Why now is the right time to legislate for green infrastructure – in all new buildings

Langley Green Wall

With drier summers and wetter, milder winters, environmental changes are already affecting the UK’s climate in visible and measurable ways. Met Office figures show that since 1998 we have experienced six of the ten wettest years on record and according to analysis by the University of East Anglia, UK rainfall will continue to increase in intensity for years to come.

This is why our recently appointed new build lead, Simon Griffiths, is calling on the government to urgently legislate for green infrastructure and for all new developments to feature at least one green or sustainable element.

Simon’s calls follow an Autumn Statement, which saw the government pledge to invest in the country’s energy efficiency and make a renewed commitment to a 68% reduction in UK emissions by 2030 as agreed at COP26.

The number of empty roofs currently in development in the UK is frankly a wasted opportunity for our planet and our wellbeing which is why we’re working to support our customers to provide a range of solutions that can improve the sustainability – and appeal – of any new build whatever its function.

We’re calling for all new roofs, wherever possible, to be fitted with at least one of the following: a green or wild roof to enhance an area’s biodiversity, a blue roof to manage rainfall, or a solar or biosolar green roof to generate clean energy.

Langle Eco Solutions

As of June 2022, the government mandated for all new builds with the requirement of associated parking to have electric vehicle charging infrastructure installed during construction. There is currently no obligation to choose an alternative eco element if parking is not required.
Factoring even just a single green roof in a development, for example, designers and owners can reduce the need for artificial cooling in hot weather and therefore reduce the energy requirements for the building’s lifetime. So the question is, how quickly can we get to a future where every new building has at least one suitable element incorporated into its design?

Langley’s calls, if acted upon, would see the UK fall more closely in line with other European countries which have already introduced new laws to ensure future building is turned into an eco-orientated opportunity. Germany has already mandated that from 2023 onwards, solar panels must be installed on all new buildings and, just last week, France created a new law to ensure every car park would see a solar roof added.

The appetite for these changes has well and truly arrived and with continued take-up and innovation, we will continue to see lower price points and greater accessibility.

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