News | Published January 28 2020

JKH’s efforts to reduce environmental impact could help UK hit net-zero carbon targets

One of the landmark bills of Boris Johnson’s premiership to date has come in the shape of the Environment Bill, which will guarantee a new independent Office for Environmental Protection which will hold the government to account on its commitment to reach net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2050.

As well as putting the environment at the forefront of all policy-making, the Bill will task the whole of the UK and its firms with the responsibility of reducing their carbon emissions as the country looks to decisively move toward net-zero over the next 30 years.

One firm which is ahead of the curve and already striving to reduce its environmental impact is Suffolk based business J K H, which offers specialist pre-cast concrete products for numerous industries.

Concrete, as company director Brian Prince told The Parliamentary Review, is "the most versatile of the commonly used materials within the construction industry", but this does come with its pitfalls as far as the environment is concerned.

Prince said: “This leads to environmental impacts, as for every tonne of cement used, one tonne of carbon dioxide is released into the environment.”

Prince then went on to describe how the firm has set about making concrete in more controlled conditions, not just reducing the amounts of concrete used, but also using techniques which produce lower emissions.

Prince explained: “By producing concrete in our controlled factory conditions, the amount used is considerably reduced. Pre-casting produces far lower emissions than casting structures on-site.

“An additional method that we employ to reduce our carbon footprint is the incorporation of the waste material slag, produced in the steel production industry. This has been achieved by installing a new batching plant that can incorporate the slag into the majority of our production, and this has subsequently reduced our cement usage by nearly 40 per cent.”

As well as taking steps to bring its emissions down, the firm has also undertaken initiatives to use green energy to power its own sites.

Prince said: “We have also installed solar panels on both of our sites. In 2017, the quantity of electricity that we produced exceeded the total amount used.”

There will be many factors involved if the UK is to achieve its carbon goal, with issues such as bringing hybrid and electric vehicles into the mainstream seen as key to helping reach net-zero by the target date, however, the attitude of businesses like J K H offer an example to other firms as to exactly the sorts of steps they should be taking to ensure they pull their own weight in tackling climate change.

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Authored by

Scott Challinor
Business Editor
January 28 2020

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