Tarmac research reveals industry confidence in meeting UK net zero targets

July 5, 2021

Construction and infrastructure professionals are confident that the UK can deliver the Prime Minister’s 68* per cent carbon reduction target by 2030 but want further clarity from the government ahead of COP26 – according to new industry research released today. 

Around 65 per cent of respondents to our Clean construction: unlocking net zero surveywhich has been delivered in partnership with Infrastructure Intelligence, stated they were optimistic that the government’s 2030 target could be met. However, over 60 per cent called for more detail from Westminster before the international COP26 summit in November in the form of a national net zero roadmap.  

The unique piece of research has canvassed the views of professionals and senior decision makers working across the sector to deliver a snapshot of views and attitudes about the key challenges being faced on the journey ahead to net zero. 

Among other key findings, it was identified that nearly half (45%) of respondents want more guidance and training from government to help the sector decarbonise in a sign that project teams are increasingly thinking more carefully about their operations and the environmental choices they are making.   

There is nevertheless a divergence in how people are measuring carbon impacts – whether this is it at corporate or project level. Although there are good levels of understanding (70%) about what constitutes whole life measurement, the data reveals that just over a third of companies are using this method but, alarmingly, around 25 per cent still do not evaluate carbon on the projects they are working on. 

Dr Martyn Kenny, our sustainability director, said: “The results from this survey have provided an excellent opportunity to understand the market’s current sentiment on net zero. It’s positive to see there’s an air of quiet confidence in the infrastructure and construction community about the UK’s ability to deliver net zero, reflecting the corporate progress that has been made over the last year.   

“While it’s great to see there is a willingness to learn more, it’s also clear that industry evaluation of carbon on projects remains a mixed picture. Although awareness of whole life measurement is around 70%, only just over a third of companies are evaluating carbon in this way. It’s clear more needs to be done to adopt a consistent approach to measuring carbon – tackling CO2 emissions requires an industry-wide method and early engagement to shape and embed whole-life measurement into projects from the outset.” 

The results from the Clean construction: unlocking net zero survey have been written up into a report by Tarmac and Infrastructure Intelligence, which is available to read here: 

To find out more, email the team at  

*At the time this research was undertaken, achieving a 68 per cent carbon reduction by 2030 was acknowledged as a government commitment. It is now recognised that this figure has been amended to a target of 78 per cent by 2035.