copyright Lisa Baker 2021

Bridgend County Borough Council has welcomed the recent announcement from Welsh Government that all new educational facilities will need to meet net zero carbon targets from 1 January 2022.

The announcement, which covers new school and college buildings, extensions and major refurbishments, aligns with the council’s own intentions for educational projects planned as part of its ongoing school modernisation agenda.

These include proposals such as creating an all-new two-form entry school and 75-place nursery for Mynydd Cynffig Primary, a new two-form entry English-medium school, 60-place nursery and 15-place resource centre for pupils with additional learning needs in the Cornelly area, the expansion of Ysgol Y Ferch O’r Sgêr, and the development of an all-new Welsh-medium seedling school in the Porthcawl area.

Cllr Charles Smith, Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration, said: “We are already actively working towards the Welsh Government’s aim of becoming a net zero carbon nation by 2050, and all across the county borough, schools are taking action to bring us closer to this goal.

“For example, under the council’s Refit programme, 18 local schools have already benefitted from a range of measures that are helping to improve their energy performance, reduce energy bills and cut down on carbon emissions.

“This has resulted in the introduction of new building management and solar energy systems, more efficient LED lighting, better control processes and other benefits, all of which are expected to save almost one million kilowatt-hours in energy and 249 tonnes of carbon every year.

“With around half of all local schools having also achieved prestigious platinum Green Flag eco- awards, this good work will complement the new requirement to meet standardised net zero carbon requirements, and is very welcome.”

Announcing the new requirement, Education and Welsh Language Minister Jeremy Miles said: “The first generation of schools and colleges under the new rules will also be required to demonstrate a 20 per cent reduction on the amount of embodied carbon, which is the carbon emitted through construction materials and the construction process.

“With further reductions required in future, in line with the Welsh Government’s broader net zero carbon plans, new proposed buildings will also include ambitious plans for biodiversity, active travel and electric vehicle charging facilities.”