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UK's new Labour government pledges to prioritise sustainable UK construction

UK's new Labour government pledges to prioritise sustainable UK construction
New Labour government pledges to prioritise sustainable UK construction
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Following the general election results on July 4, and the introduction of a new Labour government in the UK, there is a renewed focus toward sustainable construction and the steps required to deliver on ambitious net zero goals.

The Labour Party, historically known for its progressive policies, has long advocated for green initiatives. Their recent win brings with it a commitment to integrating sustainability into the UK’s infrastructure — a commitment that they plan to deliver through several strategies, significantly influencing the construction industry.

Support for the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM)

Labour’s support for CBAM aims to protect British industries as they decarbonise, preventing countries from deploying low-quality products and materials that are unsustainable into British markets. The new government will try to ensure the institutional framework for policy making reflects their commitments to reach net zero and meet carbon budgets. 

The long-term vision for Labour is to make the UK the ‘green finance capital of the world’, mandating UK-regulated financial institutions including banks, asset managers, pension funds, and insurers to develop and implement credible transition plans that align with the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement. 

Policy changes supporting carbon reduction in UK buildings

Central to Labour’s strategy is the reformation of national building regulations to significantly cut carbon emissions from new and existing buildings. The government is expected to enforce stricter carbon reduction standards in building codes, promoting the use of sustainable materials and renewable energy technologies. These changes aim to make zero-carbon buildings the standard in the UK, reducing the overall environmental impact of the construction sector.

UK to build 300,000 eco-friendly homes annually

A standout pledge from the Labour government is the ambitious commitment to construct 300,000 eco-friendly new homes each year, designed to be examples of energy efficiency and low carbon usage. This initiative aims to ensure that the surge in housing does not come at an environmental cost. The Labour manifesto states that each home will be built to the highest sustainability standards, featuring renewable energy systems, advanced thermal insulation, and smart energy management technologies to minimise carbon footprints.

Enhancing skills for a green UK construction sector

Acknowledging the need for a skilled workforce that can deliver on these high standards of sustainable construction, the Labour government wants to prioritise education and training. Specialised programs aimed at training builders, architects, and engineers in green construction practices are being rolled out, and these programs focus on the latest sustainable techniques and technologies to prepare the workforce to meet the demands of a low-carbon construction sector.

Incentives to foster green building practices

To accelerate the adoption of sustainable and low-carbon building practices, the government plans to  introduce a range of incentives. These include tax benefits for construction projects that achieve certain sustainability benchmarks, grants for retrofitting older buildings to improve energy efficiency, and subsidies for the use of eco-friendly materials and technologies in both public and private sector constructions.

Labour commits to collaborate with local governments

The success of these initiatives relies heavily on collaboration between national and local governments. By involving local authorities in the planning and implementation processes, the Labour government wants to ensure that the transition to low-carbon construction is adapted to fit local needs and circumstances, enhancing the effectiveness and acceptance of these policies across diverse regions.

The Labour government’s focused efforts on reducing carbon emissions within the construction sector are a step in the right direction toward environmental stewardship and sustainable development. 

Learn more:

Closing the green skills gap: One Click LCA Academy

Webinar: Secure Your Business for CBAM and the EU’s Green Deal Economy with EPDs

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