The Government has said more than 100 schools need to close due to safety concerns with RAAC concrete. This will present the opportunity for environmental sustainability concerns to be addressed in tandem during the rebuild process, spurring Government progress on its environmental commitments.
The education estate – including schools, colleges and universities – is currently the public sector’s largest emitter of carbon from buildings. Last year, the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) asked the National Audit Office (NAO) to undertake a study on the sustainability of the Department for Education (DfE).
The NAO’s report was published on 28 June. Within its report, the NAO identified that while the DfE had made commitments to improve environmental sustainability, the funding allocated to date failed to match the ambition of these commitments. It also found that there was a lack of awareness within the Department as to which of its current schemes are having an impact on reducing carbon emissions.
Alongside this report, the NAO published a further report on ‘Condition of school buildings’. On publication of the two reports, the NAO recommended that the DfE considered how its sustainability ambitions can be achieved when addressing the condition of the school estate.