The outstanding theme at both UKPropFest last Thursday and the OxPropFest Awards in the evening was sustainability. Where that takes us now is going to be very interesting.

One the one hand, it seems hard to believe that energy efficiency was not a requirement in the past. How much heat was produced over the years, only to seep out of poorly insulated buildings, designed with little interest in the cost of utilities.

On the other hand, the radical measures being introduced into development and transport will have a big price tag.

The next generation seem to be fully on board with climate issues while their parents and grandparents can recall many warnings, going back to the 1970s, that the world is about to end if we don’t do XYZ. We didn’t and it didn’t.

Now though, like so many things, the issue has become polarised, politicised and tribal among the general public – as if we need yet another divisive topic!

OxLEP chief executive Nigel Tipple spoke of the need to bring communities on board. This gets to the heart of a problem that lies ahead. The people directly affected by the requirement to rip out boilers and install new systems at five-figure sums, may not be the ones cheering Greta Thunberg.

At last Thursday’s event, there was considerable talk of messaging. That’s going to become ever more important. The property world seems well aware of the challenge but those on troubled council estates, fearing crime, unemployment and poverty might not consider biodiversity their priority.

OxLEP has certainly identified the issue. The next problem is how best to tackle it.

Look out for our reports on each session of UKPropFest over the next few days and in next week’s newsletter.

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