Climate Change: MPs say building demolitions must be reduced

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The number of buildings being knocked down must be reduced because demolition and rebuilding adds to climate change, MPs say.

Previously developers have been encouraged to knock down old, poorly-insulated homes and offices and replace them with buildings needing less heating.

More recently the government has agreed with engineers who argued that replacing buildings was often bad for the climate in the short and medium term.

That’s because lots of emissions are created to make materials for buildings – such as steel, cement, bricks, glass, aluminium and plastics.

Demolishing and rebuilding creates double emissions by necessitating the manufacture of two lots of construction materials.

The Commons Environmental Audit Committee says the government’s recent decision to relax planning rules may be leading to an unintended increase in demolition.

It insists that emissions created in the construction of buildings must be reduced if the UK is to meet its climate change targets

The Committee chairman, Philip Dunne MP, said: “From homes to offices, retail units to hospitality venues, our buildings have a significant amount of locked-in carbon, which is wasted each time they get knocked down to be rebuilt, a process which produces yet more emissions.

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