From our view at Energist HQ, we’ve picked out a handful of politicians who hold key influence over the construction industry, environmental targets and building regulations. Their responsibilities sit directly above what we do, and shape our industry moving forward.
He recently replaced Sajid Javid at the top of the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (previously DCLG). With his history in security, Northern Ireland and crime, he is very familiar with some of the responsibilities he now oversees, although construction is a new feather in his cap.
In the same department is Dominic Raab – Minister of State for Housing. Between these two politicians, they look after national and local planning issues, manage social housing and Right to Buy schemes, and look after building safety and regulations (where there is currently a particular focus in light of the Grenfell report). One of the government’s key aims is to ‘fix Britain’s broken housing market’. Part of this means hitting ambitious housing targets to create 300,000 new homes a year – a target which we’re still a long way from hitting.
The MHCLG targets how many houses we build, and how we do it to meet both planning targets and building regulations – clearly a key cog in the smooth running of our industry.
Dame Judith Hackitt:
Following the Grenfell tragedy, an independent review of all building regulations was established, and Dame Hackitt was put in charge of this. Over the past year, every section of Building Regulations has been put under the spotlight and checked for clarity, responsibility and relevance. The final document was released this week, which we will review in more detail shortly, but she has already commented that current regulations are not fit for purpose. At one extremity, the final conclusions could recommend a complete rewrite of all building regulations.
On the flip-side, the recommendations may only focus on certain sections (such as fire safety).
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
Another department we follow closely is the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Greg Clark sits at the top, and covers, among other things, providing the UK with clean, reliable energy, tackling climate change and decarbonising our energy supply. He is supported in this by the Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, Claire Perry.
We’re familiar with Government commitments to phase at petrol and diesel cars. In the energy markets, coal and oil are also on the way out. More wind farms, solar farms and nuclear power stations will bring the carbon intensity of electricity down. There is also research ongoing on how to reduce the carbon footprint of mains gas – pumping in hydrogen seems to be one of the favourite plans to date. The greener our energy supply becomes, the lower carbon footprint our buildings will create year on year.
We like to keep tabs on new Government policies, and are always looking out for regulations changes. This means we can keep ourselves, and our clients, one step ahead.