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Miss Alison Crawford
Woodcote Grove
Ashley Road
KT18 5BW

Green service could save construction money industry

Construction businesses can save money while reducing their impact on the environment by taking advantage of a new green business support service launched by the London Development Agency and Atkins.

The London Environmental Support Service (LESS) (www.less-online.com) provides a one-stop-shop for businesses to access a network of environmental support providers in London, whilst also offering an online platform for providers and businesses to share knowledge, skills and experiences.

The construction sector alone contributes around 8% of UK GDP and employs 1.5 million people. Construction and demolition waste accounts for 100million tonnes of controlled waste arising annually in the UK and 4.5% of a construction company's profit is spent on waste removal. By improving on-site practices and understanding the principle that waste should be seen as a resource, the industry has the opportunity to improve its performance while still achieving competitive advantage.*

The industry is now subject to tightening environmental legislation and taxes, as well as initiatives to improve efficiency and competitiveness.

LESS is raising awareness amongst London's business community of the number of ways they can minimise waste at every stage of the business process, comply more easily with legislation, and manage resources more efficiently - improving profits and reputation while reducing their impact on the environment. It is also building up a pool of quality-assured providers for businesses to use.

The manner in which businesses plan, procure, construct and maintain our built environment makes a vital contribution towards sustainable development. Combined with increasing government emphasis on sustainable procurement and a broad range of stakeholder pressures, the marketplace is changing.

The DETR's 'Building a better quality of life' report (DETR, 2000), set out a strategy for the construction industry to move towards building more sustainable assets and working in a more efficient and socially and environmentally responsible manner. This emphasised the need for a culture change within the industry.

The aims of sustainable construction are to produce structures that enhance the quality of life and protect the environment, and to do so efficiently, profitably and fairly. There is a clear need in the industry that they require assistance in improving the sustainability of their businesses.

LESS is being run by Atkins on behalf of the London Development Agency (LDA).

* CIRIA EPIC (2006)

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