Impact of Covid presents opportunity for greener building growth

Norfolk and Suffolk is more committed than ever to “low-carbon, inclusive economic growth”, the LEP’s new chair has told its Building Growth sector group.

Speaking at its virtual meeting on 14 October, C-J Green said the impact of Covid-19 on the behaviour of businesses and individuals meant there was a very real opportunity to fulfil the region’s ambition for a greener and more prosperous economy.

More than 100 people joined the online session of Building Growth, which works to drive sustainable economic growth in the construction and development industry and brings together a wide range of committed businesses and organisations, including builders, housing developers, architects, engineers, local authorities plus colleges and universities.

C-J said she had been impressed by the passion and commitment of organisations to work together to make the region one of the best places to live, work, learn and flourish, and the LEP and its partners had a “really clear shared vision to drive low-carbon, inclusive economic growth across Norfolk and Suffolk”.

“The Economic Recovery and Restart Plan saw our local partners commit to supporting the construction sector in particular through continued investment in some key infrastructure projects and we are really pushing to make a compelling case to Government to fund priority schemes for the region,” she said.

“New Anglia LEP has been awarded an additional £32.1million through the Government’s Getting Building Fund, which really is aimed at kickstarting projects across both counties. And it is all required to be delivered by March next year, so we are hoping this will really bolster the sector and keep people in work.

“The pandemic has really demonstrated the need for resilient, adaptable infrastructure and it has changed the way that businesses and communities use services. Lots of our local authorities have declared climate change emergencies and there is more of a commitment to low-carbon growth.

“So, in front of us, there is a real opportunity to accelerate the trend to a greener economy and embedding these adaptations and practices that we’re seeing coming through.”

Saul Humphrey, Chair of Building Growth, welcomed the participation of so many people in the session and the shift in emphasis away from the pandemic to modern methods of construction, sustainable growth, low-carbon and skills.

Other contributors to the discussion were: Richard Bacon, MP for South Norfolk; Joanna Barrett, director of policy and projects at Flagship Group; Tom McGarry, head of stakeholder engagement for EDF Energy’s Sizewell C project; Linn Clabburn, programme director at Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor, and Tim Pike, retired Deputy Agent at Bank Of England.

You can view the meeting here

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