UEA 71st in university green league

A green league table of universities has ranked UEA 71st in the country - despite it being home to a world-renowned environmental sciences department and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

A green league table of universities has ranked UEA 71st in the country - despite it being home to a world-renowned environmental sciences department and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

People and Planet's table, published in yesterday's Times Higher Education Supplement (THES), awards universities with either a First, 2:1, 2:2, Third, or Fail based on eight different environmental criteria, both policy and performance related.

It incorporates data never before published in the public domain obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, including the percentage of energy purchased from renewable sources, percentage of waste recycled and CO2 emissions for each institution.

Leeds Met, Plymouth and Hertfordshire top the leader board with Firsts while UEA was awarded a Third alongside places such as Huddersfield and the University of Wales.

But last night a UEA spokeswoman said: “This league table appears to be based on ticking boxes and not on actual performance. We are one of the few universities which actually measure our performance in these areas and can point to results which are the envy of most of our peers.

“The introduction of our combined heat and power plant reduced our carbon emissions by over 30pc. Our planned biomass combined heat and power plant would cut this even further to over 50pc and would entail our generating our own energy from sustainable sources.

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“Our low-energy buildings are deemed to be among the best in the country and have been cited as exemplars by the professional press. One was named the THES energy building of the year.

“In short, environmental consider-ations inform all our decision-making and we are far ahead of many universities in this area.”

The UK higher education sector, which occupies a full 9pc of all UK office space, and emits three million tonnes of CO2 from energy every year, is currently one of the dirtiest businesses around.

People and Planet said the table was designed to challenge poor environmental performance, and give strength to those voices within university communities who are working hard to achieve change.