Responding to the Environmental Audit Committee inquiry on the sustainability of the built environment

Responding to the Environmental Audit Committee inquiry on the sustainability of the built environment

BLOG · BY TTF CEO DAVID HOPKINS · 11 May 2021

The Environmental Audit Committee has launched an inquiry and call for evidence on the sustainability of the built environment. We need your help to get timbers voice heard.

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has repeatedly called for more timber as a route to cutting emissions, science has recognised building with bio-materials as an effective, scalable and viable form of carbon capture and storage, and industry strategies have echoed these facts.

However, despite the wide range of organisations and individuals calling for an increase in the use of wood in construction, this is not being carried through in policy or practice by the UK Government.

This inquiry from the EAC is an excellent opportunity to engage parliament in the debate around timber and sustainable construction; and it is essential the timber industry makes a strong case for itself by providing them the evidence they need to inform more effective policies.

We are providing a response to represent the views of the timber industry, which you can download below. However, we want our members to help strengthen our response and provide the committee evidence along the themes of our key points, which are;

  • The Government has not met the Climate Change Committee’s recommendations to decarbonise the structural fabric of new homes.
  • Embodied carbon emissions from the materials used in construction should be recognised, and prioritised, at the start of any project.
  • Timber is a low-carbon, renewable, and sustainable construction material which is essential to the construction industry reaching its emissions reduction targets.
  • There must be nationally mandated policies and actions to measure and reduce embodied carbon emissions put in place now.
  • Retrofit must be incentivised immediately through a VAT reduction and supported in the long-term through an enduring pipeline of work and national and local strategy.

The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) represents more than four-fifths of the wood supplied and traded in the UK, and as we merge with TRADA to form Timber Development UK, we are growing to encompass the entire supply chain – from forest to specifier.

We have sought to balance our response to provide for the breadth of our membership. We do not doubt there is key evidence which you are aware of or hold which could also be shared with the EAC to strengthen our collective response.

This evidence could be (a) an important study which you think deserves more prominence, (b) your own experiences in the industry, (c) case studies showcasing low-carbon construction using timber, or (d) even barriers preventing low-carbon construction.

Please do shape them within theme of the answers we have suggested in the abbreviated inquiry document we have provided below, and let us know how you respond at lmacandrew@ttf.co.uk.

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