Lamella MMC Breaking News

7-8-2023 Aviva expands underwriting appetite to include engineered timber for commercial buildings

Aviva is one of the first UK insurers to put significant capacity towards engineered timber

Aviva has underlined its sustainability commitments by expanding its underwriting appetite to include engineered timber1 in commercial developments.

This follows a successful pilot, which saw the UK’s largest insurer working with a handful of developers on sustainable building projects.

In the UK alone, the built environment contributes 40% of carbon emissions. By working with contractors who want to build more sustainably, Aviva aims to help the construction and real estate sectors reduce their carbon footprint.

Although a growing number of developers are seeking to build more sustainable buildings for commercial use, insurer appetite for these risks has not kept pace. By putting significant underwriting capacity towards these projects, Aviva is demonstrating that risk management can support the UK as it moves to become climate-ready.

Aviva is one of the first UK insurers to commit dedicated underwriting resource for the development of more sustainable buildings. Working with contractors, brokers and owners from the design stage, the insurer is helping to ensure the resilience and repairability of buildings by using leading risk management strategies to safeguard them from water damage and fire.

Putting risk management at the centre of the design process can help to remove or mitigate these risks, while enabling a competitive and sustainable approach to insurance pricing.

Adam Winslow, CEO, UK & Ireland General Insurance, Aviva, said: 

“There are a growing number of developers looking to build more sustainably, both by using sustainable materials like engineered timber, and by adopting modern methods of construction. Aviva wants to embrace both: widening our underwriting appetite to insure commercial buildings using engineered timber, and using our risk management expertise to minimise associated risks.

“But we need to consider the carbon footprint of a building over its lifetime. If a building is designed to be replaced in the event of a relatively minor incident well within its design life, then it cannot be considered sustainable. Modern methods of construction that focus on resilience and repairability are critical to helping developers balance sustainability commitments with the safety of building users and the communities that they inhabit.”

Call to action

In its Building Future Communities report, Aviva called for strengthened planning regulation, greater collaboration on research across the building process and encouraging and incentivising property resilience to aid recovery. By incorporating leading risk management strategies which go beyond current building regulations, Aviva believes structures incorporating greater use of engineered timber can be considered acceptable risks.

Aviva has committed to become Net Zero by 2040 and to support the UK to become the most climate-ready large economy by 2030.

Architects Journal Reports …

Architects have welcomed insurer Aviva’s decision

‘A big step forward’: insurer opens door to more engineered timber buildings

Waugh Thistleton’s 10-storey Dalston Works cross-laminated timber scheme

Source:  Daniel Shearing

Architects have welcomed insurer Aviva’s decision to ‘expanding its appetite’ to include engineered timber in commercial property developments

The company, one of the largest insurance firms in the UK, said it was increasing its underwriting capacity for schemes using products such as cross-laminated timber (CLT) and glulam following a recent pilot.

Insurers’ nervousness over timber in construction is regularly cited as one of the reasons concrete is not being replaced by more sustainable wood products. Some brokers were reportedly quoting teams up to 800 per cent more for insurance on schemes featuring engineered timber compared with traditionally built buildings.

But Aviva has said it wants to ‘commit underwriting capability towards’ the development of more environmentally friendly construction.

Its UK & Ireland General Insurance chief executive Adam Winslow said: ‘There are a growing number of developers looking to build more sustainably, both by using sustainable materials like engineered timber, and by adopting modern methods of construction.

‘Aviva wants to embrace both; widening our underwriting appetite to insure commercial buildings using engineered timber, and using our risk management expertise to minimise associated risks.’

Chetwoods director Andrew Hall is behind one of the largest timber-framed buildings being constructed in the UK, a three-storey 2,800m² office headquarters at Baytree Logistics Properties’ Nuneaton development.

He welcomed Aviva’s decision to extend its insurance cover, describing it ‘as a big step forward for our industry’.

Hall told the AJ: ‘This change should encourage further developers to consider the use of the material as barriers are reduced.’

LOM Architecture and Design associate director Tom Hofton and his colleague Charlie Brett said: ‘Many of our clients are keen to use timber and CLT built frames in commercial developments, and this commitment from insurers will encourage the construction industry to invest in R&D, design and development using engineered timber.’

Aviva’s move comes in the wake of the recently published Mass Timber Insurance Playbook, launched in May by the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products (ASBP).

The alliance said it hoped the guide would promote a collaborative approach between construction teams and insurers and pave the way for more ‘equitable insurance for mass timber buildings’ which have often faced difficulty securing cover, especially since the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Responding to Aviva’s announcement, ASBP associate director Richard Broad said it was ‘great news’ the insurer was expanding its underwriting scope. He told the AJ: ‘Our guidance has only been live for three months but we would certainly hope that the playbook – alongside other projects funded by Built by Nature and our precursor Timber Accelerator Hub project – is helping to open up new doors and encourage insurers (such as Aviva) to insure more mass timber buildings.’

The AJ has asked other insurers whether they will be following Aviva’s direction on engineered timber in commercial buildings.

A spokesperson for Zurich, which contributed to and sponsored the ASBP Mass Timber playbook, said it would continue to look at buildings on a project-by-project basis.

