At over 230 pages, it’s not a quick read, but it is utterly compelling. If you haven’t already done so I strongly recommend you take a while to read the new Low Carbon Construction IGT report by Paul Morrell.

The report and its 65 recommendations call on government to set a framework for action to move UK construction, in all its diverse intricacies, towards a low carbon future.

But the industry has to play its own part: by de-carbonising our businesses; providing people with buildings that enable them to lead more energy-efficient lives; and providing the infrastructure for clean energy and sustainable practices elsewhere in the economy.

It’s a fantastic report, with a very clear, holistic vision for how this can be achieved and the benefits that could come from a 40-year programme of work. The market opportunity for timber is huge.

However, three things bother me. My first concern comes from a certain sense of déjà vu. Do you remember the Urban Taskforce report in 1999? This was another excellent long-term plan for our cities and urban regeneration which, sadly, never quite came to fruition as the civil service stifled any innovation it proposed.

Assuming the IGT recommendations are heeded though, I do question who is going to pay for all the necessary work and what, therefore, will get sacrificed instead. We have finite resources in the economy and there’s an interesting discussion required about what we prioritise and why.

Finally, I worry about the risk of complacency in our own industry which already knows the strength of its carbon argument. Others will be putting in place action plans to de-carbonise further and to get the credit for this, while we may assume we can sit back and wait for the market to come to us.

That cannot be taken for granted. To make the most of a low carbon future we must, like everyone else, look carefully at the suitability of our products, the scale, efficiency and integration of our supply chains, and the skills in our industry. The IGT report provides us with a very clear vision. It’s one we should all read and consider at the very least. 

TTJ Industry Updates are a forum for trade bodies to address key issues.