Business growth is critical to securing a low carbon future.

Making the business case for low carbon is the key to ensuring that the UK maintains its position as one of the world’s leading innovators in sustainable construction solutions, construction minister Michael Fallon tells industry bosses.

Carbon emissions in the UK Built Environment

Announcing support for the joint government-industry Green Construction Board to continue for another two years, Fallon said the Board’s work was “unfinished business” and urged the industry to work with government to embrace the opportunity that low carbon construction offered.

“A strong, vibrant, innovative and efficient construction sector is central to the on-going prosperity and economic social and environmental sustainability of the UK,” he said.  

“We might not always agree how but we know that we do need to decarbonise our economy,” he added. “We have a legally binding commitment as a country and we need to shift to energy efficient models and that can only boost construction sector business and opportunities.”

Fallon will continue to jointly chair the Green Construction Board with Skanska chief executive Mike Putman and work with the board’s six working groups to provide strategic leadership and monitor the implementation of the actions in the government’s Low Carbon Construction Action Plan.

Fallon pointed specifically to the example of the Infrastructure Carbon Review launched last November as a tangible output from the Board’s work over the last two years to help the industry to understand and plan the way that low carbon solutions can drive business.

“The Infrastructure Carbon Review wears the Treasury’s cloak but the work within it is very much that of the Green Construction Board,’ he said. “That review makes the business case for low carbon and highlights that the drive to low carbon is always about the business case.”

Government can provide a role in providing some leadership but it is business leaders in your companies that have the real power to affect change,” he said.


Construction minister Michael Fallon answers some key questions from industry

Q: How is the construction industry doing [in delivering its industrial strategy] compared to some of the other industrial sectors?

A: Some of these strategies got going earlier in terms of forming partnerships with government...  but I don’t want the construction industry to feel that it is getting behind - there are others that are still further behind. It is heartening to see that there is an emerging consensus that industry and government need to find ways of working together to secure the long term future of these industries. Green construction is certainly one of them.

Q: Looking ahead to an election year do you agree that low carbon is an area where we need to build some consensus around investment. 

A: It is clear that there is no new bucket of money. Even if the government changed in 2015 it would still have to live within [financial] constraints. But I don’t see any lack of enthusiasm for investing long term. We have the brain power, the technology and the research, but we also have the incentive to decarbonise and the opportunity to export across the rest of the world.

Q: Should government do more to ensure that low carbon ideas are embedded into the next generation of infrastructure projects?

A: I think that [identifying] business benefit really was the key insight behind the infrastructure [carbon] review and understanding that business itself would benefit if we went faster and more coherently towards a lower carbon economy. But we are not doing this for reasons of climate change or ideology or anything else. Of course we have commitments but the real driver here is the huge benefit to business.


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