Land Securities chief executive accuses Government of lacking courage on sustainability

Published:  08 December, 2009

Francis Salway
Evidence that tax allowances change investment decisions — Francis Salway.

The chief executive of Land Securities Group, Francis Salway, has accused the Government of lacking courage in tackling sustainability. In the seventh annual Povey Lecture to the Joint Contract Tribunal ‘Leading on sustainability’, Mr Salway said on Government measures to reduce emissions, ‘The business world is engaged, and Government is engaged — but I sense Government is lacking courage of its convictions in terms of introducing financial carrots and sticks.’

On the need to dramatically improve the poor energy efficiency of the UK’s existing building stock, he said, ‘Unlike in the USA, the UK always seems to have a reluctance to use carrots and sticks in the tax system to drive behaviour and redirect capital investment. There is good evidence that tax allowances change investment decisions — and these allowances can be temporary.

‘I would certainly advocate a much higher level of Enhanced Capital Allowances for investment in energy-saving plant and building adaptations. However, I think the simplest route may be to use the property rates system to reward those who occupy energy-efficient buildings .’

Francis Salway reminded his audience of construction professionals that buildings account for 44% of carbon emissions and that real progress on reducing carbon emissions will not be met unless the energy efficiency of the UK’s existing stock is improved. However, only 2% of the UK’s building stock is renewed each year.



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