Climate crisis needs to be focus for new Prime Minister,

New Prime Minster Liz Truss will have to look at three key areas in which to support UK construction, according to the head of one of the industry’s leading bodies.

Andrew Carpenter, chief executive of Constructing Excellence Midlands, says that the new PM – who replaces Boris Johnson after winning a Conservative party leadership vote – will need to be proactive in supporting the construction industry as it looks to help the UK meet its ambitious carbon targets.

Mr Carpenter said: “We were disappointed that during the leadership campaign, neither of the final two candidates put enough emphasis the challenge posed by the climate crisis, but what this means is that there is a real opportunity to pick up the net zero agenda.

“The construction industry is one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions globally, so the opportunities are massive and need to be taken if the UK has any chance of hitting net zero by 2050.

“As an industry, we are actively working on ways to reduce our carbon footprint, but change moves much more swiftly when it is backed by strong legislative leadership.”

Mr Carpenter believes that despite the expected economic downturn, the government needs to continue to invest in infrastructure projects to keep momentum going.

He said: “If you look at what happened particularly during the first Covid lockdown, it was the continued operation of the construction industry that kept UK plc going, with investment in key government-procured projects being what kept the economy ticking over.

“The same needs to be the case with the economic challenges we as a country are now facing. The government needs to continue to create a pipeline of projects that they can influence, be that housing, education, healthcare or nuclear power.”

Carpenter also states that a focus on education and training in the construction industry needs to be a key policy once the new PM’s top team is appointed.

“With an aging workforce and a growing skills gap, construction is one of the many industries that is facing a challenge in getting the right people in the right jobs.

“It’s a huge concern across many different sectors, but once a new construction minister is in place, this needs to be a real key focus as it isn’t a problem with a short-term fix – it will require real collaboration between the public and private sector to get to a solution that works for all.”

For more information on Constructing Excellence Midlands, please visit www.cemidlands.org.