A roadmap for sustainability

  • 19th January 2024

The Department for Education (DfE) has pledged to clarify how it will meet its sustainability targets.

Baroness Barran, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the DfE, confirmed to the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) last month that a detailed roadmap will be published by this autumn.

This decision is in response to EAC chairman, Philip Dunne MP, writing to the Secretary of State for Education in November to warn that the department was not ‘moving at pace’ to deliver on its net zero target of 2050.

The EAC maintains that the Government has not ‘fully grasped’ the impact climate change could have on schools.

And it is also concerned there is not sufficient funding to retrofit the estate, urging the Government to consider sustainability and climate risks alongside essential retrofitting to replace RAAC.

Dunne said: “In November, the committee raised alarm that the Department for Education’s current plans would see only 20% of the school estate in England net zero compliant by 2050.

“This is a significant worry when education is currently the largest emitter of carbon from buildings in the public sector.

“For the whole of the UK to meet net zero, the education sector in England must make swifter progress on decarbonisation.”

He added: “I welcome the minister’s commitment to publish a roadmap later this year for the Department for Education to meet its sustainability targets.

“This will be an invaluable resource, allowing the department to set out in detail the challenge ahead and giving ministers sufficient visibility of the urgent case for significant additional funding for this large element of the public buildings estate.”

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