They said: ‘We recognise the role mass timber can play in a move to more sustainable construction methods. Due to the individual nature of mass timber risks, we consider each on its own merits, taking into account a project’s scale, size, quality and risk mitigation measures.’

AXA Commercial’s director of mid-market and customer risk management, Dougie Barnett, said: ‘[We have] been working with architects and developers for the past two years on a number of large projects incorporating engineered timber components.

‘Essential to this engagement has been a focus from the outset that we will commit appropriate risk engineering input to guide the design, ensuring that we have an acceptable risk during both the build and the occupancy phase of the project.’

He added: ‘Each case is considered on its individual merits to assess what capacity we are willing to commit. One of the developers we’re working with is keen to engage further on AXA’s considerations of ESG in the built environment so we can jointly explore thinking and challenges.’

Credit to the Architects Journal, Daniel Shearing and Waugh Thistleton

Lamella MMC As a committed supporter of true sustainable devolvement building mediums (CLT). With Breaking News Lamella MMC endeavours to share relevant industry news.

Embodied carbon in construction 13th June 2023

Breaking News Embodied carbon in construction

Embodied carbon in construction

We have written recently about Whole Life Carbon Assessments expressing the view that they are likely to become part of the regulatory framework for construction.

It seems that this is unlikely to happen in a hurry. We have learnt that the government is dragging its heels on developing the embodied carbon sections of both the Future Homes Standards (for residential buildings- FHS) and the Future Buildings Standards (for everything else-FBS).

Embodied Carbon has been defined as “greenhouse gas emissions arising from the manufacturing, transportation, installation, maintenance, and disposal of building materials”.

In contrast, operational carbon refers to the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the energy consumption of a finished building (see Embodied Carbon 101 – Carbon Leadership Forum, December 2020).

The difficulty of legislating just for operational carbon is that developers will inevitably game the system. High ghg emitting materials may be used in the build to give a good operational score but without the carbon penalty that should accompany this behaviour.

The given reason is that : “to date, policy has focused entirely on operational emissions, namely how to make buildings more energy efficient. The embodied carbon cost of the construction is not required by current policy to be assessed or controlled, other than on a voluntary basis”. In mitigation government has said that it will “consult in 2023 on our approach and interventions to mainstream the measurement and reduction of embodied carbon in the built environment”. It said “it is too soon to commit to specific proposals”.

This matters because the RICS in their WLCA publication assessed that embodied carbon accounts for 51% of residential carbon emissions; 47% of Warehouse Carbon emissions and 35% of Office carbon emissions.

These are all substantial proportions of the whole life carbon emissions of a building.

The material from which superstructures are built also matters. Here are some statistics which speak for themselves:

The manufacture and setting of concrete produces about 0.9 tonnes of CO2 for every tonne;

The manufacture of steel produces about 1.24 tonnes of CO2 for every tonne;

Mass timber (including CLT) sequesters 1.65-1.8 tonnes of CO2 for every tonne of timber.

In other words Mass Timber is the only material under consideration which is carbon negative, and very significantly so, too.

Building superstructures in Mass Timber will offset the inevitable carbon emissions in manufacturing other components in the building, the emissions in transporting materials to site and the energy used in constructing the building.

Concrete and Steel will add to the carbon emissions of the building and even if their manufacture produces zero carbon (which is in prospect for steel) they can never become carbon negative and offset the carbon in other elements of the build.

We argue as you may expect that it is essential that we build more in Mass Timber. Not just for the carbon negative characteristics of the material but also because it’s a better way to build: faster, cleaner, simpler, more precise, higher quality etc.

In other words Make CLT Mainstream.

Antony Fanshawe

Breaking News Construction goes net zero- Progress Report 17th MAY 2023

Breaking News Construction goes net zero

In this article I am going to talk about the carbon dioxide emissions of three building materials all of which will have a major part to play in the construction industry in the future as it decarbonises in line with the UK government’s net zero policies.

The materials I consider are concrete, steel and engineered timber (also known as CLT). I have not considered other carbon sequestering materials such as hempcrete because they do not have the off-site manufacturing advantages and structural strength of CLT.

I look at their carbon emissions, what the concrete and steel industries are dong to reduce carbon emissions in their manufacture and the natural advantages enjoyed by CLT panels.

Carbon Characteristics Breaking News

As matters stand in early 2023:

Concrete manufacture and setting produces about 0.9 tonnes of CO2 for every tonne;

The manufacture of steel produces about 1.24 tonnes for every tonne;

Engineered timber (including CLT) sequesters 1.65-1.8 tonnes of CO2 for every tonne of timber.

In other words engineered timber is the only material under consideration which is carbon negative, and very significantly so, too.

By way of explanation of the timber numbers; timber is about 50% by weight carbon (technically referred to as the biogenic storage of carbon). When timber rots down or is burnt each individual carbon atom combines with two atoms of oxygen in the air to make 3.67 kg of CO2.

The carbon dioxide created in the manufacture of concrete and steel is released in the energy consumption required to make the materials and in the case of concrete in the chemical reactions in the manufacturing process and so is unrelated to any carbon stored in the material itself.

It is however clear from this comparison that there is only one construction material that sequesters carbon and, in building to net zero standards, can offset the inevitable carbon emissions in manufacturing other components in the building, the emissions in transporting materials to site and the energy used in constructing the building.

