Risk taking and bold vision are key to climate action
22 October 2007
Our briefing paper Sustainable design, climate change and the built environment identifies what the public and private sectors must do to meet carbon reduction targets.
CABE has set out its stall on sustainable design, with a new briefing paper, Sustainable design, climate change and the built environment. It has identified a raft of measures needed to in order to meet the carbon reduction targets (80% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 according to the Stern Review).
These measures include: much stronger leadership from the public sector, which procures over £150 billion of buildings, goods and services each year; recognition of the central role of urban design and urban management in climate change strategies; and a far greater scale and sufficiency of action for building and refurbishment programmes.
It has also identified some of the changes needed within industry and the private sector. CABE believes, for instance, that all UK-based multi-national construction groups should undertake an ecological and carbon footprint of their operations and publish the results.
CABE design reviews 400 significant schemes a year, yet it has only seen five housing schemes and masterplans which show any real ambition for sustainability. They are One Gallions in Newham, East London; Middlehaven in Middlesbrough; New Islington in East Manchester; Waterlooville, Hampshire, and Southall Gasworks in Ealing, West London. Undoubtedly there are others out there, which haven't been seen at CABE's design review, but such a paucity a full five years on from eco village BedZED's opening in south London is still salutary.
Richard Simmons, CABE chief executive, said
"One of the key barriers is a lack of willingness by both the public and private sectors to take risks at a time when risk taking and a bold vision are exactly what is required. The result is that change is not being effected on a big enough scale to make a difference. We have to embark on a radical restructuring of the built environment and the economic models that drive decision-making."