‘Sustainability is the government’s responsibility’, argues McCloud

Kevin McCloud, designer and presenter of Grand Designs, has said that sustainability progress in the KBB industry should be the responsibility of the government, not industry, and it can only be meaningfully achieved through long-term legislative action.

Speaking at the BMA Theatre within the InstallerSHOW this week, the presenter was asked about what he believes the next government should do in pursuit of sustainability.

He answered: “My views on the problems of sustainability are directed not at the industry, not at consumers, but at the government, because without proper legislation, nobody knows what they’re doing!”

McCloud argued that political parties struggle to enact meaningful change around sustainability because their strategies will always be hampered by political concerns, such as length of their time in office.

He said: “For example, I remember when the Labour government under Gordon Brown said they were going to commit to solar panels, and the solar industry was over the moon, because industries don’t have a five year plan like governments do – they have to think long-term. So the solar industry really got to work on that, but then the next government repealed all the legislation and it came to a bit of a halt – it was a disaster!

“If industry and supply chain needs anything from the government, it’s a long-term plan. It needs cross-party support on legislation, and it needs real fiscal and legislative strategy. Whether that’s zero-carbon, whether that’s water usage, or whether that’s pricing, it needs to be considered long-term.”

When asked what he believed installers themselves could do to help the industry, McCloud expressed his belief in the importance of apprenticeships and training.

He explained: “I think the supply chain in the UK has suffered from a lack of training. We’ve had a skills gap now for 14 years. We’ve lost a huge number of amazingly skilled people who came in from Europe, who in 2016, were all told to leave. And it’s also been further exacerbated by the pandemic, because a lot of that generation of fitters who entered the industry in the 1970s chose to retire.

“My real point is that if you have an opportunity to train people, or to take on an apprentice, then I think that’s the best way for installers and people in this industry to really make an impact.”

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