That material is engineered timber.

Whole Life Carbon Assessments and Carbon taxes

Whole Life Carbon Assessments (WLCA) are coming and will, I think, become ubiquitous in the relatively near future. WLCA’s look at both embodied carbon (the extent to which the construction materials and processes have emitted carbon dioxide in their manufacture, transport and assembly) and operational carbon (insulation, heating, cooling etc).

WLCA’s offer the promise of a standardised carbon emissions in the newly built environment and, a means of monitoring and reporting on those emissions in connection with our COP treaty obligations.

About 20% of Whole Life Carbon emissions relate to the construction of a building. The remainder relate to the operation of the building. To perform well on the WLCA, buildings will have to be low carbon both in build and in operation.

Engineered timber is carbon sequestering ie carbon negative and so will score well on the construction phase of the project. It will also perform well in terms of operating carbon because it is manufactured to be draft free, to very tight tolerances. Timber is also a naturally warm material and will need much less additional insulation than ,say, concrete.

Some local authorities already require WLCA’s to accompany planning applications. This is likely to become more widespread and may be mandated by central government in due course.

We also anticipate that building materials which are not carbon sequestering or at least carbon neutral, will suffer a carbon tax. The EU has already announced tariffs on the import of high carbon building materials by 2026- it would make sense for the UK to follow suit.

The role of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

CCS is being promoted heavily as having a huge role to play in converting steel and concrete to zero carbon materials. This is where the carbon dioxide created by the manufacturing process for these materials is captured and stored- often in worked out oil wells- or used to drive oil out of wells under pressure (ironically indirectly increasing carbon emissions!).

One of the ideas currently circulating is that the carbon dioxide stored can then be used in manufacturing processes including, potentially, the manufacture of synthetic petroleum fuel substitutes.

The trouble is that no-one has yet made CCS technology work reliably and efficiently. At present it is hugely energy intensive and expensive and can be dangerous.

While steel can be manufactured, at least notionally, with zero carbon emissions, by using renewable electricity sources, the manufacture of cement is more problematic because the carbon emissions come not only from the energy used in manufacture but from the chemical process itself.

Therefore CCS is absolutely essential to manufacture zero carbon concrete.

The concrete industry is claiming that they can push the technology even further and develop concrete that captures carbon. We have yet to see details of how this could work.

Despite the fact that CCS technology is unproven, expensive and hugely energy intensive, governments have committed very large sums to develop it. For example, the UK government has committed to spend £20 billion over 20 years to scale up CCS in the UK.

As is the case with much of the UK government’s net zero project, such as the widespread adoption of air source heat pumps, we think that the enthusiasm for CCS is likely to wane on contact with reality; once it becomes evident that the policy cannot be implemented, at least in the short term, with current technology.

Breaking News CCS in Timber production

It seems trite to say it but timber is a natural product which has evolved over millions of years. In simple terms, trees grow when fed with sunshine, carbon dioxide from the air and water.

Trees emit oxygen in the process and produce a material, wood, which biogenically stores about 50% of the material’s weight in carbon.

So trees are natural CCS factories. capturing and storing carbon dioxide in their natural cycles.

The difference between trees and human CCS is that trees capture and store carbon 100% reliably and safely, for free and produce oxygen as a by-product. It is a real, proven, free reliable technology which produces useful wood and oxygen as by-products.

Cost and Other Implications

Building in CLT has (2023) achieved cost parity with traditional builds and can be significantly less expensive when the speed of construction , finance, overheads and lost rents are taken into account.

We expect concrete and steel to become significantly more expensive as time goes by not only because of the costs of CCS which will be recouped in the pricing of the products but also because of the tariffs and inevitable taxes which will be applied to these materials if they do not meet zero carbon standards.

Further if, as we suspect, it will become mandatory to prepare a Whole Life Carbon Assessment when applying for planning permission, the argument in favour of building in CLT will become unanswerable.

End of Life

All of the materials under consideration can be re-used or recycled to a greater or lesser extent.

All can be left in situ and re-used, subject to condition of course. Tis can be a very low carbon solution.

Steel can often be unbolted, re-cycled or re-used (subject to inspection and safety considerations). This is not an option for concrete which, if demolished can only be used as aggregate after an energy intensive process.

Like steel frames, engineered timber is secured mechanically and can be dismantled for re-use. Misleadingly, until now some carbon assessments of engineered timber have assumed that the timber is burnt when the building has reached its end of life.

I think however that there will be a lively market in re-usable engineered panels or even whole buildings in the future.


If CCS becomes a widespread technology (and that is uncertain) then the cost of concrete and possibly steel will increase significantly and engineered timber including CLT will become the cost leader as well as the quickest and easiest material from which to build structural envelopes.

If CCS technology proves to be a dead end, then mass timber is likely to become the only material from which to build structural envelopes, because it is the only material which has the ability to offset the carbon dioxide emitted by concrete from which the foundations will still have to be made.

In either event, when preparing the Whole Life Carbon Assessment, the carbon sequestering, tight tolerance and insulating characteristics of engineered timber are compelling and should assist in obtaining planning consent.

