School building programme must focus on retrofitting existing buildings

The UK government must use its school building programme to retrofit existing buildings in order to become a leader in low carbon innovation in schools, says climate charity, Ashden in a letter to the chancellor. 

Schools across England have been promised a £1bn rebuilding programme to upgrade and refurbish schools to give children a ‘world-class education’ after months away from the classroom.

Climate charity Ashden, who have spent the past years supporting schools to reduce their carbon footprint is calling on the Prime Minister to ensure that this funding supports a low-carbon future.

According to the charity, 65% of England’s schools are more than 80 years old, so retrofitting buildings to improve energy efficiency is essential.

Ashden is among 52 other environment and education organisations who have written to the Chancellor Rishi Shunak calling for a ‘Green Recovery for Education.’

The letter says: ‘It is our view that the education estate should be prioritised for any fiscal stimulus investment. The education system can, and will, play a pivotal role in helping transition society towards a net-zero future, and the buildings the next generation are educated in must be at the heart of this.

Harriet Lamb, CEO of Ashden commented on the letter: ‘We welcome this long-overdue investment in the fabric of England’s schools.

‘Energy is the second-largest budget item for schools after staffing, every pound spent sorting out leaky and energy-guzzling school buildings can be money invested in our children’s learning. The UK could become a global example of low carbon innovation in school retrofit and construction which could kickstart our national green economy.

This is an example we need to set to our children – who have been leading calls for action on the climate.

‘We know schools stand ready to play their part in tackling climate change through the food they buy, encouraging children to walk and cycle to schools, and addressing energy use and building refurbishment. They look to the Government to play its part with a massive investment programme following this welcome first step.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

 

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Pippa Neill

Pippa Neill

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