We are doing everything we can to ensure we have continuity of business, while heeding the very latest Government advice. We monitor this daily and adapt our procedures and messaging immediately to any changes that are required. We would like to express our sympathies to everyone who has been affected and continues to be affected by the COVID-19 virus.

We would also like to show our support to our teams and key workers who are working tirelessly across the country.

For more about how Willmott Dixon group are responding to the everyday changes of Covid-19 please click here.
-07 Nov. 2022

COP27 – an urgent focus on rapid action for the climate

Julia Barrett, our Chief Sustainability Officer is looking ahead to COP27, read her thoughts on what to expect from the critically important climate conference and how we are advancing sustainability across our projects.

From the 6 – 18 November 2022 the world turns its eyes to Egypt to the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP27 as it’s more widely known. Faced with a growing energy crisis, record atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, and increasing extreme weather events, COP27 is arguably more important than ever as we seek renewed solidarity between countries, to deliver on the landmark Paris Agreement.


My reflections on COP26

12 months ago the focus was on Glasgow for COP26, where under the leadership of COP26 President, the Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, after 13 days of negotiations between 196 countries, the Glasgow Climate Pact was signed.For me, what made COP26 standout was the sheer range of agreements; as well as 196 countries agreeing to phase down the use of coal for energy production, we saw commitments covering forests, methane emissions, car emissions, and private finance The combined impact of the commitments was estimated to limit the global temperature rise to 2.7C. Closing out the COP26 conference, I remember an emotional Alok Sharma saying “We can now say with credibility that we have kept 1.5C alive. But, its pulse is weak and it will only survive if we keep our promises and translate commitments into rapid action.”.While the event was positive, subsequent action has not been as forthcoming. As recently as 25 October, only two weeks before COP27 starts, the UN calculated that the plans submitted by governments to deliver against their Nationally Declared Contributions made in Glasgow, would lead to a temperature rise of between 2.1C and 2.9C. The best estimate in that range is 2.5C – a marginal improvement of 0.2C. This slow progress in simply publishing plans coupled with the war in Ukraine and a global energy crisis has in turn shown why it’s essential we start moving from plans to that rapid action of delivery.


Looking ahead to COP27

2022 has been a year of extreme weather, three times the normal annual rain fell in Pakistan during the weekslong monsoon, extreme heat in Europe led to wildfires, especially in Spain and Portugal and in China, heat waves and drought dried up parts of the Yangtze River to the lowest level since at least 1865. Closer to home temperatures in the UK exceeded 40C in multiple locations for the first time on 19 July, beating the previous record of 38.7C that was set in 2019 by 1.6C. These events are becoming increasingly more frequent and despite current humanitarian and political crises, we cannot ignore the irreparable long-term impact our actions have on the planet.

Alongside a delivering a pathway to 1.5C, I am interested in developments at COP27 around biodiversity, adaption and agriculture. The pandemic has shown that beyond providing a massive carbon sink for the planet, how important access is to nature for our mental health, alongside the medical and scientific advancements that come from the planet’s natural environments – both on land and in the oceans’ spaces. We still have so much to discover and we destroy it at our peril.

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The built environment and sustainability

In the context of the global challenges we face, it’s a fair question to ask how are we at Willmott Dixon addressing the challenges faced by the built environment, and how this – impacts our role creating sustainable buildings and delivering our 2030 sustainability strategy, Now or Never.

When modelling our strategy objectives, we looked at many scenarios that could happen, from rising interest rates that make projects more expensive to deliver, to developing the knowledge and skills within our business to deliver buildings that are net zero in operation. We remain fully committed to the objectives we set out two years ago, helping our customers to deliver brilliant, sustainable buildings. Consequently meeting our key objective of all our new build and refurbishment projects delivered from 2030 being net zero in operation.

Over the past year, Willmott Dixon Construction have started work on Spelthorne Leisure Centre – a project that will deliver Greater London’s first Passivhaus leisure centre, North Tyneside Transport Interchange – creating a building that is net zero in both operational and embodied carbon terms, and Tarleton Academy – delivering a 750 place school in Preston that meets the Department for Education’s demanding net zero carbon in operation standards.

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Our Passivhaus leisure scheme for Spelthorne Borough Council

These three brilliant buildings will deliver outstanding outcomes for our customers. Each of them has been designed using a fabric first approach, where we ensure that a high-performance building envelope and construction methodology creates a building that minimises energy usage, operating costs and carbon emissions. It is imperative that this approach becomes the norm across our industry – if fabric first principles are not followed today, our customers are likely to have to incur much greater costs in the future to decarbonise their estate and achieve the net zero carbon future that we are all striving for.

As well as delivering high performing and net zero new buildings and major refurbishments, we are also committed to helping local authorities meet their climate emergency targets by addressing the sustainability challenges of their existing estate through our Decarbonise Today service. Through our Collida Living residential business, we are also delivering scalable residential solutions that meet Passivhaus and net zero carbon standards.

I urge you to keep a close eye on developments during COP27 and if you’d like to find out more about please feel to get in touch at

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