A new report from the British Property Federation (BPF), has predicted that “existing net zero carbon policy is not sufficient to achieve the 2050 target”.
The report identifies the primary challenges blocking the industry’s decarbonisation progress, urging government to provide “clear long-term policies”, while a lack of clear financial incentive to support retrofitting was hindering net zero commitments.
Property owners and occupiers surveyed by the BPF also rated poor access to quality data as a major barrier, and the industry body has called on Whitehall to set out new data sharing policies, including mandating data sharing of energy consumption between property owners and occupiers of large commercial buildings.
Guy Grainger, president of the BPF and global head of sustainability services and ESG at JLL, reiterated that without new regulation from government, the industry would “continue to fall short of targets”.
“A national commitment without policy is meaningless. The lack of incentives and regulation from government is hindering progress.
“This report aims to set out an actionable set of policies which UK government should take forward to enable the net zero carbon transition at the urgent pace that is needed.”
Melanie Leech, chief executive of the BPF, added: “The property sector is fully committed to decarbonisation but there are huge barriers and costs to overcome. We urge the Government to adopt the policy recommendations in this report and to work with us to make sure we can deliver a net zero built environment by 2050.”
Jason Longhurst, chair of the UK Business Council for Sustainable Development, said it was “concerning that nine in 10 leaders don’t think current government policy will achieve a net zero property sector by 2050.
“This is a target we need to hit – and really it is just the beginning.
“We agree the government should explore options to incentivise change, including zero-rate VAT on residential repairs and reforming capital allowances. Above all we need a sustainable growth policy which is led by the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Paul Jones, director at Ramboll, said he “wasn’t surprised” by the dire outlook.
“The property industry can become net-zero by 2050 but bold investments are needed. There needs to be a radical new approach to the way that infrastructure upgrades are funded.”
Edward Glass, senior associate at Forsters, said it was time for government to “give the industry the regulatory certainty it craves”.
He pointed at government consultations on MEES thresholds and a first mandatory performance-based energy rating system which, despite years having passed, have still not progressed.
“Quite rightly, the BPF are calling this out”, he added.
Jo Wright, UK managing director at architecture firm Perkins&Will, said in order to achieve a net zero sector by 2050 “we can’t rely on government action alone”.
“Together with the wider industry, architects must act ahead of the curve when it comes to embedding sustainability into design.”
Kate Neale, head of sustainability at Cadogan, said the industry would need to make a “collaborative, holistic and long-term approach” to achieve a net zero sector by 2050.
She added: “While central government of course has a vital role to play, at the local level it is the relationship between councils, private business and community that will ensure we reach the UK’s target of net-zero by 2050.”
Alistair Allison, managing partner at TFT, echoed the BPF’s calls urging “government to take on board all policy recommendations to meet our national commitments”.
Richard Kauntze, chief executive of the BCO, said the office sector would have a “significant contribution to make” in meeting net zero targets and that there was an urgent need for robust benchmarks and verifiable data.”
Anastasia Klein, partner and head of ESG at Maples Teesdale, added: ”This compelling and timely research and the recommendations it makes will be of enormous importance to policy makers and the industry alike, addressing key issues such as MEES, carbon management, data sharing, sustainable use and renewable energy.
”Clarity on the proposed amendments to MEES regulations and EPC ratings is essential, the likely changes may have significant impact on the bottom lines of landlord clients and requires time to update stock to the necessary standard.”
Source: Property Week