Build Back Better!

We’re getting use to three part Government slogans, but the latest is by far the simplest;  ‘Build Build Build’. This is of course the headline to the Government’s economic recovery  plan to get the country back on its feet as we gradually come out of lockdown. However,  there are increasing clamours for a healthier, greener and fairer economy. Back at the  beginning of June, more than 200 leading UK companies, investors, and organisations called
for a green coronavirus recovery plan in an open letter which urged the government to build  “a more inclusive, stronger and more resilient” path towards building a net zero emission economy. WWF released a report that suggests that the UK can unlock up to £90bn in annual benefits by spurring a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic by focusing on the net-zero transition. And the people seem to agree; a week ago it was announced that an
overwhelming majority of Climate Assembly UK members say Government, employers and  others should support changes to the economy and lifestyles which help achieve the UK’s net zero emissions target.

So alongside ‘Build Build Build’, Boris Johnson has stated that we must also ‘Build Back
Better’. What can this mean and what are the solutions?  Two local businesses believe they have the answer and can point to a real on-the-ground example. Ssassy Property and their contractor Greencore Construction are working together on the development of Springfield Meadows in Southmoor, which they claim to be the most sustainable residential scheme in the country. This has been recognised by the environmental charity Bioregional, who have awarded the project One Planet Living Global Leader status. Ian Pritchett, Managing Director of Greencore, explains why Springfield Meadows is leading the way in new building standards. ‘Firstly, we use our own timber framed building system which is insulated with Lime-Hemp and natural fibre insulation.

So alongside ‘Build Build Build’, Boris Johnson has stated that we must also ‘Build Back
Better’

These natural materials absorb carbon dioxide during growth. Secondly, we build using the Passivhaus principles to reduce energy us. Third, we use roof integrated solar panels to supply as much energy as the homes require over the course of a year. Forth, we incorporate as much nature as possible through working with the Wildlife Trust, provide an electric car club and generally support the new community to live as sustainably as possible.’

Can this type of development form a template for a ‘Build Build Build’ economic recovery that also has to be good for people and planet? Ian believes so. ‘Over the last few years, we have seen a massive uplift in the public interest in sustainable homes. Our approach used to be considered rather niche, but there is no doubt there is now major, mass-market appeal. We have even seen a further increase in interest as a result of the pandemic, more people have appreciated their local environment and are keener to live in harmony with the planet. We have agreed three more reservations in the last month and only have a few plots left’.

Ian also believes that more can and indeed must be done and that building homes can actually be beneficial to the environment, and be what he calls, ‘climate-positive’. ‘We realise that we can go further; we can build houses that store more carbon in their structure than is emitted during their construction, that generate more energy than they use and which provide net gains in bio-diversity.’ Both Greencore and Ssassy are enthusiastic for the future. Earlier this year Greencore announced their target of building 500 climate-positive homes in Oxfordshire which would bring significant investment and new jobs to the area. Ian admits that this is just a fraction of the homes needed for the county but believes that they can act as a catalyst to encourage all developers to ‘build back better’.

By | 2020-07-28T15:07:38+00:00 July 7th, 2020|News|