Building Standards: Talk and Walk

For years, the British Government,of whatever colour, has talked the talk: it commits to 80% carbon reductions, proselytises the need to save energy and talks of a low carbon future that will help mitigate the effect of climate change on our planet. 

The words are good, very laudable and claim to be a shining example to much of the rest of the world. Or at least they would be if reality in any way matched the rhetoric. A country that isn’t shy in exporting eco-smugness and cheerfully lecturing those nations who’ve been doing more than us, for longer should really be trying to walk the walk as well as generating the hot air.

Which we’re not – it’s a sorry, if utterly predictable, observation that the UK’s gap into reality, with policies that are, to put it kindly,  inconsistent, incomplete and utterly ineffective, makes any pretence to leadership in global sustainability completely risible.

The issues seem to be multiple, with belief and intent by those few politicians who understand the gravity of the situation being blocked by the twin curses of a civil service that is both technologically incompetent and where individual careers are rewarded on a default of inaction rather than driving transformational change.

There’s obviously some realisation of this in government, even if they seem to be at a loss to know what to do about it – at least members of the cabinet have, I note, stopped using the phrase “joined-up thinking”.

The UK also has a building industry that is manifestly incapable of delivering on any legislative promises: training, competence, planning and precision apparently being foreign concepts to most builders – we lack the Guild system of places like Germany so we have a building industry which is, at the domestic construction level, technically illiterate.

Meanwhile, environmental taxes disappear into the Treasury’s gaping maw, with no apparent effort being made to address these fundamental structural problems which block progress to real action.



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