Making the Green Book truly green

The Government’s Green Book needs to better align with sustainability goals to achieve net zero targets, urges the South West Infrastructure Partnership (SWIP) as part of a new consultation.

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has sought expert advice on how reform of the Green Book could gear decisions on infrastructure investment towards achieving better social and environmental outcomes.

HM Treasury’s Green Book provides guidance and frameworks for assessing, appraising, and prioritising infrastructure investment.  However, concerns over unequal investment levels throughout the country have resulted in the Government conducting a review of the Green Book, potentially leading to a re-evaluation of the methodology and guidance that determines what gets built where, who benefits and how they benefit.

SWIP’s consultation response highlights issues over a mismatch between the legal requirements to achieve net zero outcomes from infrastructure by 2050 and the guidance in the current version of the Green Book. The Partnership believes the Green Book presents the objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions as less important than the direct financial outcomes of the project or programme being appraised.

Peter Kydd, SWIP Chair, said:

“Reform of the Green Book was highlighted by contributors to our Decarbonisation Workshops in Truro and Bristol earlier this year. It’s clear that if the Green Book was being written today, it would look very different, and reflect current priorities on net zero, sustainability, levelling up and social outcomes. Change is urgently needed to make the Green Book fit for purpose as the Government embarks on its plans for a green industrial revolution. I hope the ICE’s consultation prompts swift action to update this crucial resource.”