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A Blueprint for Sustainable Construction

With construction booming in high-growth areas of EU Member States, it is vital to achieve a common approach between public sector bodies and the private sector to ensure that sustainable development principles are applied in new developments. These approaches and policies need to be readily transferable from one country to another based on best practice for environmental sustainability.

SusPurPol was designed to meet this need as part of the Green Growth pillar of the INTERREG 3C GROW programme, creating a blueprint for sustainability in planning, construction and related purchasing of goods and services. It shows that sustainable development policies can be translated into actual legislation and accepted into development and planning policies in many different areas.

SusPurPol is led by the Environment Centre (UK), working with other partners in the UK, Spain and Poland. The project’s target groups are local authorities and business communities with the aim of upgrading spatial and environmental policy in the three countries. The partners use the skills and experience of politicians, academics, planners, architects, construction analysts and researchers to create awareness and share knowledge in order to influence local governments to adopt sustainable development best practice.

A major result of the project is the successful delivery in the UK of the South Hampshire Sustainable Development Policy (‘SH14’), which has been taken up by 11 local authorities in the South Hampshire area. The policy influences how sustainable construction goals for renewable energy use, water saving and re-use of waste construction materials will be applied in building at least 80,000 homes, including in the social rented sector.

In Spain, the effectiveness of recycling of construction waste in Andalucía was evaluated and demonstrated, with a formal control process administered by the regional authority. The project also resulted in the transfer of research and development best practice in sustainable design for the 21st century between Malopolska (PL), Andalucía (ES) and South East England (UK).

“One of the great things about this project was the genuine willingness to cooperate and share ideas across all three partner countries,” said project manager Dr Richard Williams of the Environment Centre. “The fact that each partner was able to contribute different and relevant aspects to the outcomes of the project meant they all ‘owned’ the results and are committed to their continued use and adoption after the project ends.”

SusPurPol will have a vigorous life even after the project is formally wound up. The ‘SH14’ policy delivered in South East England has a 20-year lifetime, running until 2026. Andalucía’s construction waste recycling scheme has the capacity to be rolled out to other Spanish regions in the near future and potentially to the UK and Poland in the medium term. The project has also created a new knowledge base for young architects and designers that will help them to incorporate new techniques of sustainable development into the mainstream for all types of new construction.

“The project shows that sustainable development policies can be translated into actual legislation and accepted into development and planning policies.”

Contact: Christine Watkins Environment Centre, 14-15 Brunswick Place, Southampton, SO15 2AQ, UK Tel: +44 (0)2380336217  Email:

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