Government launches Net-Zero Strategy ahead of COP26

Government launches Net-Zero Strategy ahead of COP26

BLOG · BY TTF CEO DAVID HOPKINS · 22 October

The government launched its widely anticipated ‘Net Zero Strategy’ this week, outlining the UK’s plan to become net-zero by 2050.

The strategy should come as welcome news for those of us in the timber industry, with the government providing a concrete commitment to using more timber in construction.

The report states the government recognises the potential of timber usage as a means of reducing embodied carbon in construction. The report also lays out a set of policies that will “promote the safe use of timber in construction” –  this can be viewed in more detail on page 178 of the report.

The report, however, must be viewed as a good start rather than an achieved objective.

We note the government’s commitment to timber remains restricted to low-rise buildings, following the proposal to ban the use of combustible materials in external walls above 11 metres in 2020. These types of policies send a poor message to the market, and the government must look at this again in light of their climate commitments.

As we have said repeatedly, structural timber is not cladding. Further, when looking around the world we can see tall timber construction is on the rise, with the likes of Sweden showing we can employ timber across nearly any building type to create structures that are sustainable, fire-safe, and beautiful.

The government also needs to address a chronic skills shortage in the economy if we are to “build back greener” with timber.

Post-Brexit immigration, an ageing population, and a lack of adequate practical education programs all risk leaving us short of the labour required for significant timber construction.

Away from policy, the much-anticipated World of Wood Festival kicks off next week with our online launch on Tuesday 26 October, and London launch on Thursday 28 October.

You can now sign up for all of the events, which are viewable on our Eventbrite profile.

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