skip to content

Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction

Transforming infrastructure through smarter information
 

A new report by the Green Construction Board – the net zero and sustainability technical lead for the Construction Leadership Council – warns that the rate at which infrastructure projects are decarbonising is not fast enough to reach the UK government’s 2050 achieving net zero target.

The latest report references the Infrastructure Carbon Review (ICR), published in November 2013 and jointly developed by government and industry, which set out a series of actions for government, clients and suppliers to reduce carbon from the construction and operation of the UK’s infrastructure assets, in line with the UK’s climate change commitments.

This report highlights the work this sector has and is doing to decarbonise infrastructure. However, it also highlights that there is much more to be done if the sector is to transition and align to net zero ambitions. The CLC will work with the industry to address and unlock the steps it needs to make to improve progress; and ensure that our industry is doing what is needed to meet our 2050 net zero target Andy Mitchell, Construction Leadership Council Chairman

The ICR highlighted that infrastructure is responsible for more than half of the national carbon footprint and that UK infrastructure can play a pivotal role in accelerating decarbonisation towards the net-zero aspirations. Since the inception of the ICR, more than 70 organisations have made carbon reduction commitments. Innovations have been brought to market and are being scaled, and an international standard for managing infrastructure carbon, PAS 2080:2016, has been created, providing a common whole life carbon management framework.

Seven years on, the Infrastructure Carbon Review Seven-Year report  assesses industry’s progress to date on decarbonising infrastructure. With reference to a number of industry case studies, the report identifies areas of progress and increasing maturity of decarbonisation in infrastructure projects. However, it concludes that the current rate of progress is unlikely to get us to the net zero carbon transition in time for 2050.

The 42-page report states: “The case studies show that our industry has made progress since 2013, particularly in the water, environment and energy sectors, but also highlight the scale of the challenge ahead and the need for urgent acceleration and much greater ambition if a net-zero carbon UK is to be achieved by 2050.”

Highlighting the need for the UK infrastructure industry to “rapidly gear up to support the UK delivery of net-zero carbon within the next 29 years”, the report sets out eight key considerations towards a net-zero carbon era which include:

• establishing a new cross-sector infrastructure integrator role that directs where and how system decarbonisation is prioritised, including at the interface between sectors

• aligning valuation and procurement with whole-life value and the net-zero carbon objective

• supporting regulatory frameworks to integrate net-zero infrastructure across all sectors

• stimulating research and innovation towards developing a systems-thinking infrastructure approach

• integrating natural capital and land regeneration in the purpose of infrastructure

• embedding carbon leadership and knowledge-sharing

• promoting an exemplar demonstrator programme as a source of inspiration and benchmarking for a net-zero carbon compatible transition

• reviewing and planning for retrofitting decarbonisation and land regeneration in existing infrastructure.

Construction Leadership Council Chairman, Andy Mitchell said: “This report highlights the work this sector has and is doing to decarbonise infrastructure. However, it also highlights that there is much more to be done if the sector is to transition and align to net zero ambitions. The CLC will work with the industry to address and unlock the steps it needs to make to improve progress; and ensure that our industry is doing what is needed to meet our 2050 net zero target.”

 

• Read the full Infrastructure Carbon Review Seven Years On report

• The authors of the Infrastructure Carbon Review Seven Years On report are Terry Ellis (Arup), Maria Manidaki (Mott MacDonald), Heleni Pantelidou (Arup) This report was funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and sponsored by the Green Construction Board

• The Construction Leadership Council’s industry change programme, CO2nstruct Zero, works with the industry to support and drive the change needed in its Construction Activity priorities and set transparent goals and clear actions to achieve net zero goals and decarbonise infrastructure through these recommendations.

• Related links: see CSIC Publishes Carbon Reduction Code

 

Latest news

UKCRIC workshop explores the challenges and opportunities of digitalisation in the built environment

7 May 2021

On Thursday 29 April, CSIC hosted an online workshop for UKCRIC academics and researchers to investigate the challenges and research opportunities around digitalisation in the built environment. Dr Jennifer Schooling, Director of CSIC welcomed delegates and Professor Mark Girolami, Sir Kirby Laing Professor of Civil...

Industry and academia unite to support a new bold Vision for the built environment

6 May 2021

CSIC Director Jennifer Schooling was a member of the Steering Group selected to develop a strategic and collaborative document focusing on the zero-carbon challenge and change agenda of the construction industry. Titled ‘ Our Vision for the built environment ’, and published by the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB)...

CSIC Twitter

 

News

.