Constructing Excellence in the North East (CENE) has appointed Lee Francis, chief executive at RE:GEN Group, as chair of the CENE Climate Emergency Group.

He will be supported by existing vice co-chairs Leanne Fletcher and James Prime.

Established in March 2021 as a sector theme group within CENE, the Climate Emergency Group brings together representatives from across the construction sector to review climate emergency guidance, commitments and legislation at a regional and national level.

Its vision is to align itself with the North East England Climate Coalition (NEECCo) principles and to be at the forefront of engagement and motivation within the built environment, supporting companies and individuals from all areas of the construction sector with their climate impact.

Members review the potential impact on the region and promote climate action through NEECCo, the OneVoice construction strategy and other CENE initiatives and activities.

Organisations within the Climate Group include Turner & Townsend, Gleeds, Bellway Homes, Thirteen Group, JDDK, Port of Tyne, ICE North East, Carney Consultancy, Yorkshire and North East Energy Hub and North East LEP.

Lee Francis, said: “I am supported by a very talented team of industry professionals and I am looking forward to the challenge. The group aims to actively encourage cross-sector collaboration, initiatives and approaches to mitigating the effects of climate change in the construction industry.

“We will support and share national strategies, initiatives and working groups and encourage collaboration between regional groups to align work and activities.

“We build on the work of the North East Construction sector’s OneVoice strategy and action plan, launched in 2020, with the aim of building a successful, sustainable and inclusive construction industry, equipped with the people and technology to deliver a carbon neutral built environment by 2050, if not before. As such, we are working collaboratively, to ensure we deliver on decarbonising the region’s built environment and to drive forward sustainability by knowledge sharing and best practice.”

Catriona Lingwood, chief executive at Constructing Excellence in the North East, said: “The Climate Emergency Group will greatly benefit from the experience of Lee Francis as its chair and Leanne Fletcher and James Prime as vice co-chairs.

“There is already a great deal of positive activity in the region. For example, we are working with SmartCarbon to help the region’s construction industry to act on carbon by measuring, reporting and reducing individual companies’ emissions and, therefore, the industry’s carbon footprint. To date, 21 organisations have benefited from the Decarbonising Construction, Carbon Champions programme, of which there are 3 steps.

“The first is a Climate Reality Check. Step two is the Carbon Champion Course which is Institute for Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) and Northumbria University accredited. The third step shows how to record carbon emissions and enables organisations to identify where and how they can make further reductions, all of which are subsidised by CENE.

“Climate change is a top priority particularly within our industry and by working together on a regional level, whilst also supporting national initiatives, we will continue to encourage best practice.

“A survey undertaken at the end of 2021 by the National Engineering Policy, notes that the built environment currently contributes 40% of the UK’s carbon emissions and it is estimated the construction sector contributes up to 11% of global carbon emissions, so, although we are making great strides, collectively, more needs to be done.”