Contractors urge government to adopt 2050 emissions target

As reported by Construction Manager Magazine: Major contractors were among more than 120 business leaders to write to Prime Minister Theresa May last week to urge the government to adopt a target for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the UK by 2050.

If you’ve been reading the Advantage Construction Insurance blog for a while, firstly a big thank you from the team, and secondly, you’ll know that the dangers of pollution for construction workers has been on our radar this summer.

Of course, we’re not alone in this. For many in the construction sector and beyond, 2019 has turned out to be the year that we’ve gotten even more serious about talking about and tackling the impact of air pollution, especially for those working outdoors, and when climate change has dominated the news.

Clearly, everyone at Advantage Structural Defects Insurance is far too young to recall the days before the UK smoking ban came into effect in all enclosed workplaces in 2007! But at the risk of showing our age, a few of us *may* admit to having a few hazy memories of smoky offices, bars and coffee shops.

Taking a look back on the impact of the smoking ban, Cancer Research UK chief executive Sir Harpal Kumar believes the impact on health will continue to be “huge” and that the ban should be viewed as one of the most important public health measures of recent history.

However, now that workers who were once exposed to smoky workplaces indoors have benefited from that change (with bar workers, for example, experiencing a fall in respiratory illnesses) we’re seeing increasing support for better protection for construction workers and others who work outdoors and so are much more likely to be exposed to roadside pollution.

Last month we reported that: “The British Safety Council has launched a campaign for air pollution to be officially recognised as an occupational health hazard for construction workers and others who worked outdoors.”

And contractors are keen to play their part in cutting emissions. As reported by Construction Manager Magazine: Major contractors were among more than 120 business leaders to write to Prime Minister Theresa May last week to urge the government to adopt a target for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the UK by 2050.

Multiplex, Skanska, and Willmott Dixon were among the contractors to sign the letter, organised by the UK Green Building Council and published in the Financial Times.

Addressed to May, it said:

“We are writing to ask you to act immediately to put in legislation the Committee on Climate Change (CCC)’s recommendation for a UK 2050 net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target.

“However, the credibility of a net-zero target relies on it being rapidly underpinned by a robust set of policies. As you know, priority areas include energy efficiency, accelerating the transition to electric vehicles, advancing the UK’s industrial and power sector decarbonisation, securing reductions from buildings, aviation and shipping, and addressing land use and agriculture.”

The letter highlighted how many signatories were adopting more energy efficient practices, transitioning to electric vehicles, and setting their own net-zero and science-based targets.

But it added:

“We need effective, long-term policies to support the investment and innovation required if the UK is to accelerate the necessary transition and ensure it is delivered fairly.”

Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive at UKGBC said:

“The writing’s on the wall for business and policymakers alike: the time for climate action is now. This letter demonstrates that the climate crisis is rising to the top of boardroom agendas by the sheer number of business heavyweights calling for Government to legislate for a net zero carbon UK.”

We’ll be back soon with more news from the construction sector. In the meantime, thank you for reading!


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Advantage Home Construction Insurance (AHCI) provides structural defects insurance – operating nationally with offices in Warrington, London and Birmingham – offering development-related insurances and a service designed to give customers peace of mind.

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