Secretary of state for schools receives third letter of outrage this week

Engineer Ramboll has joined the chorus of outrage over Department for Education plans to drop BREEAM assessments for school construction projects.

Ramboll is the first construction industry firm to publically speak out about the plans to drop the popular environmental assessment standard, which is used on all government construction projects.

It follows letters to the secretary of state for schools Michael Gove from the UK Green Building Council and Robin Nicholson, chairman of the previous government’s Zero Carbon Schools Task Force, also disapproving of the plans.

In the third such letter to be sent to Gove this week, Charles McBeath, managing director of Ramboll, said: “We would strongly advocate maintaining some form of environmental assessment obligation as part of the coalition government’s continued investment in school buildings.”

He continued: “We are not aware that a replacement to the existing BREEAM assessment process for school buildings has been prepared, and your current proposals to scrap BREEAM will therefore leave a void in the Department for Education (DfE) driven obligations to embed sustainable design into any new or refurbished educational building.

“Design will revert to lowest capital cost, at the detriment of a myriad number of long term benefits including energy/carbon emission reduction, water consumption reduction, improved bio-diversity, re-use of brownfield sites, improved public transport links, healthier teaching environments, and increased awareness by our children of a more sustainable way of life.”

McBeath recommended a transition period to an abridged environmental assessment was adopted.