Whichever way CCS goes, CLT is the clear winner. CLT combined with offsite manufacture is a great way to build and because it is negative carbon you can fill in your WLCA with ease.

We say Make CLT Mainstream, don’t wait to get with the direction of travel and join us on the journey.

Antony Fanshawe Lamella Director. 2023

Breaking News Structural timber has been officially permitted for use in the external walls of all buildings up to 18m following an update to Approved Document B

Report from the Architects Journal

Breaking News CLT Only 18 mtr high

Breaking News Lamella MMC Join the ASBP

9th June 2022 Lamella MMC Join the ASBP

Click on the logo below to visit the ASBP website.

Lamella MMC Join the ASBP

Breaking News MPs call for embodied carbon regulation

26 May 2022 Written By Will Arnold

embodied carbon regulation
Environmental Audit Committee publishes its ‘Building to net zero: costing carbon in construction’ report – May 2022.

The Part Z Authors welcome the release today (26 May) of the UK Parliament’s Environmental Audit Select Committee report, ‘Building to net zero: costing carbon in construction’. In summary, the report finds that current policy inadequately addresses the need to reduce embodied carbon, develop low-carbon materials, or prioritise reuse and retrofit.

The report states that “Other countries and some UK local authorities are already requiring whole life carbon assessments to be undertaken. This leaves the UK slipping behind comparator countries in Europe in monitoring and controlling the embodied carbon in construction. If the UK continues to drag its feet on embodied carbon, it will not meet net zero or its carbon budgets.”

The report makes several recommendations to resolve these issues. In particular, it states that:

“…the single most significant policy the Government could introduce is a mandatory requirement to undertake whole-life carbon assessments for buildings. This requirement should be set within building regulations and the planning system. Following introduction of whole-life carbon assessments, the Government should develop progressively ratcheting carbon targets for buildings, to match the pathway to net zero.”

Whilst many in the built environment are already reporting whole-life carbon on every building that they design, the consistent industry feedback we receive is that without regulation (as proposed by the Environmental Audit Committee), the pace of change will never be sufficient to match the UK’s decarbonisation trajectory.

The industry-proposed Part Z amendment to the Building Regulations outlines a method by which the Government could implement the policy suggested by the committee, first introducing whole-life carbon requirements and then later introducing ratcheting embodied carbon targets. Specifically, we propose that the Building Regulations are amended as follows:

We believe that this timeline is consistent with international precedent, and balances ambition with achievability within the UK construction industry. To date, we have received statements of support for the regulation of embodied carbon from 160 firms working in the built environment, a number that continues to grow. The Part Z authors remain available to advise on embodied carbon regulation, and would welcome engagement with the Government to do so.

17th May 2022

Breaking News The Worldwide Cross Laminated Timber Industry is Expected to Reach $2.5 Billion by 2027 –

The global cross-laminated timber market

The global cross-laminated timber market size was USD 1.1 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 14.5% during the forecast period to reach USD 2.5 billion by 2027.

Advanced design flexibility and quicker implementation methods in the manufacturing of cross-laminated timbers are expected to drive the market.

The residential of the industry segment is projected to have high demand in the cross-laminated timber market in the year 2027.

Increased consumer demand for luxurious and modern residences is projected to lead to the growth of the market. The market is expected to grow due to the increased utilization of CLT in residential applications such as ceilings, floors, and walls. In Europe, the primary market for cross-laminated timber has been family residential construction. Due to the evolution of building codes and technologies, demand is shifting towards larger multi-family residential construction. Consumer demand for upmarket residences is expected to rise, which is expected to boost the overall market growth.

The adhesive bonding of the type segment is projected to register the highest CAGR during the forecast period.

Based on type, adhesive bonded is projected to be the fastest-growing market during the forecast period. Adhesive bonded CLTs have better bond strength and are less impacted by climatic changes than mechanical fastened CLTs. Hence, they are extensively used in the market as the strength of the wood-based substance is determined by the strength of the adjacent surfaces. Due to the reduced use of machinery, adhesive bonded CLT has a lower production cost than mechanically fastened CLT.

Based on region, Europe is projected to register the largest market share during the forecast period.

Europe is projected to dominate the market in terms of value and volume during the forecast period due to the growing construction sector in countries such as the UK, Germany, Italy, and France. Europe is considered to be the world’s largest manufacturer of cross-laminated timber. Buildings made utilizing CLT have a high demand throughout the region. To enhance the total thermal efficiency and durability of the structure, the majority of construction activities in these areas now use wood-based materials. CLT and other timber building supplies have an increasing demand among major construction enterprises across the world. The market is expected to be driven by rising potential advantages offered by cross-laminated timber in the construction sector.

25th November 2021

Breaking News Use of Mass Timber in Construction. What is the government policy?

In a recent exchange with senior policy leads at DEFRA, they told Lamella MMC Ltd:

“we have committed to increasing timber in construction. With this in mind, we are setting up the cross industry group who will help build a policy ‘roadmap’ for implementing ETAP actions”.

