Reforming the planning system and investing in house building are welcome and long-overdue initiatives, but they must be accompanied by a green revolution in the UK’s construction industry.
The property sector is one of the biggest carbon emitters in the UK. If we are going to accelerate house building on an industrial scale and want to significantly reduce carbon emissions at the same time, we need to replace carbon-heavy building materials, like steel and concrete, with greener and sustainable alternatives.
UK housebuilders need to understand and embrace the full range of modern methods of construction, including investment in offsite manufacturing and the use of sustainable materials.
Construction sectors in Germany, Austria and North America have been leading the green revolution for many years and have successfully transformed the industry by using more sustainable materials, like cross-laminated timber or glulam wood products, which act as carbon-sinks as opposed to carbon-emitters in buildings.
The UK has a successful global design and engineering industry. But if we continue to ignore the global trend to more green and sustainable construction, we will damage our design industry and will struggle to attract the new talents, who will design and build green homes elsewhere in the world.
The Government must now show it is serious about a green revolution and support a transformation of the UK’s construction industry to use more modern, sustainable and productive construction methods.