The UK Green Building Council welcomes the adoption of an ambitious fifth carbon budget and the continued Government commitment to the Climate Change Act. Setting the long term targets for 2050 and the interim milestones of the carbon budgets has so far proven to be very effective in driving down emissions, but in order to continue this momentum the same approach needs to be applied to individual sectors. For the building sector, emissions reductions over the past eight years have primarily been driven by regulation, particularly through product standards and the installation of energy saving measures in homes.

However current or planned policies for the built environment mean that we are not on track to meet the 5th carbon budget. Current projections show that emissions from the built environment will exceed those recommended by the Committee on Climate Change in 2030 by 18 per cent, while from 2030 to 2050 buildings emissions will need to reduce at a much more rapid rate than previously planned.

Encouraging the private sector to take a greater lead in reducing emissions will require much greater clarity about what needs to be achieved from the built environment by 2050. The Committee on Climate Change already produces sector-specific recommendations of the most cost-effective abatement. But in order to provide long term certainty to businesses and investors, the built environment requires mandated emissions reduction targets in line with the carbon budgets with clear milestones and transparent metrics. The policies and delivery mechanisms for achieving these targets will change according to the techniques and technologies that become available, but it is important that a clear overarching direction is maintained to drive action.

To read the full recommendations, download the plan.

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