A new Aldersgate Group report, Building Britain, suggests that progress has been made by Government in shaping the regulatory and fiscal framework for sustainable buildings in the UK. However, the industry's prospects of delivering on carbon reduction targets whilst remaining competitive is still somewhat hampered by a lack of clarity, consistency and effective enforcement.
Jon Lovell, Director of Sustainability at Drivers Jonas Deloitte, who authored the report, said: "With the rising cost of energy having such a clear impact on the bottom line of business, and on the health and well being of a growing proportion of society, the government must re-double its efforts in pushing forward with a joined-up programme of effective and proportionate regulation, particularly on the efficiency agenda."
See coverage in the Guardian here.
An open letter to Ed Davey was published in the Sunday Telegraph (12th February), signed by the AG alongside key businesses. It supports the need for credible long-term policies and vocal ministerial support across Government, to give businesses sufficient certainty to invest in the UK's transition to a low carbon economy. Other signatories included Kingfisher, M&S, National Grid, RSA, Thames Water, Unilever, Vodafone and WWF.
The Aldersgate Group's lead on best-value regulation, Terry A'Hearn, has told the Cambridge Sustainability Network that we need to reinvent our regulatory systems in face of new challenges.
He said, "We need a regulatory revolution because the nature of the challenges societies must confront in the 21st century is fundamentally different from those of the 20th century. The major challenges of the 21st century are systemic in nature. They will throw into question the resilience of our systems." New regulations should reduce public expenditure and be made redundant through its own success over a 10-year period, as well as increase profitability to business.
Speaking at an Aldersgate Group (AG) event, the DECC Shadow Secretary of State has challenged the Coalition Government's green credentials and called for an industrial strategy to promote green growth. She argued against the view that economic growth and environmental sustainability are inherently irreconcilable saying, "We can grow our economy and benefit the planet."
To read the Guardian article covering this speech, click here.
The Aldersgate Group and UK Green Building council have urged the Education Secretary not to scrap BREEAM requirement for new schools. In a joint letter to Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, they argue that the cost of a school achieving an "excellent" BREEAM standard would be far outweighed by the resulting saving on energy bills.
For more information, see the Guardian coverage here.
Following the news that Chris Huhne has resigned from Cabinet, the Guardian has reported that he won plaudits from many in the green movement who saw him fight for his department, DECC, against sceptics in the Treasury and secure vital funds for key projects despite dismal government finances.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: "His biggest success has been winning the argument with cabinet colleagues on the fourth carbon budget [which strengthened the UK's carbon-cutting targets up to 2027] – demonstrating that ambitious carbon cuts through the 2020s can benefit both the environment and the economy. He has also managed to get major concessions from the Treasury regarding the green investment bank, ensuring that it will have £3bn in initial funding in spite of severe fiscal constraints."
For full article, click here.