Gary Neville issues challenge to government over sustainability at InstallerShow23

Gary Neville used InstallerShow23 to call upon the government to provide more support to both homeowners and businesses to ensure that low-carbon measures are actually affordable to install

In a passionate keynote session at the show, Gary, who has an extensive property portfolio in Manchester, said that the energy efficiency and low carbon improvements touted by the government, from insulation to heat pumps would not be embraced by the public in the current climate unless the costs of products and installation were addressed.

He said:

The government and the private sector need to work together on this because it is costly to be sustainable…We need to be careful about preaching sustainability because we are expecting a lot of 65 million homeowners to fit insulation [and other measures] – it costs a fortune to increase energy efficiency in these properties and there is little subsidy in place.

Gary urged the low-carbon technology specialists in the audience to focus on the energy and cost savings that their products could provide, to encourage their customers to move towards net zero.

But he also made it clear that the current government was not providing the necessary drive to see the net zero target through – at one point telling the audience that now David Cameron’s claim that the Conservatives would have the greenest government, was ‘just a lie.’

He added that some developers in the Manchester region were threatening to ‘go defensive’ for the next 12 months and hold off on development until the political situation stabilised.

He said:

I have got no faith in this government to drive policy on sustainability… They remind me of sitting on a roundabout, just spinning around, not being able to do anything…It needs to get off.

Gary detailed how he had endeavoured to build sustainability into his business and life but he said that there were a number of other factors that currently served to slow the adoption of sustainable measures. He described a 200,00 sq ft development that is due to be announced which couldn’t use the timber frame that his sustainability consultant had advised, because the insurance companies would not cover it above the fourth floor. He called on the industry to reach out to these insurers to find ways to overcome these limitations:

We hope it will be the most sustainable in Manchester. It is Smart-enabled and WELL-building enabled and it is net zero carbon in construction. Then we need the tenants to help us become net zero carbon in operation…

But, he said, too often, the cost was the limiting factor:

The reality is you can’t always build as sustainably as you would like – there are a number of factors at play and the key one is cost. Look at the first measures to go when there is value engineering and they are probably the ones you most want – the sustainable ones.