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Fears of another Grenfell-type fire are stunting the spread of wood-based buildings in the UK. The government is planning to reduce the maximum height of wood-framed buildings from six storeys to four. The move’s been recommended by the emergency services in order to reduce fire risk. But it contradicts other advice to increase timber construction because trees lock up climate-heating carbon emissions. In France, President Macron has ruled all new publicly-funded buildings should be at least 50% timber or other natural materials by 2022. And in Norway a new “ply-scraper” stretches fully 18 storeys – that’s the height recently deemed safe by standards authorities in North America. 18-storey "ply-scraper" Full story

25 May