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Road to Rio+20

The first in the series of events organised by CIRIA in the run up to the United Nations’ Road to Rio+20 which will take place 20 - 22 June 2012

A variety of professions gathered in a small room just off the Regent’s Canal in Haggerston last week to kick start The Road to Rio+20 series organised by CIRIA.

Rio 92 Earth Summit. Brazilian President Fernando Collor de Mello

Rio 92 Earth Summit. Brazilian President Fernando Collor de Mello

The CIRIA events provide an opportunity to discuss what has been achieved in the 20 years since the Rio Earth Summit, highlight current issues and examine how we’ll progress in the future.The first event focused on mitigation and adaptation from the perspective of a contractor, architect, planner and the Environment Agency.

United Nations Road to Rio+20

United Nations Road to Rio+20

The speakers included:

Jon Clubb, Climate Change Coordinator, Climate UK

Brian Handcock, Head of sustainability, Morgan Sindall

Nic Crawley, Associate and head of sustainability, AHMM

Tim Reeder, Regional Climate Change programme manager, EA

Organic waste is also used to power stove as Road to Rio finds out in India.

Organic waste is also used to power stove as Road to Rio finds out in India.

Jon Clubb [Climate Change Coordinator at the Local Government Yorkshire and Humber] began the afternoon by sharing his first-hand experience dealing with individual councils who are currently trying to incorporate climate change in their policy. Jon operates Your Climate which brings together key agencies across the region to tackle the cause and effect of climate change. In the future, Your Climate will collaborate with the Environment Agency to deliver a new programme of adaptation advice and support open to everyone, including local councils who need greater assistance. Jon’s view is that climate change should be addressed at a local level as well as globally to get the best results. Local councils need additional support and assistance.

Carnegie Primary School, Morgan Sindall

Carnegie Primary School, Morgan Sindall

Next up was Brain Handcock who comes from a background of contracting and presented two projects with green credentials recently completed by Morgan Sindall: Archial’s Carnegie Primary School in Dunfermline and Esholt Waste Water Treatment Works in Yorkshire. Brian stressed the point that these projects address mitigation but not necessarily adaptation. Adaptation now needs to be taken seriously.

Angel Building, AHMM

Angel Building, AHMM

One practice which is looking at both adaption and mitigation are AHMM. AHMM’s Nic Crawley discussed two of the practice’s well-known projects: the Angel Building (previously covered on Footprint and in the AJ) and Regent Street Block W4. Nic confirmed that all AHMM projects have ‘Adaption Statements’, and that both adaption and mitigation are driven by value and design. AHMM have a separate ‘green team’ who are involved in each project to advise and collaborate with design teams on how to best deliver sustainable design.

Regent Street Block W4, AHMM

Regent Street Block W4, AHMM

Tim Reeder of the Environment Agency, the last speaker of the afternoon. claimed that ‘adaption is a Cinderella’. From 1st October 2011, the EA took on the role as the Government’s new delivery body in England to help organisations adapt to climate change. This role will build on the work of the UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP), based at Oxford University. The Environment Agency will provide advice and support to key sectors to help them build resilience to climate change.

A warning of a flooded area

A warning of a flooded area

The afternoon demonstrated the additional support which is slowly beginning to feed through the system. With new bodies popping up like Your Climate and new legislation being passed, it appears that support will continue to grow and develop. Twenty years have passed since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio and there is still a long way to go. Where will we be another twenty years from now?

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