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UEA slips down 'green' league

PUBLISHED: 01:30 18 June 2009 | UPDATED: 10:13 06 July 2010

It is home to the ground-breaking CRed carbon reduction programme and has a world-renowned environmental sciences department.

But today the University of East Anglia (UEA) is awarded a lower second-class "drinkers' degree" for its "green" performance.

It is home to the ground-breaking CRed carbon reduction programme and has a world-renowned environmental sciences department.

But today the University of East Anglia (UEA) is awarded a lower second-class “drinkers' degree” for its “green” performance.

In results that are being robustly challenged by UEA, the institution has been given a 2:2 and ranked 78th of 127 British universities for a series of measurements including the percentage of waste recycled and CO2 emissions.

The Green League 2009, which is published in Times Higher Education and researched by People and Planet, sees UEA fall from 64th last year.

The Norwich-based university is among a number slammed for failing to take “comprehensive and ambitious” action to achieve promotion to the green “premier league”.

Ian Leggett, director of People and Planet, said: “We congratulate all those universities which have been awarded a first class degree. Their success is a tribute to sustained and comprehensive efforts to improve the quality of environmental management in the higher education sector.

“But we can't leave it to a small number of leading institutions: all universities must take comprehensive and ambitious environmental action now to meet - or ideally surpass - the targets set out in the Climate Change Act.”

He added: “The 2009 Green League makes it crystal clear too many universities have failed to recognise the importance of becoming a model low carbon institution.

“A clear pattern is emerging - with a premier league of universities which are ahead of the wave and the rest. Vice-chancellors and other leaders need to ask themselves which league they want to be in.”

Annie Ogden, head of communications at UEA, said the university's track record “speaks for itself”.

She said: “Despite having a campus with many listed buildings built over 30 years ago, we are well on track to have reduced our CO2 from power and heating/cooling by 65pc since 1990 when our biomass plant is operational next year.

“We believe this will place us well ahead of any other university in the UK.”

She added that several newer buildings were award-winners for sustainability and user satisfaction and said: “We have reduced energy consumption in some buildings by up to 50pc, while the implementation of our combined heat and power plant cut overall CO2 emissions by a third.”

Ms Ogden said carbon emissions per student were lower than when the university opened.

And she said: “We lead the world in climate science research and have practical but innovative schemes building awareness and driving down energy consumption.”

The findings, which put Nottingham Trent University at number one, show some big improvements nationally, including 15 additional institutions that have created full-time environmental manager positions in the last year, while the number with ethical investment policies has more than doubled.

Among the criteria used to measure performance and policy were ethical investment policy, carbon management, energy sources, waste, carbon emissions per head and water consumption per head.

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