spent on the country’s housing stock every year, with £10bn spent a year on industrial and commercial property and infrastructure.

The power sector would require £20bn and flood defences £1bn annually, the report added.

The report said the construction industry and government needed to take a joined-up approach to tackling the issue “to bring together developments in skills, procurement, design, products and materials, transport and more”.

Mark Wakeford, chair of the NFB’s Major Contractors Group and managing director of Rugby-based contractor Stepnell, said any construction firm operating in 20 years’ time in the same way as they are today “will be lucky to still be in business” .

He added: “There are no excuses: government, contractors, the supply chain, manufacturers, designers and the trades must all embrace the challenge now, as highlighted in our recommendations.”

Key recommendations in the ‘Transforming Construction for a Low Carbon Future’:

Create/adapt a certification scheme to promote and manage the design and retrofit of carbon-saving technology to domestic homes

Encourage main contractors to recognise their role in managing the drive towards a low-carbon future

Government must promote low levels of embedded carbon within the assets they procure and factor in the cost of carbon – an assessment regime the wider industry does not yet possess.

Ensure the industry has the skills to deliver the designed carbon saving – the further education sector will be vital in teaching these skills and the MCG urges the government to adopt recommendations in the Auger Review and channel funds into the FE sector.