ETAP is English Trees Acton Plan (2021-2024). Its report says:

“Guided by market analysis, fire safety and structural considerations, key opportunities for the safe growth of timber use will be in low-rise buildings using traditional and certain modern methods of construction, and in a wide range of commercial and non-residential settings”

So far so good but we are left with the conundrum that the use of timber, whether timber frame or mass timber (which performs much better if you try to set fire to it-it chars on the outside and retains its structural integrity) is limited to residential buildings of less than 18 metres in height . There remains a threat that this height limit will be reduce to 11 metres.

Why 18 or 11 metres? In New York they are legislating to limit the height of timber buildings to 25.9 metres and other countries are talking about building much higher still in timber.

Review the 18 metre limit

This uncertainty alone is a major disincentive to building in CLT. We are calling on the government to quash any move to reduce the height limit, and review the 18 metre limit in the light of modern fire engineering advice and acceptable practice in other countries.

We hope that the “cross industry group” will include advocates for the Mass Timber industry but we are not optimistic.

When this was discussed DEFRA was seemingly unwilling to offer a place on the group for Andrew Waugh, who is probably the best known proponent of mass timber in the country, but regularly finds himself working internationally because the mass timber market in the UK is being held back.

Waugh is highly critical of policy in this area- calls it a “policy car crash” because the government says it wants to encourage the use of timber while simultaneously legislating against it and creating uncertainty where there need be none.

DEFRA goes on to say that the government

“will also consider what more we can do to increase the use of timber in construction in both the public sector and in the private sector, to enable more use of structural timber in line with the CCC’s recommendation”.

The CCC is the Climate Change Committee, which, while it talks about operational carbon (eg heating systems and insulation) in its latest report to Parliament is silent on embodied carbon ie what the buildings are made of- so it is hard to see what DEFRA means when it talks about more use of structural timber in line with the CCC’s recommendation.

We think that this change needs government leadership. To start with they could stop the move to reduce the height limit for the use of mass timber in residential buildings and secondly they could set an example by mandating the use of timber in public buildings, as the government has done in France.

There is much to be done.

At least the DEFRA policy leads are open to being educated and are visiting a mass timber office building going up in Shoreditch to see what we are talking about!

More on this later.

12th August 2021

Breaking News The Lamella Manifesto.

The Lamella Manifesto

One way we and the Construction Industry need to change to address climate change.

We are facing a climate crisis. Our response in the UK has been to mandate by law that we reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases (principally carbon dioxide) to net zero by 2050.

The manufacture of the materials used to build most projects in the UK, cement, concrete, steel and bricks currently contribute significantly to our carbon dioxide emissions.

We established Lamella MMC to consult on sustainable development and distribute and install Cross Laminated Timber, CLT, which, being made of engineered trees, stores carbon dioxide in its fabric and is therefore carbon negative.

CLT is a carbon sink as well as being a strong, lightweight material with many other remarkable benefits.

If we in the UK were to build more buildings of CLT and fewer of concrete, brick and steel, we could contribute significantly to the achievement of the UK’s carbon goals. This can be done while improving the quality, liveability and insulation of our built environment at little or no cost to either the public or private sectors.

However, there are governmental policy and supply problems which in our view need to be fixed before CLT is likely to become a truly mainstream and accepted construction material.

Our thinking about the expansion of our industry falls into three parts;

Make CLT Mainstream

Engineered timber construction is the only solution to building new mass housing without exacerbating climate change. The material is strong, low carbon, fast and the prefabricated nature of construction ensures efficient build times, low transport and zero waste.

The production of cement, concrete, brick and steel are some of the most polluting in the UK. The rest of the World are changing their building codes and planning laws to promote the use of engineered timber – the UK is alone in revising theirs against timber.

The UK Emissions Trading Scheme becomes applicable to all carbon emitting materials in 2024, so steel and concrete will inevitably become more expensive as the producers either implement carbon capture technology or pay for the carbon emitted in their manufacture. In contrast timber prices, all other things being equal, should remain stable.

Building with CLT falls squarely into the category of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) and brings with it the promise of huge improvements in productivity and efficiency in the construction industry.

In France all government buildings must be built with at least 50% timber content. We would like to see the UK government taking the lead by building in CLT and note with interest and pleasure that as a small start the Department for Education in the UK is developing a model CLT secondary school. More please.

The 18 Metre Height Rule

Our friend, Andrew Waugh of Waugh Thistleton (probably the foremost mass timber architect’s practice in the UK) spoke to Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MCHCG) in March this year to discuss the change in building regulations that bans the use of combustible materials through the entire external wall for residential buildings of over 18 metres in height.

This ban effectively stopped the use of structural timber in the external wall and negatively transformed the perception of the material.

Since the ban not a single multifamily multi storey residential building has been completed in the UK.

“collateral damage”

In our view this was a mistake, which seems to have happened because at the time other government ministries did not make the case for an exemption for CLT. This was evident in Andrew’s discussions with MHCLG in which they referred to the inclusion of CLT as “collateral damage”; sacrificed to get the policy through.

It is clear that buildings over 18 metres in height built of CLT can be designed to be safe in the event of fire. In some respects, they are safer than either steel or concrete under the same conditions.

CLT chars but retains its structural integrity in a fire whereas steel melts and bends and concrete spalls, both losing their strength. With the coming use in Europe of high temperature resistant glues, CLT will become even safer.

