Polypipe Civils Comment: Q3 2021

To a large extent, the challenges faced in the previous quarter are the same in Q3 with material availability continuing to cause disruption across all sectors. In addition, we are now being subject to further commercial uncertainties as a result of significant energy price fluctuations, skills shortages and a far more mobile labour force.

Demand is high and it’s forecast to stay that way, although with the usual seasonal variations around the end of the year. Yet the ever-present threat of re-imposed COVID restrictions also hangs over us. Our industry finds itself in exceptional times.

It is said that ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. With the challenges our industry faces, there has never been a better opportunity to embrace change and to look for new solutions and new ways of working.

The need for a new approach is not just in relation to the current supply issues. It’s also true in response to climate change and our pledge to achieve Net-Zero. COP26 presented us with a stark picture of what needs to be done to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.

The wider acceptance of recycled materials is one area where our industry could look to effect a positive change on the environment. Opening or creating new standards allows the use of breakthrough technologies which deliver wider, long-term benefits to support a true circular economy.

Staying with the theme of climate goals, we were pleased to see the Government’s Environment Act finally achieve Royal Assent on 9th November, two years after its introduction. Setting out the Government’s overarching vision for leaving nature in a better state for future generations, the Act is seen as a milestone in shaping ambitious resilience and ecological policy.

The Act’s requirements for developments to achieve a net-gain uplift in biodiversity will transform our urban landscape and deliver a wealth of multi-functional benefits for communities and the environment. Further legally binding targets to improve nature, air and water quality will be introduced next year.

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