The North East Construction Industry increases its commitment to becoming England’s Greenest Region

Climate change is the major issue of our time and we stand on the edge of a precipice. No individual or organisation is immune to the challenges that must be faced if we are to avoid irreversible consequences and everyone has a role to play in combating it.

Construction, however, has a greater role than most.

The construction industry represents 10% of UK carbon emissions and directly influences 47% of all national emissions. It is for this reason that Constructing Excellence in the North East (CENE) is continuing to take further action regarding the ever-urgent climate emergency, including aligning with national initiatives, Construction Declare, Retrofirst (AJ) and Co2nstruct Zero.

It is the responsibility of all within the industry to play a part and we believe the North East has the potential to be a leader in decarbonisation. As such, we will be partnering with specialists in delivering global sustainability strategies and we are looking to hold discussions with the SME sector to address what they need help with to decarbonise.

The North East England Construction Industry accepts leadership responsibility for addressing the climate emergency and, in 2020, CENE developed a strategy, OneVoice, alongside the Construction Industry Council North East and Construction Alliance Northeast, led by the North East England Climate Coalition, with the goal of becoming England’s greenest region.

CENE is working diligently to update the OneVoice five-year action plan and it will be unveiled in July 2021, with the Climate Emergency one of three key themes, value and cost and people being the other two. Delivery of the action plan will be led by CENE Climate Change Group and NEECCo Built Environment Group.

The CENE Climate Change Group was developed to bring representatives from across the construction industry to review climate change guidance, commitments and legislation at a regional and national level; review the potential impact on the regional industry and promote climate action through the NEECCo, the OneVoice construction strategy and other CENE initiatives and activities.

Leanne Fletcher, regional sustainability manager – Northern, Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd and lead of the OneVoice Climate Emergency theme, said: “We recognise the construction industry has a significant part to play in addressing the climate emergency and we are committed to working with our clients and our supply chain partners to implement meaningful actions to reduce our impact. As the climate lead within the OneVoice Steering Group, I am pleased to be able to collaborate with the wider industry in the North East to implement a regional action plan, aligning with local, national and international initiatives where they exist and delivering the objectives of the strategy.”

The updated strategy will focus on the four areas it can bring the most value, including measurement, monitoring and reporting, NEE Supplier Map, detailing expertise, materials, suppliers, sub-contractors, technology and initiatives, provision of CPD and learning opportunities to increase awareness, knowledge and skills across the region’s industry and working with construction clients to encourage them to embrace decarbonisation and sustainability in their projects.

Samantha Granger, head of environmental sustainability, Thirteen Group and chair of both CENE Climate Change and NEECCo Built Environment groups, said: “This is a challenge for us all, but if we all work together, we can make impactful changes, which will be beneficial to our customers.

“We can all learn from each other and share in the aspiration of being at the forefront of innovations as we work to achieve our goals of becoming sustainable organisations.”