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Green Council given the green lightApril 2007

A coalition of developers, builders and designers has created a UK Green Building Council (UK GBC).

Launched in February, the Council aims to provide "leadership and cohesion" to the British green building movement.

The Council's stated mission is to "dramatically improve the sustainability of the built environment by radically transforming the way it is planned, designed, constructed, maintained and operated." Its goals include promoting and developing the UK's environmental assessment tools, transforming the market for sustainable products, and providing "a single, powerful pan-industry voice to government."

Thirty-six construction companies have signed up as founding members of the Council. They include British Land, Lend Lease, Hanson, Fulcrum Consulting, Faber Maunsell, NG Bailey, Land Securities Group, Sir Robert McAlpine, Willmott Dixon Construction and Jones Lang LaSalle.

Speaking at the Council's launch, its chairman, Peter Rogers, promised that the body will set "aggressive targets" to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from construction.

"We will set targets for zero carbon, zero waste and zero water" he said. "We have to set sensible timescales to achieve them, and we need to find ways of making them achievable. But it has to be done quickly.

"We have to do it" he added. "We have to be more effective at tackling the major environmental issues and be more effective at driving change.

"This is not an elite group that will do its own thing," said Rogers. "It's an industry body trying to bring together all the industry's knowledge and skills.

"If we work together, we'll have a much better chance of driving change," he said.

Three committees have already been formed to develop the targets: marketing and membership, technical, and policy and communications. The Council will also be recruiting a Chief Executive.

John Frankiewicz, chief operating officer of Willmott Dixon Construction, said that dealing with construction waste was a major priority for the Council.

"There is a very strong business case for dealing with construction waste," he said. "We're running out of landfill sites. Some people will be proactive, but the others will be forced to react."

Rab Bennetts of architect Bennetts Associates said that the Council will work to improve the in-use performance of buildings.

"We have to encourage a culture of post-occupancy measurements and publishing the results" said Bennetts.

"There is a reluctance that publishing results of a building that is not performing well will reflect badly on us [the designers]. "That has to change - we've got to publish, we've got to become more knowledgeable, and we've got to be less embarrassed about doing so," he added.

For more information contact Roderic Bunn at BSRIA:

Tel: +44 (0) 1344 465600