Richard Evans, Commercial Director at Buderus has expressed his concern following Education Secretary, Michael Gove’s decision to scrap Labour’s multi-billion pound Building Schools for the Future Scheme.
“The Government’s decision to ditch all plans to rebuild and renovate England’s secondary schools will have a detrimental effect on the commercial heating industry. The decision leaves schools having to fund increasing energy costs with inefficient heating systems and robs many children of the chance to be educated in buildings which are fit for purpose.
“We are in a position whereby many private developers have already been commissioned on projects which have been in the pipeline for some time, many of which include new heating systems. The timing of these cuts may mean the abandonment of some much-needed renovation projects, which will consequently have a negative knock on effect through the whole supply chain. This is sure to prompt a number of job cuts in the commercial building sector.
“The process of negotiating and planning these projects has been a lengthy and often expensive one. Scrapping the scheme now leaves many contractors with substantial costs in what is already a difficult economic climate for the private sector. Equally the Government must not abandon schools in order to deal with rapidly rising energy costs.
“The BSF was forward thinking in terms of specifying the use of renewable heat sources, which despite initial investment requirements and concern about running costs, did offer substantial carbon savings and lower energy costs. It is essential that a good proportion of the remaining capital expenditure budget for schools is still focussed on energy saving measures across all schools and if stakeholders work together, significant savings can be made at much lower investment levels. By reducing the burden of energy costs on schools, we free up funds for investment in teaching and make a large contribution towards Government carbon reduction targets.
“When the emergency budget speech was made we were told that it was going to be tough but this is the first major signal of just how tough the coalition’s cuts will be for the commercial heating industry unless it puts a coherent energy policy in place quickly.”