Construction and property firms urge ‘resilient’ Covid-19 recovery

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Construction and property firms including Buro Happold, Willmott Dixon and Arup are among more than 200 business leaders who have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for a ‘clean, inclusive and resilient’ recovery from coronavirus

The letter has been coordinated by the Prince of Wales’ Corporate Leaders Group in collaboration with the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC).

It states: “With the UK facing major economic and social concerns, including the risk of high unemployment and rising regional inequality, we believe that an ambitious, low carbon grown and environmental improvement agenda can do a lot to address these concerns, as well as make the UK economy better prepared to deal with future shocks, such as those related to climate change.”

It calls on the PM to provide a clear vision for government recovery efforts, ensuring they:

  • Drive investment in low carbon innovation, infrastructure and industries, as well as improve resilience to future environmental risks. This should include a combination of targeted public investment and clear policy signals to support growing private sector investment, such as tax incentives and carbon pricing.
  • Focus support on sectors and activities that can best support sustainable growth, increased job creation and accelerate both the recovery and the decarbonisation of the economy. For example, building construction, renovation and energy efficiency, low-carbon power and mobility infrastructure, natural environmental improvements, and innovation to decarbonise hard to abate sectors.
  • Include within financial support packages measures to ensure receiving businesses are well managed and their strategies are science based and aligned with national climate goals.

Other signatories to the letter include HSBC UK, Heathrow Airport and the British Property Federation.

A pivotal role in helping the country

Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive of the UKGBC, said: “A clean, inclusive and resilient recovery from coronavirus is vital if we are to learn the lessons from this health emergency and ramp up action to tackle the climate and ecological crisis, and reduce social inequality.

“The built environment can play a pivotal role in helping the country to build back better. We can unlock huge opportunities for resilient recovery through measures such as introducing ambitious new build standards, prioritising home energy efficiency and investing in urban greening.”

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