Construction to reduce footprint

The construction industry in the South West of England is set to reduce its carbon footprint as a result of the Sustainable Construction Strategy.

The joint industry and government strategy has been welcomed by the South West of England Regional Development Agency, which has committed to making its investments carbon free by 2013.

This will reduce the construction sector’s carbon footprint as well as its use of natural resources.

The environmental standards set for 2012 include a 50 per cent reduction of construction, demolition and excavation waste to landfill compared to 2008 and better sourcing for construction products. It is estimated that 25 per cent of such products are to be responsibly sourced.

South West RDA’s professional services manager for sustainable construction Mark Wray said: ‘The construction industry contributes £6.1bn to the region’s economy and employs 196,359 people. Every year the South West produces 12.5 million tonnes of construction and demolition waste.

‘However, sustainable construction is not something new for us: we demand high environmental standards in all the developments we invest in across the region and ensure they are constructed to meet the highest levels using the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) standards.’

Business Minister Shriti Vadera added: ‘With the current pressures such as the cost of fuel presenting an extra challenge for the industry, it is even more important that we encourage the sector to perform as efficiently and sustainable as possible.’

‘This strategy, which has uniquely been developed jointly by government and business, will provide greater certainty over what is expected from the sector in future, from training and developing skills to tackling the challenges of climate change.’

The South West RDA also signed up to the Construction Commitments, which sets out principles designed by industry to encourage sustainable construction.