UK targets sustainable construction sector

Government defines ten actions to cut environmental impacts, reduce resource use

The UK government today launched a sustainability strategy for the construction sector aimed at persuading builders and designers to improve their environmental and social performance. The strategy defines ten key actions that industry can take to minimise impacts. They include reusing existing structures, improving design to minimise waste and improve energy efficiency, cutting pollution and preserving and enhancing biodiversity.

The government wants the industry to report on its performance and is helping to develop a set of indicators. The next step will be for the sector to prepare its own sustainability plan setting out targets for action. The Government is encouraging all industry sectors to prepare such plans, but to date, the automotive industry is the only one to have risen to this challenge (see separate article in today's issue).

Meanwhile, today's strategy also pledges the government to use its influence as a major purchaser to encourage the construction industry to move towards more sustainable practices. All ministries are to adopt their own action plans within three years, focusing on improved design and reducing life-cycle impacts of projects.

Environmental group the Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) today welcomed the government's move, describing it as a "positive step towards reshaping the construction industry".

Follow Up:
UK environment ministry, tel: +44 20 79 44 30 00, and the strategy: "Building a Better Quality of Life"; CPRE, tel: +44 20 79 76 64 33.

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