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Cutting carbon emissions offers “major economic opportunity”

Business leaders of more than 50 major companies and business groups from the construction and property industry have joined forces to highlight to Government the “major economic opportunity” offered by reducing carbon emissions from buildings.

In an open letter to the Chancellor George Osborne, published today in The Daily Telegraph, the leaders of 55 organisations - including BAM Construct, Barratt Developments, E.ON, Saint-Gobain and Whitbread - say there is a “remarkable degree of consensus” on the business case for tackling emissions.

They argue the building sector provides “cost-effective carbon reductions” which not only present opportunities for major economic growth but also contribute to on-going economic recovery and deficit reduction.

The Conservative Party Manifesto pledged that a Conservative Government would “cut emissions as cost-effectively as possible” to meet the UK’s climate change targets.

This letter, published in the second week of the new Government, aims to ensure that energy efficiency in buildings is included in the Government’s long-term economic plan.

In the letter, the leaders write: “Building energy efficiency stimulates economic activity, strengthens our international competitiveness and creates thousands of jobs across the UK, mostly with small local businesses. It lowers costs for businesses and householders, and reduces the burden on the NHS. And as a more cost effective means of meeting demand than building new generating capacity, it is also crucial in safeguarding our energy security.”

UK Green Building Council chief executive Julie Hirigoyen said: “Business leaders already recognise the importance of bold energy efficiency and carbon reduction targets - not simply because they’re the right thing to do, but because they generate real commercial value for their businesses.

“The new Government has a golden opportunity to put cost effective carbon reductions from buildings at the heart of its economic plan. Ambitious, long-term policies would drive major economic growth and job creation, reduce energy bills for homes and businesses, and strengthen the UK’s energy security. This is a win-win-win for people, the environment and the economy.”

The business leaders set out four, long term policies which are needed to provide clarity for the sector:

  • Recognise energy efficiency as a national infrastructure priority and allocate infrastructure funds to catalyse a national retrofit programme
  • Deliver on the commitment for all new homes and all new non-domestic buildings to be zero carbon from 2016 and 2019 respectively
  • Ensure that Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for the private rented sector from 2018 are effectively enforced
  • Outline how the Government intends to meet the third and fourth carbon budgets, and introduce an ambitious fifth carbon budget

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