It is always very encouraging when a range of people can sit down and discuss how to improve the environmental impact of their activities and our communities. On Wednesday two groups of people met together at the same time in Brighton and no doubt a lot of the same themes will have been discussed during those two events. Inevitably it was only possible for anyone to be able to attend one of the two meetings but it will be useful to find out from both of them in due course. The meeting I attended was very effectively organised by the Brighton Chamber and it involved a wide range of people and industries in our community, all focusing on Net Zero. It included a number of people involved in the development and construction of buildings along with people who serve our communities in a wide range of settings. Although it was partially focused on Brighton and Hove there were many of us who work or live outside of the City who attended and took part. Indeed, the company that funded the meeting was Roadways which is a Civil Engineering agency based in Hailsham which operates across Sussex. I have had the pleasure of working with Roadways in the past in discussions. The other meeting that took place in Brighton on Wednesday was the AGM for an agency called the Constructing Excellence Sussex Club. This is a group that seeks to strengthen the connection of local companies and enabling local people being able to work within Sussex and in the area around the Sussex setting. The Chair of that meeting was one of the Directors in the Hawes Construction Group which is another company I have met on a number of occasions before, and it is based just outside of Eastbourne. Both of these events are seeking to help reduce the environmental impact of businesses and industries to help strengthen and protect our communities.
The Brighton Chamber event took place with four people who set out their thoughts and experience. One of them runs a business in Brighton and Hove called The Float Spa which is a wellbeing centre, offering floatation therapy, yoga and a range of therapies to help Live Life Well. Another speaker was a lecturer in the University of Sussex and there was also the Chief Executive of Shoreham Port. The fourth person is someone who works in Brighton and Hove Council running the Sustainability Projects for the Council. All four of them made very strong comments and they were joined by a number of people from a wide range of settings who agreed with them. There was a strong call for an understanding of the challenge around Net Zero and how it’s going to be tackled. It was agreed that businesses and indeed charities need to make serious changes in their behaviour but also there is a strong call for both Councils and the Government to respond accordingly. The other meeting that took place involved people from the University of Brighton, East Sussex College Group and also an Electrical installation company called GM Monk coordinated by the Hawes Director. They would have also had a significant number of other people contributing from a range of companies.
At the same time that these two meetings took place, another person who is an Architect I have been in contact with in the past was promoting a Bill that a Conservative MP has submitted but which has been withdrawn. It was proposed to cut carbon in building projects which is clearly very important and it needs to be reinstated. The MP who set it out was Duncan Baker who is the MP for North Norfolk. Our local Architect, Duncan Baker-Brown is calling for all of us to ask our local MPs to support the Climate Action Bill which he refers to as quantification of embodied and Operational Carbon which is a key component of Building Regulations. Along with Duncan’s promotion of that Bill I hope that there will be support for the Bills that Caroline Lucas has developed. These are due for their second readings on the 6th May which comes after a significant number of delays. These Bills are called Decarbonisation and Economic Strategy Bill and Climate and Ecology Bill.
Clearly these calls are something that would benefit from joint working by the local Councils and also cooperation from local MPs so that they can bring calls into the Government which will include promoting these private Bills. Given that Parliament closed down on the following day and it will remain closed until the 19th April it would perhaps be possible for the Sussex MPs to reflect on these two meeting and no doubt many others that are taking place along with the three Bills that need to be strongly endorsed.