The Committee on Climate Change's (CCC) report to Parliament was published yesterday (25 June 2020) which assesses the UK’s efforts to reduce emissions over the past year. The report also provides specific advice on securing a green and resilient recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s key findings focus on what can be done during these uncertain times and proposed actions for building a resilient recovery.
Key priorities that the report reflects upon include low-carbon retrofits and buildings that are fit for the future, and infrastructure to make it easy for people to walk, cycle, and work remotely. In addition it seeks to identify the opportunities available to support the transition and a green recovery. These opportunities include investing in the UK’s workforce, in lower-carbon behaviours and innovation through various means, such as reskilling/retraining programmes and targeted science and innovation funding. It is therefore important that we are thinking long-term in respect of building resources and supporting our economic wellbeing.
The Committee has also reflected upon implementing a strong set of standards that ensure buildings are designed for a changing climate and deliver high levels of energy efficiency and low-carbon heat for new and existing buildings. What is also significant is the CCC's advice on climate adaption and their proposal to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to set a national target for increasing the area of urban greenspace. This not only seeks to improve environmental conditions but also promote human well-being.
Overall, the report represents a positive step in the right direction in respect of proposed advice and actions that can be taken during the current crisis and going forward. It is worth noting that the recommendations provided are neither prescriptive nor exhaustive, but rather a proposed guide as to how the Cabinet Committee may hold departments to account. Whether or not the advice will be taken on board in the construction industry remains to be seen but undeniably the thinking seems to have refocused and there is a recognition that it is important, especially during these times to strive for a greener, and more sustainable future.
a strong set of standards that ensures buildings are designed for a changing climate and deliver high levels of energy efficiency and low-carbon heat for new and existing buildings