In February 2003 the UK and Swedish Prime Ministers, Tony Blair and Göran Persson, wrote jointly to the European Commission to urge a step change in the EU’s approach to decoupling economic growth and environmental degradation. They highlighted the “need to actively exchange information and best practice between the Member States on building design and energy consumption”.
Since this letter, the UK and Sweden have been working closely together on environmental technologies. At a workshop in London in January 2004 attended by the UK and Swedish Environment Ministers, and leading academics, industry representatives, NGOs and officials from both countries, sustainable construction and buildings was identified as an area where continued joint efforts on technologies could help take forward domestic goals in the two countries and also show leadership in Europe.
The joint UK-Sweden Initiative on Sustainable Construction aims to highlight and share best practice in sustainable construction across the construction chain, and to provide leadership across the EU. The initiative was launched on 13 June 2005 in Malmö, Sweden, by Elliot Morley, UK Environment Minister and Mona Sahlin, Swedish Minister for Sustainable Development. The launch took the form of a workshop where sustainable construction was discussed by people with practical experience, current UK-Sweden activities in this area were highlighted, and the formation of new relevant UK-Sweden partnerships was encouraged.
In March 2007, the Steering Group agreed that the best way to deliver results was to move the initiative to a new phase focusing primarily on regional cooperation and the private sector. Cambridgeshire County Council and Malmo City Council have begun to implement an ambitious work programme, which will see actors and stakeholders from both regions coming together to share best practice within the construction industry.
This dedicated website is one output of the initiative, and it is also hoped to hold regular events. The site is hosted by the industry-led Constructing Excellence organisation.