ollowing a statement by PM Theresa May and legislation laid by the government on 12 June, the UK is now on the path to become the first major economy to set net zero emissions target in law. This will amend the Climate Change Act 2008. The UK already leads the world in tackling climate change and government commissioned this advice in October having recognised the need to go even further to limit its effects. In its report, the Committee on Climate Change forecasts significant benefits to public health and savings to the NHS from better air quality and less noise pollution, as well as improved biodiversity. This legislation will mean that the UK is on track to become the first G7 country to legislate for net zero emissions, with other major economies expected to follow suit. But it is imperative that they do actually take action. For that reason, the UK will conduct a further assessment within five years to confirm that other countries are taking similarly ambitious steps, multiplying the effect of the UK’s lead and ensuring that our industries do not face unfair competition. Prime Minister Theresa May said: “As the first country to legislate for long-term climate targets, we can be truly proud of our record in tackling climate change. We have made huge progress in growing our economy and the jobs market while slashing emissions. “Now is the time to go further and faster to safeguard the environment for our children. This country led the world in innovation during the Industrial Revolution, and now we must lead the world to a cleaner, greener form of growth.


UK to end contribution to climate change by 2050 F

“Standing by is not an option. Reaching net zero by 2050 is an ambitious target, but it is crucial that we achieve it to ensure we protect our planet for future generations.” James Robottom, IET Energy and Climate Change Lead, said: “Committing to net-zero by 2050 is a very ambitious and complex challenge, but one that engineers have to be at the heart of. The technology and approaches that will deliver net zero are now understood, which is crucial, but will need strong policy leadership to ensure they are implemented.”

Paul Reeve, ECA director of CSR, commented: “This is the first step on what we hope will be the UK’s journey to net zero carbon. No-one should expect the feat of resolving the UK’s carbon footprint to be anything other than daunting, but the

government has issued a truly remarkable response to the ‘zero carbon’ challenge set out by the CCC in May.

Luke Osborne, ECA Energy Solutions Advisor, commented: “It is great that the outgoing Prime Minister is finally taking a positive step in committing to tackling climate change. However, it must be noted that any recourse to ‘carbon credits’ could be used as a backdoor, allowing the UK to buy success while relying on action from developing nations. The Government therefore needs to focus on reducing UK domestic emissions as much as possible, through measures such as decarbonisation of the grid, and the full electrification of public transport.”

The Heat Pump Association (HPA) has also welcomed the government’s

announcement, however, it also warns that clear policy and a widespread adoption of ultra low-carbon heating systems are urgently required in order for the target to stand a realistic chance of being met. Graham Wright, Chairman of the HPA, said: “We are extremely encouraged by the government’s decision to cut the UK’s emissions to almost zero by 2050, but to achieve this government and industry, collectively, must not ‘take our foot off the gas’. What industry needs now are clear signals, with explicit policy and well communicated pathways to low-carbon heating such as heat pumps.” BSRIA has also welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement. On behalf of its members, and the wider built environment industry, BSRIA is now calling on the government to turn words into deeds and deliver such action.

Peter Tse, business manager, Sustainable Construction Group, BSRIA said: “Government has now acted setting out its zero net carbon stall, leading the global challenge by addressing the UK’s carbon footprint with the decision to implement the recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), creating a legally binding net-zero carbon target for 2050. “The task ahead is truly challenging given the UK is currently significantly behind the targets set out in both fourth and fifth carbon budgets. However, it is encouraging to see many businesses already leading the way, with strong commitments and swift progress and a new Net Zero Taskforce launched to support the private sector’s transition to a net zero carbon future.”

Over 70% of Brits oblivious to indoor air’s deadly impact

ublic awareness of the toxicity of the buildings they live and work in is alarmingly low, with 72 per cent of Brits confirming they know very little or nothing on indoor air quality and its effects. This at a time when poor indoor air quality will contribute to 20,000 premature deaths in Britain every year.


The research commissioned by Veolia, an environmental solutions company, is calling on the government to refine its indoor air quality regulatory guidance, aligned to the World Health Organisation’s. There are solutions available, but the lack of monitoring in buildings, aggravated by limited public awareness will continue to have devastating consequences on our health if we don’t act now.

Richard Kirkman, chief technology and innovation officer, Veolia UK & Ireland said: “We can smell car fumes and sometimes we see dust levels outside, but little is known about invisible indoor air pollution and its potential health effects - thought to be eight times more dangerous than outdoor conditions. “Veolia has been monitoring and studying indoor air at a global level for over a decade, and out of the hundreds of buildings we have audited, over 80 per cent have required some corrective action - in the UK it is no different. Our research shows the public are poorly informed on an issue that will affect each and every one of us - we

spend eight hours a day in the buildings, much longer than we spend commuting.

“Current government advice on indoor air quality is fragmented, ineffective and has been poorly enforced to date. Solutions are available to prevent further indoor air related health impacts, but only if the problem is taken seriously by policy makers and stronger guidelines are imposed. Adopting guidance on indoor air quality will be an important, immediate step in preventing a whole generation from suffering unnecessary ill-health or reduced life expectancy. More on Veolia’s work on indoor air quality can be found online at: /improve-indoor-air-quality


Leading engineering businesses win top industry awards

wenty electrotechnical and engineering services organisations and individuals have been recognised at the 2019 ECA Industry Awards. The ECA showcased some of the key achievements by leading talent in the sector during an impressive awards ceremony. In all, 19 top-performing businesses from across the industry scooped honours at the awards, which were supported by joint headline sponsors LEDVANCE and Electrium. Former ECA President Bill Wright, of W Wright Electrical, also picked up the ‘major contribution to the


industry’ award. Bill was recognised for his decades working tirelessly in the industry to create a fair environment for both employers and employees, and for his dedication to pushing for delivery of good quality apprenticeships. Helen Atkinson, ECA director of member services and awards adjudicator, said: “Many congratulations to those Members who deservedly won this year’s ECA Industry Awards, and also to the highly commended nominees who all submitted impressive entries. We would like to encourage ECA Members who are working on impressive and

innovative projects during 2019, or who are delivering new initiatives, to enter the 2020 awards.” Guests on the night were treated to a range of entertainment, including live music and table magic. Thousands of pounds were also raised for the Electrical Industries Charity during a prize draw. TV personalities Huw Edwards and Alan Dedicoat hosted the proceedings and presented awards to the winning ECA organisations and individuals. Entries for the 2020 awards will open later this year, with details available online soon at

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