Page last updated at 12:03 GMT, Friday, 28 March 2008

All colleges 'forced to go green'

Solar roof
New colleges will have to meet tough environmental guidelines

All newly or partly built colleges will have to adopt wind turbines, solar panels or other renewable energy, under plans to cut global warming.

And all new colleges in England will have to emit no carbon by 2016, skills secretary John Denham has said.

The requirement comes in a 2.3bn package, announced in November, which aims to provide new further education facilities in all areas.

Firms carrying out the building work will also have to employ local people.

They will also have to invest in the skills and training needs of their staff, by offering formal training plans and work-based learning.

It comes after Prime Minister Gordon Brown said all major public infrastructure projects should lead to investment in apprenticeships.

Mr Denham said: "In 1997 there was no dedicated capital budget for further education colleges.

"The record 2.3 billion we are now investing sets out our most ambitious plans yet for sustainable college buildings."

The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills said some 150 colleges were due to benefit.

This includes those in Sheffield, Leicester, Derby, London, Surrey and Grimsby.

President of the University and College Union Linda Newman said it was important that colleges set good examples in tackling climate change.

She added: "I would also like to see colleges sourcing their needs locally where possible, stimulating the local economy, and developing green transport-to-work plans and other initiatives with college staff unions, students and the local community.

"UCU is also encouraging the greening of the curriculum: colleges and universities must become key players in informing and equipping the public to respond to climate change."

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