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Collaboration is key to city-wide sustainability, says green building council

Words: Laura Edgar

Collaboration between city councils and the private sector will deliver breakthroughs in city-wide sustainability, says the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC).

The charity and membership organisation also said that increasingly devolved cities and regions are “filling the void left by government policy”.

The calls for collaboration followed a two-day summit organised by UK-GBC in partnership with Birmingham City Council, which included workshops attended by business leaders and members.

Birmingham City Council and UK-GBC said they worked together to identify three topics that need to be tackled:

  • How to build a supply chain that can provide the city’s rapidly growing population with new homes and commercial developments that contributed to Birmingham’s sustainability and economic goals;

  • How to achieve energy efficiency and low-carbon retrofit across the city and region, following the demise of previous government-backed schemes; and

  • Integrating nature into new and existing developments, how to do it and how to frame the business case.

John Alker, campaigns and policy director for UK-GBC, said there is a “broad consensus” that cities hold the key to both tackling environmental challenges and delivering a better quality of life for residents.

However, he said, despite “big ambitions, local authorities can’t be expected to deliver this alone”.

“It was abundantly clear over our two-day summit that there is a huge appetite for collaboration from our industry-wide membership, who are brimming with innovative ideas needed to turn this ambition into reality.

“Devolution offers additional promise, but cities need to ensure that powers to influence sustainability are put squarely on the negotiation table. This could help cities offer the long-term vision and certainty over policy direction which is so lacking at a national level.”

Lisa Trickett, Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainability, added that the council’s approach to sustainability focuses on improving residents’ lives by building a “strong economy”.

Image credit | iStock