BDA Webinar – April 2021 – “The Future of Infrastructure: Net Zero Carbon and Total Infrastructure Design” – Reviewed

April 19, 2021

The April running of the British Drilling Association (BDA) Webinar took place 14th April 2021, with Arup’s Director of Net Zero Infrastructure, Tim Chapman, presenting the engaging topic of “The Future of Infrastructure: Net Zero Carbon and Total Infrastructure Design.”

The webinar opened with Tim setting the scene for his presentation, explaining his involvement in sustainability with Arup, before exploring what BDA members do and how that fits within the context of the presentation and more importantly for what purpose. Making the point that much of what BDA members do within the framework of the topic – sustainable construction – is good, but that they should also look to some of the ‘bad’ things and either stop or change.

From posing the question: ‘should we stop building’, Tim explained that this is not the answer, as it is more about building the right things for the right reasons and gave the examples:

  • Trajectory to zero carbon
  • Levelling up the country
  • Restoring nature and biodiversity.

Tim then explained how the UK has some of the best sustainability policies, including a mention of the work of Professor Sir David Mackay (author of the excellent book “Sustainable energy – without the hot air”), and how the UK is already halfway to net zero carbon zero, but also the caveats within that headline fact.

From the stance of build nothing, through to building efficiently, Tim discussed the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), with the first 12 of these 17 seeing great progress, but 13 to 17 being perhaps the most critical [see presentation slide in video]. The Government’s Construction Innovation Hub was introduced, before looking at how GDP, as a measure of wealth, does not mean better wellbeing. How we transition to a low carbon future was explained and importantly how we keep society on-side while we do it, to ensure they don’t rebel against the changes imposed on their lifestyles.

Next Tim discussed ‘what does NET ZERO mean…’ and how we measure it, then he talked about the UK Climate Change Commission’s 6th Carbon Budget, December 2020. The specifics or pathway to sustainability, such as fuel use, was presented. Heat pump installation growth was highlighted as an example of how the work of BDA members would be a key component in reducing carbon emissions, as well as a great source of future work.

The impact of new industries was discussed, as well as what we as individuals can do, understanding how ‘virtuous’ we are and how we should all be more literate in carbon figures. How each company is progressing, failing and each’s trajectory were also discussed.

What declarations the construction and civil engineers have declared and how we can all get involved, but cautious not to be called out through hypocrisy.

A vision for society was then outlined, what people think and the trajectory for government policy was talked about and what needs to change with guidance, such as The Green Book.

Concluding, Tim went through a few suggestions we can all do to reduce our carbon footprint, before looking at some areas specific to BDA members and the fact we are all in this together – either we all save the future, or we all suffer the effects.

To listen to the webinar, visit – BDA Webinar – April – Choices for Net Zero Infrastructure-20210414_130419-Meeting Recording (1) (

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