Axing of the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change has sent shockwaves through the construction industry

By Catherine Sturman
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of The Federation of Master Builders has responded to Theresa Mays recent decision to axe the Department of Energy and Clim...

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of The Federation of Master Builders has responded to Theresa May’s recent decision to axe the Department of Energy and Climate Change, stating that such a move further represents the governments continuing lack of interest in improving energy efficiency within construction.

Berry said: “Three years ago Cameron told his officials to “cut the green crap” and May has taken this further still by dissolving DECC. This means that there will be no Cabinet-level Minister championing climate change issues at the highest level of Government, which is bound to result in less emphasis and less action. Andrea Leadsom’s appointment as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs provides little solace when you consider that she has regularly voted against measures to tackle climate change in the past. This matters because for May’s newly-formed Government to side-line its green policies, would be to sacrifice their numerous economic benefits.”

Berry continued: “May should make improving our existing buildings an infrastructure investment priority as the knock-on benefits for jobs and growth are enormous. A programme to make British buildings more energy efficient would generate £8.7 billion of net benefits. This is comparable to the benefits delivered by the first phase of HS2, Crossrail, smart meter roll out, or investment in new roads. And unlike these large infrastructure projects, work to improve our existing buildings is not at the mercy of the lengthy and protracted planning process – work could start tomorrow.”

In response to the new appointment of Justine Greening and the increased need for education to support the development of young people who wish to develop skills within construction, Berry concluded: “We welcome the appointment of Justine Greening as Secretary of State for Education with responsibility for skills and apprentices, which previously came under the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills […] Greening has a solid background in transport and treasury briefs which will no doubt help her understand the importance of having a properly skilled construction workforce. As we face the prospect of Brexit, combating the construction skills crisis has never been more important.”

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