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Government Carbon Plan maps out sustainable construction timetable

The government has signalled its intention to boost green construction projects with the publication of a draft Carbon Plan.

It has restated its support for the renewables industry, which will be worth billions of pounds over the coming decade.

The Carbon Plan sets out a timetable for several important low-carbon milestones. It promises legislation next month to allow the setting of a carbon floor price, boosting plans for new nuclear power stations.

The government will also award a £1bn contract for the first UK carbon capture and storage demonstration project by December, as well as seeking to invest in further projects by May 2012.

An initial design for the Green Investment Bank will be published in May, with operation of the bank set to start in September 2012. In a major boost for the Green Deal, an accreditation scheme will be unveiled in September.

The plan’s foreword, signed by Prime Minister David Cameron, said: “We must see a dramatic shift away from fossil fuels and towards low-carbon alternatives - renewable energy; new, unsubsidised nuclear power; and fossil fuel power stations fitted with carbon capture and storage.”

UK Green Building Council chief executive Paul King said: “The government’s Carbon Plan is a big step towards providing a coherent narrative on carbon right across disparate policy areas, which will help provide some clarity for those wanting to invest in low-carbon products and services.”

Willmott Dixon head of sustainability division Robert Lambe (pictured) said the plan was encouraging as an extensive piece of work that showed the government was committed to making the Green Deal a success.

On the commitment to a carbon floor price, he said: “The lack of carbon and accurate fuel pricing can be a barrier to investors who are trying to consider long or medium-term returns for investing in schemes like renewable energy, so carbon pricing will be a market driver.”

Electrical Contractors’ Association head of safety and environment Paul Reeve added: “We particularly welcome the plan to put a price on carbon emissions, which is almost certain to stimulate energy-saving retrofit work in the commercial sector.”