Let’s Go Zero, a campaign which supports schools to reach zero carbon by 2030, has responded to the National Audit Office (NAO) warning that the risk of injury or death from a school building collapse is “very likely and critical”.
Alex Green, Head of Let’s Go Zero said: “It is deeply concerning that the National Audit Office reports today the overall conditions of school estates are declining following years of under-investment. To help address safety concerns and also ensure schools are fit for the future, the government must urgently adapt and retrofit the UK school estate.
“A state-wide retrofit programme would help cut high energy bills, help the UK meet its climate targets, and spark green jobs in every corner of the country.”
Let’s Go Zero, which is made up of a coalition of NGOs supporting schools to decarbonise, are talking directly with the government about their proposals for schools.
Representing 2,232 schools including nearly 170,000 teachers and 1.86m pupils, Let’s Go Zero points out that the Department for Education’s new Sustainability and Climate Change strategy released in April 2022 includes several steps in the right direction, but it does not go anywhere near far enough, fast enough in the face of a climate emergency.
Let’s Go Zero is calling for the government to commit to all UK schools being zero carbon by 2030 and to announce long-term and consistent policies and funding to enable this, and to invest in adapting and retrofitting the school estate.
“Progress has been made with a commitment in November 2021 by the Department for Education to commit to improving their building specifications, so that all new school buildings from 2022 onwards are net zero carbon in operation, but the majority of school buildings are old – and they are still left cold and unsafe,” says Ms Green.
This NAO report highlights the fact that improving the fabric of schools is an urgent safety concern. This work needs to be done bringing in energy efficiency so that schools are warm and safe spaces for learning, dramatically cheaper to run, and healthier.”