Tuesday, June 06, 2006

BigREc Survey 1998

BigREc is a trade survey by Salvo that came two year's after a question to the Prime Minister from Salvo. (The html is quite groovy for 1998 but it looks slightly dated now.)

The BigREc Survey is the only complete survey of the reclaimed building materials sector ever undertaken. It was commissioned by the DoE, now DETR, who asked Gilli Hobbs at BRE to get the work done, and she asked Salvo. These figures are still being used in some quarters, despite their being ten years out of date. Attempts by Salvo ovber the past five years to get funding for a repeat survey have so far failed. This means that no update has been available to assess the damage done to reclaiming and reuse by the recycle and destroy sector. Handy for the destroyers, of course, among whom the quasi-quango WRAP have been the main protagonists in the past few years.

The story of BigREc is political too. Every year I used to write to the Prime Minister, first Margaret Thatcher and then John Major, asking the same question: Is reclaiming bricks for reuse a good idea? No reply was received until in 1992, when the letter got passed to Michael Heseltine, the then minister for the environment. Why? Because Salvo was based in Bath at the time, and our local MP, Chris Patten, was a member of the Tory cabinet. He was a supporter of reuse, and even wrote about the concept of reclaiming building materials being a good thing in his major and lasting environmental policy document, 'This Common Inheritance'. So Chris gave Michael a nudge, and Michael passed the query down the line in his department. A question like this cannot be answered without research. So some research was suggested which was eventually commissioned by the DTI, from the BRE who asked Salvo.

Unfortunately, by the time the research was finished, the Major government had been swept aside by Blair who immediately condemned reuse of old stuff as not 'New Labour' and paid for caravans to tour the country recommending that everyone should buy new office furniture, demolish their old buildings and build loads of new ones - which is more or less what has happened. The reclamation trade which up to that point had been merrily expanding found themselves going backwards as the recyclers began to get a (state-subsidised) grip on their materials. And the rest is history.

BigREc Survey

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.