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One-day conference to explore ‘how we build, plan and construct’

Photos by Johnny Bugeja

Aspire, a one-day conference that will look at the Sustainable Built Environment for Gibraltar and “improving how we build, plan and construct” will be held next month featuring experts from the field.

The event is being organised by the Department of the Environment, Sustainability, Climate Change and Heritage and will be held at the Sunborn on June 9, opened by the Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Joseph Garcia.

“Development is always controversial and there are all sorts of different views as to where we are in Gibraltar from the point of view on development,” Minister for the Environment, Dr John Cortes, said at a press conference held in his office.

“But as long as there is development, and that is a different argument in itself, we need to have it sustainable. In this day and age when we are all clearly aware of the dangers that our whole planet is facing, and have legislated in order to achieve near zero energy buildings as a legal requirement.”

“And because of that we feel like we have a responsibility to work with industry in order to try and achieve exactly that, sustainability in our built environment.”

Dr Cortes said there are lots of new technologies and possibilities in “improving the way we build, plan and construct”.

Aspire will allow participants to share their expertise, discuss current trends and challenges and network with like-minded individuals.

Attendees can expect to hear from keynote speakers, participate in interactive workshops and engage in stimulating panel sessions covering a variety of topics related to sustainable construction and development.

Confirmed speakers include Catriona Brady, the Strategic Director of the World Green Building Council; Julie Godefroy, the CIBSE Net Zero Policy Lead; Jason de Carteret from Solar Century Africa; and the Liberal Democrat peer the Rt Hon Baroness Northover, who is Vice-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Environment.

A full list of speakers and sessions can be found on the event’s website

Catherine Walsh, of the Department of the Environment, told reporters: “In discussions with industry, there is a recognition that the sector needs to do more to account for the changes we are seeing globally and to account for its impact on climate change, and on the environment more generally.”

“We have had positive feedback from everyone we have spoken to about their desire to do more and their desire to work with Government to achieve more and to achieve a better environment.”

“That is the inspiration behind the name of the event, Aspire.”

“We all need to aspire to do better, to deliver the type of Gibraltar that we all actually want to live in.”

In terms of sustainable building, she said this is not only based on reducing the negative impact of building on the environment and the human population, but to improve the health and well-being of all who live here.

She hopes that this event will help to hold “positive conversations that will lead to positive changes”.

Ruth Massias Greenberg, of Gamma Architects, underscored the need for the involvement of the private sector in such an event at a time when there is a lot of development taking place.

The event is being sponsored by Casais and the Montagu Group as Gold Sponsors, NatWest International as Silver and the Trusted Novus Bank, North Gorge Properties and Chestertons as Bronze Sponsors.

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