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To The Editor, The Daily Telegraph

Low-carbon buildings

SIR – George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, claims environmental regulation is a burden and a cost on business. But well-targeted environmental regulation helps British businesses to find energy efficiencies and cost reductions, to develop expertise with export potential and to improve energy security. Such policies are effective in Germany and Switzerland – both weathering the current crisis well.
We are concerned that, in spite of legal commitments to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, recent Government announcements actively discourage the construction and property industries from investing in low-carbon solutions.
These disincentives include ending the recycling of Carbon Reduction Commitment payments into energy-efficiency projects, omitting commercial Display Energy Certificates from the 2011 Energy Act, abrupt changes to feed-in tariff payments, the removal in the Autumn Statement of incentives for energy saving and slowing the pace of carbon reduction to that of the rest of Europe.
Such decisions damage businesses gearing up to deliver low-carbon buildings – the potential loss of 4,500 jobs at Carillion, for example – and undermine industry confidence in the longevity of future carbon-reduction programmes.
The Government must demonstrate its Durban commitments by delivering consistent, credible and integrated policies to make a low-carbon economy a reality.

Robin Nicholson
Convenor, the Edge (think tank)
Andy Ford President, Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers
Angela Brady President, Royal Institute of British Architects
Professor Roger Plank President, Institution of Structural Engineers
Bill Bordass William Bordass Associates
Paddy Conaghan MCIBSE
Dr Francis Duffy Past President RIBA
Simon Foxell RIBA, The Architects Practice
Professor Bill Gething RIBA, Sustainability + Architecture
Dave Hampton FCIOB, The Carbon Coach
Stephen Hill MRICS, C2O futureplanners
Mike Hitchens FICE, IStructE, Pell Frischmann
Professor Paul Jowitt Past President ICE, Heriot Watt University
Francis Li
Richard Lorch RIBA, Building Research & Information
Michael Pawlyn RIBA, Exploration Architecture & Founding Partner, The Sahara Forest Project
Yasmin Shariff RIBA, Dennis Sharp Architects
Adam Poole Buro Happold
Sunand Prasad Past President RIBA. Penoyre+Prasad
Professor Richard Simmons PhD
Simon Smith ICE, Ramboll
Albert Williamson-Taylor FIStructE, AKTII
Chris Twinn FCIBSE, Arup Fellow
Jane Wernick FICE, FIStructE, Jane Wernick Associates

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