Schools to join carbon trading scheme

Carbon emissions from state schools will be included in local authority totals from April 2010 in a pioneering scheme aimed at boosting energy efficiency.

Environment secretary Hilary Benn announced this month that energy use in schools will count towards the total emissions of local authorities under the compulsory Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) trading scheme.

The aim of the scheme is to encourage local authorities and large businesses to reduce emissions, in turn cutting bills and carbon footprints.

Mr Benn said: “Young people stand to gain most tomorrow from the action we take on climate change today.

“That’s why schools should be included in the shift to a low carbon economy.

“Bringing schools into the carbon footprint of local authorities taking part in this scheme will encourage greater energy efficiency, with children seeing the results in their own schools.”

Under the scheme, all individual schools in Britain will tell their local authority their annual energy use.

These emissions will then be included in local authority totals.

The councils will then work with schools to bring down their energy use, thereby cutting the local authority’s overall annual emissions total.

The government wants every new school building to be zero-carbon from 2016.

The CRC will include about 5,000 organisations such as supermarkets, hotel chains, universities, water companies and government departments, with electricity bills of more than £500,000 a year.

Defra said it is writing to some 10,000 organisations to warn them that they may be included in the CRC.

Full details of the Carbon Reduction Commitment can be found here.

David Gibbs

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie