UK legislates for net-zero targets by 2050

Jack Pringle, EMEA regional director at global architects Perkins+Will, and Rory O’Hagan, director of Assael Architecture, responsed to the government legislating for net-zero emissions by 2050.

Jack Pringle, EMEA regional director at global architects Perkins+Will, said:

“The government moving to legislate the net-zero targets by the middle of the century is a truly historic moment for the UK and the planet. Not only will the UK become the first G7 economy to bring net-zero targets into law, but this legislation will send a clear message to all sectors of the economy that the transition is underway and they must get on board if they don’t want to get left behind. Reaching net-zero by 2050 will require far-reaching and disruptive innovation in all ares of the economy – especially within the built environment – but this legislative backbone will help guide, support and stimulate industry to do so, laying the legal blueprint for rapid decarbonisation. While we must applaud this historic moment for what it is, the last thing we should do is rest on our laurels as the race to net-zero is on and there is still a lot to be done to stamp out our emissions. In particular, we still have not developed a systematic method of decarbonising the existing building stock – the most difficult of which is our enormous historic housing stock. The construction industry needs to step up to this challenge and bring to government methods of decarbonising existing stock.”

Rory O’Hagan, director of Assael Architecture, said:

“Creating binding legalisation around decarbonisation will create the momentum and confidence required to help push industry in the right direction. Without a legal blueprint, reaching net-zero for many industries, including ours, would be a messy and most probably painful exercise. But with this leadership from the legislature, a policy envelope can be built upon to create the stability and consistency that industry needs to invest, adopt and implement zero-carbon technologies to ensure a safe climate, with the binding commitments meaning no sector or business can shirk their responsibilities.”

“And business needs to get on with moving towards zero emissions now. There may be some resistance from some who see it as a cost, but frankly it should be embraced as an opportunity given that it will lower life cycle costs and improve longer term margins as not just the UK, but the global economy shifts to being green.”

“It is pleasing to see the UK taking a world leading stance on global issues such as this, especially at a time when short term uncertainty over Brexit dominates so much of our discourse.”