International, national and local policy
2015 Paris Agreement
The UK government is a signatory of the 2015 Paris Agreement, which commits it to finding ways to reduce emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change (known as nationally determined contributions, or NDCs). The ultimate aim of limiting global warming to between 1.5°C to 2°C and all countries are required to outline and communicate their NDCs in 2020.
Sustainable Development Goals
The Paris Agreement also saw the adoption of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which place sustainability at the heart of economic growth. These goals include improving resource efficiency and clean energy, through to protecting biodiversity and improving food security.
Crucially, companies from all sectors of the economy, have pledged their commitment to SDGs, which will naturally influence their procurement decisions. The World Green Building Council has identified nine SDGs that relate directly to the built environment.
UK ‘net zero’ target
In 2019, the UK became the first country to pass laws to end its contribution to global warming by 2050. The target will require the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, compared with the previous target of at least 80% reduction from 1990 levels required under the 2010 Climate Change Act.
UK Industrial Strategy Construction Deal
‘Clean growth’ is central to the government’s Industrial Strategy, which forecasts the potential value of exports from the low carbon economy grow to £170bn a year by 2030. In 2019 the government announced its Industrial Strategy Construction Deal which includes a commitment to halve the energy use of new buildings by 2030, with a focus on digital technology and manufacturing processes.
Resources and waste strategy for England
This strategy sets out how we will preserve material resources by minimising waste, promoting resource efficiency and moving towards a circular economy in England. It sits within the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, which itself sits alongside the Clean Growth Strategy and the Industrial Strategy
The London Plan is the Greater London Authority’s key planning strategy for housing, transport, infrastructure, land development and the environment within the capital. Local development documents produced by each London Borough must be ‘in general conformity’ with the London Plan.
The London Plan has a number of targets related climate change, mitigation and adaptation, including all major development proposals designed to include roof, wall and site planting, especially green roofs and walls where feasible. In fact, the London Plan has helped drive the adoption of green roofs so that the capital accounts for over 40% of the total UK green roof market and ranks eighth in the global league table of green roofs by density.
Manchester, Liverpool and other devolved cities are developing their own equivalent plans.