As things stand, we as a country are held back by a paradox of our own making. We need to build more housing. We need to build it relatively cheaply and we need to build it out of zero or negative carbon materials. Yet we have legislated to restrict the use of the technology that could achieve all this.

If the ban were restricted to the cladding rather than through the whole wall it would deal with the problem. This is the change that we think needs to happen and for which we are working.

Adding Value to UK Forestry

We are very pleased that the government is committed to a substantial tree planting programme, however we would like to see that programme linked to an overhaul of UK Forestry policy so that we could begin to develop an indigenous mass timber industry.

The benefits of doing so are obvious: more jobs, increase in supply (there are already shortages in Europe), shortening the supply chain and adding value to our forestry industry.

What is more our climate goals could be achieved with the investment of much less public money.A recent report from the EU (CEI Bois) found that in each nation that produces engineered timber the area of forested land had increased since the production began.


The topics addressed in the three sections of this letter are all linked and if implemented we believe will produce a virtuous circle allowing us as a country to become richer, less polluting, better housed, better employed and more productive.

And this is achievable, we submit, with a few changes to government policy, some direction for the forestry sector and some very limited government expenditure.

Breaking News TAX TAX TAX

17th March 2021 Stop Press

Carbon Pricing is coming
The Image Above Takes You to

Breaking News

Carbon Pricing is coming. Here’s how CLT will out-compete its carbon emitting competitors on cost.

If you have read the UK government’s Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy you will have noticed that the government intends to use the market to “determine the most cost-effective pathways to de-carbonisation”

Therefore, the first action in their plan is to “Use carbon pricing as a tool to send a clear market signal”. What this means in simple terms is that products that emit carbon will be taxed. We expect CLT which sequesters carbon not to be taxed.

In simple terms, steel, cement, concrete and bricks are likely to be subject to a carbon pricing tax, while CLT will not. Once that happens, CLT can be expected to have a significant market advantage over those other materials.

Tax at some point.

We can’t say when this will happen, or how high the tax will be, but what we can say is that it seems certain that the tax will be imposed and given the speed of the push to decarbonise, this is likely to happen sooner rather than later. Maybe even in the timescale needed for planning and building a new project.

Our message is this; think about carbon pricing when starting a new project. Carbon taxes could add significantly to your build costs. We recommend that you avoid the taxes and the cost uncertainty by planning and building your project in CLT.

20th April 2021 STOP PRESS

UK enshrines new target in law to slash emissions by 78% by 2035

Press release

UK enshrines new target in law to slash emissions by 78% by 2035

The UK’s sixth Carbon Budget will incorporate the UK’s share of international aviation and shipping emissions for the first time, to bring the UK more than three-quarters of the way to net zero by 2050.

UK government to set in law world’s most ambitious climate change target, cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels

for the first time, UK’s sixth Carbon Budget will incorporate the UK’s share of international aviation and shipping emissions

this would bring the UK more than three-quarters of the way to net zero by 2050

The UK government will set the world’s most ambitious climate change target into law to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels, it was announced today (Tuesday 20 April).

In line with the recommendation from the independent Climate Change Committee, this sixth Carbon Budget limits the volume of greenhouse gases emitted over a 5-year period from 2033 to 2037, taking the UK more than three-quarters of the way to reaching net zero by 2050. The Carbon Budget will ensure Britain remains on track to end its contribution to climate change while remaining consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature goal to limit global warming to well below 2°C and pursue efforts towards 1.5°C.

For the first time, this Carbon Budget will incorporate the UK’s share of international aviation and shipping emissions – an important part of the government’s decarbonisation efforts that will allow for these emissions to be accounted for consistently.

Reduce emissions in 2030 by at least 68%

This comes ahead of Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressing the opening session of the US Leaders’ Summit on Climate, hosted by President Biden on Earth Day (22 April). The Prime Minister will urge countries to raise ambition on tackling climate change and join the UK in setting stretching targets for reducing emissions by 2030 to align with net zero.

The government is already working towards its commitment to reduce emissions in 2030 by at least 68% compared to 1990 levels through the UK’s latest Nationally Determined Contribution – the highest reduction target made by a major economy to date. Today’s world-leading announcement builds on this goal to achieve a 78% reduction by 2035.

The new target will become enshrined in law by the end of June 2021, with legislation setting out the UK government’s commitments laid in Parliament tomorrow (Wednesday 21 April).

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

We want to continue to raise the bar on tackling climate change, and that’s why we’re setting the most ambitious target to cut emissions in the world.

The UK will be home to pioneering businesses, new technologies and green innovation as we make progress to net zero emissions, laying the foundations for decades of economic growth in a way that creates thousands of jobs.

We want to see world leaders follow our lead and match our ambition in the run up to the crucial climate summit COP26, as we will only build back greener and protect our planet if we come together to take action.

Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:

The UK is leading the world in tackling climate change and today’s announcement means our low carbon future is now in sight. The targets we’ve set ourselves in the sixth Carbon Budget will see us go further and faster than any other major economy to achieve a completely carbon neutral future.

This latest target shows the world that the UK is serious about protecting the health of our planet, while also seizing the new economic opportunities it will bring and capitalising on green technologies – yet another step as we build back greener from the pandemic and we lead the world towards a cleaner, more prosperous future for this generation and those to come.

