A panel of leading experts, including NPS Senior Director Marina Robertson, came together this week for the launch of the Society for Public Architecture, Construction, Engineering and Surveying’s (SPACES) ‘Year of Net Zero Carbon and the Climate Emergency’.

Marked by a webinar hosted by NPS Operations Director Alex Gee, Marina joined Patrick Begg, Outdoors and Natural Resources Director for the National Trust, Dr Shaun Fitzgerald, Director at the Centre for Climate Repair at Cambridge University and Sheryl French, Programme Director for the Energy Investment at Cambridgeshire County Council to discuss key issues affecting sustainability in the public sector as well as how to decide what to “green” and what to “offset” and is there an acceptable ratio.

Click here to watch the full session

Ahead of the webinar, Alex also spoke to each panellist individually in a series of insightful podcasts, to talk about their careers, the important lessons they have learnt, what they think we should do to actively achieve net zero carbon, and why we need to be involved.

Alex was delighted to be asked by SPACES to kickstart their Year of Net Zero, commenting: “It was a real privilege to get to know our experts and to hear a scientific, an engineering, an economic, and a humanitarian perspective on how we can overcome the challenges of becoming net carbon zero.”

He added: “It was evident that, to be successful, we all have to care enough to make this change and only through collaboration can we achieve a better outcome for our planet. This is a global problem but one that impacts every community, every business, every school and every home.”

In her podcast with Alex, Marina stressed the responsibility we hold towards future generations to pass them an earth that can be enjoyed in the way the previous generation has enjoyed it.

“This will be impossible unless we act now,” she said. “If we do nothing, and we survive, then our years will be known in the future as the second dark ages.”

Marina explained that to support sustainability, there needs to be significant and non-competitive funding for innovation and technological research, to help local authorities meet their 2030 carbon neutral targets.

“Local Authorities do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to decarbonisation. We should not be pitching them against each other to compete for funding. Placing such conflicting demands on them is a Damocles sword – we need to collaborate.”

“At NPS, we spend a lot of our time considering these trade-offs between long term vision and shorter term priorities faced by many of our local authority clients. We strive to continually offer advice that helps them manage these trade-offs and help them create strategies that allow them to prioritise and start delivering on their targets as soon as possible. Whole life costing is at the centre of carbon budgeting for local authorities and this is where we can really help.”

You can listen to Marina’s full podcast interview here

You can also find Alex’s conversations with the other panellists here