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NGOs and stakeholders call for an EU Strategy for Sustainable Built Environment

Thirty-one NGOs and stakeholders have signed a letter in which they call upon the EU to deliver an EU Strategy for a Sustainable Built Environment (SSBE) as part of its implementation of the EU Circular Economy Action Plan.

Forty per cent of energy consumption is caused by buildings and the construction industry within the EU. Furthermore, buildings are responsible for 36 per cent of CO2 emissions, 50 per cent of raw materials and 33 per cent of waste and water use. But on the other hand, they account for being a pillar for sustainable recovery through decarbonisation, local job creation, quality of life, innovation and digitalisation.

According to the signatories, people around the EU and also the market expect drastic steps from the European Commission to reduce these numbers until 2030 and mainly by 2050. In regard to the Circular Economy Action Plan, the proposal of the Strategy for a Sustainable Built Environment would like to achieve coherence across the relevant policies: climate, energy and resource efficiency, management of construction and demolition waste, accessibility, digitalisation and skills.

“This strategy must make clear links between existing proposals and existing legislation such as the Waste Framework Directive and Construction Products Regulation, as well as other ongoing revisions of the Energy Efficiency Directive, Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and include housing and urban planning issues currently missing from the proposal,” wrote the signatories. “Developing an integrated EU policy framework for a sustainable Built Environment is now paramount. Clear coordination of actions is needed to capitalise on commitments already made in the EU Recovery Plan and Renovation Wave and Whole Lifecycle Carbon Roadmap.”

The NGOs and stakeholders also highlight the New European Bauhaus Initiative, which plays an important role in combining design, sustainability, accessibility, affordability and investment in order to help deliver the European Green Deal. Also, the construction value chain needs the commitment of the EU to promote sustainable and circular building solutions, harmonised methodologies and generate adequate investment. The best way would be a clear and coherent legislative framework that would be able to cope with the construction sector’s major environmental impacts and the SSBE could help to pave for this framework.

To reach this ambitious goal SSBE must come to life, there is no time left. It could be the comprehensive guide to a more sustainable human-built environment and to the construction sector. The signatories urge the EU Commission to deliver this strategy in 2021 and coordinate a whole and just transition like it is written in the case of the European Green Deal as well.

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