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Construction National blog 31/01/2012

Construction National blog logoThere is some up-beat news to be seen on this site for the construction industry in the East of England which is forecast to be at the top of the growth table of the 12 regions/devolved nations for the period to 2016, according to the latest forecast from the Construction Skills Network. The growth rate for the region during that period is forecast to be 2.9%, more than double the national average, with the industrial sector notching up a staggering 13.5% and private housing 5.6%.

The East is one of five regions/devolved nations to be tipped to outperform the average, with the North West and the West Midlands forecast to continue their decline in output.

One of the drivers of construction growth in the region, according to the report, will be based around carbon reduction efforts.
The report says: "Increased concern over carbon emission reduction targets, along with rising energy costs, is likely to increase levels of retrofitting, energy efficiency measures and microgeneration technologies, which will become increasingly important in driving construction growth in the region over the longer term."

The extent of that growth can be gauged by the number of companies featured in this site's construction directory that specialise in the sustainability field.

One key part of that growth is, however, being put at risk by the Government's attempt to retrospectively amend the timetable on the solar feed-in tariff. Its continued insistence on pursuing its appeal to the bitter end serves only to increase uncertainty in the solar industry and the construction industry as a whole - not to mention among firms who have invested in solar and now see their planning potentially going down the pan.

It's time for the Government to accept it got it wrong and switch to a planned reduction in feed-in tariff. Even Friends of the Earth accepts a reduction is necessary - just not in such a haphazard and ill-judged way.

In a statement, FoE says: "Friends of the Earth is now urging the Government to drop any plans to appeal and come up with measures to safeguard the future of solar - and protect thousands of jobs currently under threat."

The other big story in the construction industry is impending Scottish independence. No, I'm not predicting the result of the referendum; Construction Scotland is to become an independent entity apart from Construction National. Within weeks the vitally important sector north of the border, with its very distinctive character, will be up and running and I'll be adding my own tuppence-worth to the debate.