Harman set to lead building task force

Environment Agency chairman Sir John Harman is to be the joint head of the government's sustainable buildings task group. He will be co-chair alongside English Partnerships deputy chairman Victor Benjamin.

The task group, announced at the Better Buildings Summit in October (Planning, 24 October, p1), will focus on how industry and the government can improve the quality and sustainability of new and refurbished buildings.

The joint initiative by the ODPM, DEFRA and Department for Trade and Industry has set next February as the deadline for unveiling its findings.

A DEFRA spokesman insisted that the group will meet this target, although it is understood that no dates have been set for its first meeting.

Harman commented: "It is not only about how we design and refurbish buildings, it is about how they are built in the first place. If today's new homes are to be sustainable, they must be efficient in their use of materials, energy and water."

The group includes WWF chief executive Robert Napier, Cambridge City Council planning chief Peter Studdart and Sustainable Construction Task Force chairman Ian Coull, who was appointed junior vice-president of the British Property Federation this week.

Other members include Broadway Malyan sustainability director Lynne Sullivan and Development Securities managing director Julian Barwick.

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