There has been: “Good progress” in pushing a sustainable agenda in the construction industry according to a new government report.
The report gives its verdict on the 2008 Strategy for Sustainable Construction, which aimed to change the way infrastructure was designed and built.
‘Significant achievements’ have been made in the last year with the passing of the Climate Change Act, developments under the ‘New Industry New Jobs’ initiative, publication of the ‘Low Carbon Industrial Strategy’, and the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan.
The report suggested that industry and government had worked well together, for example by 25% of construction organisations signing up to the Halving Waste to Landfill target. The Low Carbon Transition Plan plans to achieve a 34% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the UK by 2020.
Business Minister Ian Lucas said: “This progress report demonstrates the Government’s commitment to put in place measures to drive forward the sustainability agenda and support industry with these aims.
“I am pleased to see we are making steps towards reaching these targets, but there is further work to be done to build on these achievements and reach the overarching goals of the Strategy.”
Economic secretary to the Treasury Ian Pearson said: “We’ve made great strides to develop an effective working relationship with industry to deliver our sustainability objectives, in particular the work led by the Office of Government Commerce on improving the sustainability of the Government’s estate.
“Now our challenge is to maintain this momentum in the face of the current economic climate to ensure we continue to improve the estate and meet our Climate Change Act targets for 2020 and 2050,” he said.
Chief executive of the construction industry council Graham Watts, said: “The first annual progress report from the Delivery Board responsible for rolling out the Strategy for Sustainable Construction shows that much very good work has been done since the strategy was launched in July 2008 but that there remains a great deal yet to do.
“The industry - in its broadest sense - is certainly alive to the need for sustainable construction and to the importance of the Construction Commitments and the progress report serves as a very concise point of reference with which to assess progress and exert more combined effort from government and industry,” he said.
London 2012 construction is also being touted as an example of sustainable construction in action, with the “most comprehensive range of sustainability criteria ever adopted by a large scale project in the UK”. Recycled materials have been used to build the site, and more than half of these have been transported to the site by low carbon transport.
ODA Chairman John Armitt said: “The London 2012 Olympic Park is one of the largest and most complex construction projects in the UK. We made sustainability a key priority from the start and integrated it into every part of the project, from the procurement of contractors, through the design stage and into the construction phase.
“We set ourselves ambitious and challenging targets across a range of criteria which we have been striving to deliver against every day on the site. For example, transporting over half of the materials to the Park by rail, using aggregate and concrete with high recycled content and focussing on minimising, reusing and recycling waste.
“Working in partnership with the contractors, we are raising the bar for the industry and setting new standards for future projects to follow. We still have challenges ahead and there is no complacency about delivering a project that will showcase the UK construction industry to the world.”
Once appointed in November, the strategy will be overseen by the proposed Chief Construction Adviser, whose remit will be to accelerate the it.