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UK Concrete welcomes Commons Select Committee report

UK Concrete

Public and political advocacy vehicle welcomes MPs’ support for low-carbon cement and concrete

A NEW report from Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee on reducing carbon in construction has been welcomed by UK Concrete, the public and political advocacy vehicle for the UK’s concrete industry.

The Commons Select Committee report ‘Building to net zero: costing carbon in construction’ echoes several UK Concrete key policy recommendations, recognizing the importance of whole-life carbon assessments and the power of public procurement to grow demand for low-carbon cements and concretes.

Published today, the report also highlights the need for further fire safety testing for timber. It goes on to highlight the UK construction industry’s reliance on a high percentage of imports of timber, currently around 80%, whereas more than 95% of UK concrete is produced domestically.

The sustainable qualities of concrete are noted in the report, which recognizes its durability and longevity, its resistance to fire, rot, and flood, and its low maintenance needs. On climate change, the report acknowledges the ‘UK Concrete and Cement Industry Roadmap to Beyond Net Zero’ and the current use of substitutes for clinker, all part UK Concrete’s drive to decarbonize.

The report also references the importance of commitments made by the Government in the Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy that will be necessary to help the industry deliver the Roadmap.

Claire Ackerman, executive director of concrete at the Mineral Products Association, said: ‘We welcome the balanced approach the Committee has taken, and strongly back the recommendations to support whole-life carbon assessments and to drive demand for low-carbon cements and concretes, through public procurement and more widely across the construction sector.

‘The concrete and cement industry has already reduced carbon emissions by more than 50% since 1990, decarbonizing faster than the UK economy as a whole, and we have a robust and credible roadmap to go beyond net zero by 2050. We are seeing positive progress on the delivery of that roadmap by the UK concrete and cement industry, supported in many areas by government funding under the Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy.

‘It is welcome that the report seeks to deliver lower-carbon construction using all materials more efficiently. However, it is very important to recognize that it also falls into the trap of focusing on low-carbon materials rather than low-carbon solutions. The difference matters because, over the whole life of a structure, lower embodied emissions in the materials used to build it may lead to higher overall emissions if they are less energy efficient.’

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