Paul chaired a number of sessions in the main conference arena at Ecobuild in March 2018. With some excellent speakers and great participation from an engaged audience some interesting conclusions could be drawn.
Paul chaired a session on natural capital. His main takeaways were despite the increased in understanding of the concept there needs to a joining up of the science, with policy, supported by tools and guidance for implementation. A major worry was the lack of reference in the draft National Planning Policy Framework, issued by the UK Government the day before, of the environment and natural capital. All speakers agreed this needs to change and urged the audience to take part in the consultation (currently running).
On housebuilding, Paul chaired a session exploring the importance of not just building more houses (which is vitally important) but of building communities and creating a sense of place. The session attempted to provide some solutions. The speakers agreed on a need for better integration between transport planners and housing planners. Similarly, more could be done in the early stages of the planning process prior to application in the developer considering socio-economic and environmental considerations. A need to build capacity and skills in all parts of the value chain, including planners was seen as important.
Buildings that support health and well building for their occupants was a hot topic at Ecobuild. Paul chaired a session on the importance of fabric in providing thermal comfort. One startling fact, that needs to change, is that current building regulations don’t deliver buildings that support healthy outcomes. As our understanding changes and more evidence demonstrate the significance of the indoor environment on peoples’ health and well-being this will surely change.
Paul will be chairing a number of conferences in the coming months – in April in Brussels an international conference on the role of plastic piping in building climate resilience, sustainable buildings and managing water in urban environments. Later on, in June, Paul will chair an international conference in Sweden on reducing carbon in infrastructure projects with contributions from experts from Netherlands, UK, Sweden, Australia and USA, amongst others.
Please contact Paul if you require an experienced sustainable development expert to chair your next important event.