UKGC responds to Boris’s Building Bonanza

“We asked for ‘Build Back Better’, but what we’ve got is ‘Build Build Build’. That was the response of Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive at UKGBC to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s speech today (June 30) outlining plans for the post-COVID economic recovery.

“If we do not seize this moment, and take the opportunity to underpin our recovery plans with climate ambition, we will not achieve our target of net zero emissions by 2050,” she said. “Yet the plans announced by the PM today make no reference to energy efficiency – perhaps the most urgent of all infrastructure priorities – that can create jobs right around the country, improve health and reduce costs to NHS, and increase consumer spending power by lowering energy bills. All this despite universal support for a national retrofit strategy over the past few weeks from wide ranging industry and academic institutions, and a 2019 manifesto promise of £9bn in insulating our draughty homes.”

Julie Hirigoyen lower
Hirigoyen added: “We welcome a focus on levelling up the fortunes of individuals right across the country through investment in new homes and infrastructure, but a frenzy of building is not equivalent to building back greener. Such investment must be underpinned by the highest quality outcomes including efficiency, net zero emissions, waste avoidance, social value and biodiversity net gain. Yet on the basis of current Building Regulations and planning standards, none of these outcomes would be guaranteed.

“I sincerely hope that the Chancellor’s budget announcement next week will provide much-needed detail on the way this Government will practically ‘build back better’.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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