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  • Published: Jul 31st, 2009
  • Category: UK
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Funding to be linked to carbon reduction

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Universities will have to reduce their carbon footprint in order to secure funding, it has been announced.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) will require institutions to have carbon-management plans in place after 2011.

The body has launched a consultation about how the plans will be linked to capital funding for universities and higher education institutions.

Sir Alan Langlands, HEFCE chief executive, said higher education was “uniquely placed to play a leading role” in helping the UK to meet its targets.

“We believe that the approach outlined in this consultation will harness the commitment, creativity and innovation in higher education, to achieve a genuine carbon-reduction culture,” he said.

“We hope that all institutions, working with partners, will want to be part of this effort to significantly reduce emissions.”

Business secretary Lord Mandelson said the results would be awaited with “enormous interest”, and added: “Universities can play a vital role in our economic recovery, especially in advancing a strategy for real and lasting change in order to reduce our carbon footprint.”

The HEFCE strategy includes a commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 80 per cent against 1990 levels by 2050 and by at least 34 per cent by 2020. It also said it “aspires” to reduce emissions by 100 per cent against 1990 levels by 2050, and by 50 per cent by 2020.

The Carbon Trust said the consultation was “valuable” and the proposed targets “a good thing”.

Richard Rugg, the trust’s head of public sector, said: “HEFCE’s consultation is valuable because it will encourage universities and colleges to focus on the practical details of how they are going to cut their carbon.

“The proposed targets are a good thing. Expecting higher education to sign up to the same commitment as the UK is only reasonable, while the more ambitious target of halving emissions in the next 10 years is certainly achievable: some universities working with us are on track to do this in only five or six years.”

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