UK continues to break records in renewable electricity generation

The UK over-achieved against its first and second Carbon Budgets and is on track to outperform the third Carbon Budget which ends in 2022. This is due to significant cuts in greenhouse gases across the economy and industry, with the UK bringing emissions down 44% overall between 1990 and 2019, and two-thirds in the power sector.

Moreover, the UK continues to break records in renewable electricity generation, which has more than quadrupled since 2010 while low carbon electricity overall now gives us over 50% of our total generation.

Prior to enshrining its net zero commitment in law, the UK had a target of reducing emissions by 80% by 2050 – through today’s sixth Carbon Budget announcement, the government is aiming to achieve almost the same level 15 years earlier.

Through its presidency of the crucial UN climate summit, COP26, which will take place in Glasgow later this year, the UK is urging countries and companies around the world to join the UK in delivering net zero globally by the middle of the century and set ambitious targets for cutting emissions by 2030.

COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma, said:

This hugely positive step forward for the UK sets a gold standard for ambitious Paris-aligned action that I urge others to keep pace with ahead of COP26 in Glasgow later this year. We must collectively keep 1.5 degrees of warming in reach and the next decade is the most critical period for us to change the perilous course we are currently on.

Climate Change Act

Long term targets must be backed up with credible delivery plans and setting this net zero focused sixth Carbon Budget builds on the world leading legal framework in our Climate Change Act. If we are to tackle the climate crisis and safeguard lives, livelihoods and nature for future generations, others must follow the UK’s example.

The government has already laid the groundwork to end the UK’s contribution to climate change by 2050, starting with ambitious strategies that support polluting industries to decarbonise while growing the economy and creating new, long-term green jobs.

This includes the publication of the Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, an ambitious blueprint for the world’s first low carbon industrial sector, slashing emissions by two-thirds in just 15 years, as well as over £1 billion government funding to cut emissions from industry, schools and hospitals.

Further, the UK is the first G7 country to agree a landmark North Sea Transition Deal to support the oil and gas industry’s transition to clean, green energy while supporting 40,000 jobs. Through the deal, the sector has committed to cut emissions by 50% by 2030, while the government, sector and trade unions will work together over the next decade and beyond to deliver the skills, innovation and new infrastructure required to decarbonise North Sea production.

Everyone needs to play a role in tackling climate change and bringing businesses and the public along is vital to reach the UK’s climate change goals. Ahead of COP26, the government launched the campaign, Together For Our Planet, calling on businesses, civil society groups, schools and the British public to take action on climate change. This UK-wide initiative contributed to last month’s milestone achievement of securing pledges from a third of the UK’s largest businesses to eliminate their contribution to climate change by 2050.

Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan

Each of these leading measures to tackle climate change, alongside the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan for a green industrial revolution and the government’s Energy White Paper, will help the UK’s trajectory towards meeting the new sixth Carbon Budget.

The government will look to meet this reduction target through investing and capitalising on new green technologies and innovation, whilst maintaining people’s freedom of choice, including on their diet. That is why the government’s sixth Carbon Budget of 78% is based on its own analysis and does not follow each of the Climate Change Committee’s specific policy recommendations.

The UK is bringing forward bold blueprints setting out its own vision for transitioning to a net zero economy and how the government can support the public in transitioning to low carbon technologies, including publishing the Heating and Building Strategy and Transport Decarbonisation Plan later this Spring.

Net Zero Strategy

The cross-government Net Zero Strategy will also be published ahead of COP26, with Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng currently commissioning work across Whitehall to help inform the ambitious plans across key sectors of the economy.

Moreover, government analysis finds that costs of action on climate change are outweighed by the significant benefits – reducing polluting emissions, as well as bringing fuel savings, improvements to air quality and enhancing biodiversity. The government expects the costs of meeting net zero to continue to fall as green technology advances, industries decarbonise and private sector investment grows.

Reaching net zero will also be essential to sustainable long-term growth and therefore the health of public finances, as well as open up new opportunities for the UK economy, jobs and trade – and the government’s ambitious proposals are essential to seizing these opportunities.

HM Treasury will publish its Net Zero Review in the coming months setting out how government plans to maximise economic growth opportunities from the net zero transition while ensuring contributions are fair between consumers, businesses and the British taxpayer.

Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change Lord Deben said:

The UK’s sixth Carbon Budget is the product of the most comprehensive examination ever undertaken of the path to a fully decarbonised economy. I am delighted that the government has accepted my Committee’s recommendations in full.

CBI Chief Economist Rain Newton-Smith said:

Setting the sixth Carbon Budget in line with the Climate Change Committee recommendations puts the UK on a credible path to achieve its net zero emissions target.

As COP26 hosts, the UK government is leading by example by setting this stretching target. Business stands ready to deliver with the latest low-carbon technologies and innovations that are driving emissions down every year. By tackling this together, we can reap the benefits of transition to a low-carbon economy.

The target emphasises the importance of the 2020s as a decade of delivery on our climate ambitions, and urgent action is needed now to make this a reality.

Executive Director of Green Alliance Shaun Spiers said:

By accepting the Climate Change Committee’s recommendations for the sixth Carbon Budget, the government has sent out a resounding message, domestically and internationally, that the UK is taking its net zero emissions target seriously. The inclusion of international aviation and shipping is particularly important, showing climate leadership in the year we are hosting the Glasgow climate summit. What we need now is to ensure there is no gap between ambition and policy, so the UK has the right tools in its armoury to meet these targets.

Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group Nick Molho said:

The government should be commended for adopting the ambitious and evidence-based recommendations from the Climate Change Committee for the sixth Carbon Budget. The emission cuts set out in the Budget represent essential next steps the UK needs to take to ensure a credible, cost-effective, and timely pathway to net zero emissions by 2050. The inclusion of the UK’s share of international aviation and shipping emissions is a particularly welcome addition and will help to accelerate the development of sector-specific decarbonisation plans.

Focus must now turn to strengthening the UK’s policy framework to meet this new target, by putting in place a detailed and cross-departmental net zero strategy that will drive private investment in low carbon goods and services, supply chains, jobs and skills.

The UK is the first country to enter legally binding long-term carbon budgets into legislation, first introduced as part of the 2008 Climate Change Act. Since then, 5 carbon budgets have been put into law putting the UK on track to meet our ambitious goal to eliminate our contribution to climate change by 2050 and achieve net zero emissions.  

Notes to editors 

The sixth Carbon Budget will commit us in law to the fastest fall in greenhouse gas emissions of any major economy between 1990 and 2035, making it one of the most ambitious climate targets in the world

on 9 December, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) published its advice on the level at which to set Carbon Budget 6 (CB6), covering 2033 to 2037. The CCC recommended that CB6 should be set at 965 MtCO2e, reducing emissions 78% from 1990 to 2035 (including international aviation and shipping emissions)

This is a highly ambitious target for the mid-2030

the government is laying legislation on 21 April to set the budget at the level recommended by the CCC. This is a highly ambitious target for the mid-2030s – close to the UK’s previous 2050 target (an 80% reduction on 1990) just 2 years ago and consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature goal to limit global warming to well below 2°C and pursue efforts towards 1.5°C

setting CB6 is about the government’s ambition to cut emissions, rather than announcing specific policies that will deliver that reduction in emissions. We will bring forward policies to meet carbon budgets, and the Net Zero Strategy, to be published before COP26, will set out our vision for transitioning to a net zero economy

CB6 includes emissions from International Aviation and Shipping (IAS) for the first time. Previous carbon budgets have formally excluded these emissions, instead leaving ‘headroom’ for them. However, IAS emissions were included in the CCC’s advice, and are included in our 2050 net zero target, which was set on a whole economy basis

(NDC) of at least 68%

The CCC also recommended in December 2020 that the UK government set a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) of at least 68% (excluding International Aviation and Shipping emissions) by 2030. The government accepted this advice and communicated its NDC to the UNFCCC on 12 December. Carbon Budget 6 continues the ambitious trajectory recommended by the CCC through the 2030s

following the CCC’s recommended budget level does not mean we are following their specific policy recommendations. Our published analysis is based on the government’s own assumptions and does not, for example, assume the CCC’s change in people’s diet. Ahead of COP26, we will be setting out our own vision for net zero, and ambitious plans across key sectors of the economy to meet carbon budgets

15th April 2021 STOP PRESS

Green Finance…..the net closes in on non carbon friendly development as finance takes a stand against traditional building materials .


13th February 2021 STOP PRESS

Economist … Is the future of skyscrapers WOOD ?

Wooden skyscrapers are an ambitious and innovative solution to the problems posed by urbanisation. Not only are they faster to build, they have smaller carbon footprints than high-rises made of concrete and steel.

The Above Content is freely available on YouTube


11th February 2021 STOP PRESS

The housing Minister, Robert Jenrick, has announced today that the government will pay for the replacement of combustible cladding for residential towers over 18 metres high. This is an interesting limit. Does it mean that they will not reduce the limit to 11 metres? If they do there will surely be pressure to reduce the cladding subsidy limit to match and government spend will increase significantly.

We think the limit will stay at 18 metres. Let us know your thoughts

27 June 2019 STOP PRESS

New target will require the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

The UK today became the first major economy in the world to pass laws to end its contribution to global warming by 2050.

The target will require the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, compared with the previous target of at least 80% reduction from 1990 levels.

The UK has already reduced emissions by 42%, while growing the economy by 72% and has put clean growth at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy. This could see the number of “green collar jobs” grow to 2 million. The value of exports from the low carbon economy grow to £170 billion a year by 2030.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Chris Skidmore said:

The UK kick-started the Industrial Revolution, which was responsible for economic growth across the globe but also for increasing emissions.

Today we’re leading the world yet again in becoming the first major economy to pass new laws to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050. While remaining committed to growing the economy – putting clean growth at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy.

We’re pioneering the way for other countries to follow in our footsteps, driving prosperity by seizing the economic opportunities of becoming a greener economy.

The UK’s 2050 net zero target — one of the most ambitious in the world — was recommended by the Committee on Climate Change, the UK’s independent climate advisory body. Net zero means any emissions would be balanced by schemes to offset an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, such as planting trees or using technology like carbon capture and storage.

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