Schools: Energy

Department for Education written question – answered on 8th October 2020.

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Photo of Helen Hayes Helen Hayes Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 3 September 2020 to Question 82193, what estimate he has made of the proportion of the £9.5 billion funding that will be spent on energy efficiency measures; and what steps he is taking to encourage energy efficiency measures.

Photo of Helen Hayes Helen Hayes Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the proportion of the £560 million in capital funding announced for schools that will be used for energy efficiency measures.

Photo of Helen Hayes Helen Hayes Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 3 September 2020 to Question 82193, what assessment he has made of the effect of the eight year payback conditions on the Salix finance scheme on schools' choices for more substantial energy efficiency measures.

Photo of Helen Hayes Helen Hayes Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 3 September 2020 to Question 82193, if he will set out a timeframe for when the application scheme for academies will reopen; and what steps he is taking to ensure that application scheme remains accessible on an annual basis.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The Government has allocated £9.5 billion in condition funding since 2015 to maintain and improve the school estate, including an extra £560 million this financial year. As much of the funding is provided to responsible bodies, such as local authorities, large academy trusts and voluntary aided school bodies, to invest in condition priorities based on local need, we are not able to provide a breakdown of spend on energy efficiency. On top of capital allocations to the school system, the Priority School Building Programme is rebuilding or refurbishing school buildings in the worst condition across the country, covering over 500 schools. In June, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, announced a new, transformative 10-year school rebuilding programme. This will replace school buildings that are ageing or in poor condition with modern, energy-efficient designs that will help to meet the government’s net zero target. We are working to improve schools’ capability and efficiency in managing their estates, and have published guidance on good estate management, which includes energy efficiency measures and a checklist that schools can use to help them take action. We are also working in partnership with the Construction Innovation Hub (funded by UK Research and Innovation) to develop a model of sustainable future school buildings using modern methods of construction. More broadly, we are working with colleagues across government on carbon reduction and energy efficiency, and are considering how future capital programmes can contribute further.

On 1 October, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced a £1 billion Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme and Public Sector Low Carbon Skills Fund. The scheme is being provided via Salix Finance and schools are eligible to apply for grant funding for capital energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects. This is a grant scheme, hence there is no payback criteria set on this funding.

The application round for the Salix Energy Efficiency Fund for academies is due to reopen in mid-October 2020. BEIS is responsible for this programme, and future funding is subject to the Spending Review. Academies that are eligible for the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) can also apply through the annual CIF round for an interest free energy efficiency Salix loan for all or part of the CIF project funding if an element of the project will provide revenue savings for energy efficiency works.

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