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Theme: Decarbonising our Economy (taking on the UK’s Grand Challenges)

11 February 2019
Reading Time: 3 mins

Phil Grant, Director. Axis land Partnerships

“……a low carbon future is our future”

“Government policy – that should be at the very heart of bringing forward a sustainable Britain – is notable by its absence, it doesn’t exist.  There are no incentives to encourage the key industry players along a low carbon, environmentally sustainable path.  The result is that the different sectors in the wider development industry, are still not talking to each other enough, they are still focussed on their own issues, still doing their own thing.”

Phil Grant of Axis Land Partnerships, is frustrated by the Government’s lack of policy and incentives to deliver sustainable development and wants the key players in the development sector to work more collaboratively together.

“Axis Land Partnerships are residential land promoters.  It is our job to secure planning permission on land for housing but, in doing so, our quest is to pursue sustainable development, bringing forward the right development in the right places.  Where possible, we are keen to include low carbon technologies, whether that is through energy generation, utilities or construction methods.

“When we first set out to do this, it seemed that the more we looked into it, the more barriers appeared.  Nobody was talking to each other – everyone just seemed to be interested in their ‘bit’, there was no collective approach or interest in the greater good.  In fact, I think people are interested but there are no mechanisms or policy drivers to get everyone out of their silos.  We are all missing a trick because there is a wealth of opportunity here, which will deliver for sustainable communities, deliver for the environment and deliver for the economy.”

Axis takes the view that Business, through collaboration, mindset and commitment, must take a leading role in the transformations that the business environment and the UK economy will face.  However, with the housing shortage being the single biggest issue on the development agenda, too little is being done to encourage high quality, low carbon housing that can be built at pace, supported by the physical and digital infrastructure our communities need. 

Meanwhile, Government incentives have by and large favoured traditional housebuilding methods but this isn’t speeding up the delivery of truly sustainable or affordable homes.  Where are the incentives for low carbon developments?

“There are some fantastic sustainable housing products out there but there are a number of difficulties facing manufacturers bringing them to market on scale. Probably the greatest incentive the Government could offer, is certainty, because it is surely the industry’s biggest issue” continues Phil. 

“Certainty of pipeline would allow modular/offsite manufacturers to invest in large scale production.  It would help investors and housebuilders have confidence that those manufacturers will have capacity to supply at the volume and speed they need to commit to new sustainable construction methods. 

“One opportunity for the Government, is to take greater direct control of affordable housing delivery, taking reliance away from the private sector.  Should they underwrite the risk of modular construction on a large scale, incentivising delivery of thousands of new homes and establishing a new house building industry for the future?  There is a real opportunity to take a different approach.  With the right sort of Government intervention, collectively we have the means to build ourselves out of an uncertain economic period.  In doing so, the industry can deliver what communities, the economy and the environment needs.”