Reaction to DECC publication on Academies’ CRC status

posted in: CRC, DECC, Legislation | 1

 

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has today published a discussion paper on Academies’ participation in the CRC. You can find the report here.

The paper addresses how academies might be dealt with under the CRC scheme in the future, laying out four possible options:

Option 1: Retain the status quo. This option notes that the Department for Education (DfE) is consulting on school funding reforms that might allow the cost of CRC allowances to be retained centrally before calculating budgets for both maintained schools and Academies.

Options 2 and 3: Propose the individual qualification and participation of schools (option 2 for all schools, option 3 for Academies only).
These options look very unlikely to happen as they would result in too great a loss of emissions from the Scheme, as very few schools or Academies would qualify for the CRC in their own right.
Option 4: Proposes the optional disaggregation of Academies, who would qualify with their LA but participate individually.
The decision to disaggregate could be taken by either the LA or the Academy, which could lead to some confusion and possible disagreements.

This option may be attractive for LAs, but surely very expensive for individual Academies; who would become liable for registration and subsistence fees (more money in the Environment Agency’s coffers!) and annual management/reporting costs as well as the cost of allowances.

What is clearly missing from this paper is the option for Academies to participate under a different umbrella. By qualifying and participating as a group, costs would be shared and there would be no loss of emission coverage from the Scheme.

But who would that umbrella be? The Young People’s Learning Agency, currently responsible for Academies’ funding, seems the obvious choice, although this responsibility is likely to pass to the Education Funding Agency from April 2012.

Please join the debate and let us know your thoughts on this debate.

One Response

  1. Peter Wiggins

    Thanks for publishing this – frustrating that we haven’t received yet. My initial thoughts are:
    Option 1 – misses the fact that LA still liable for emissions and that it costs the LA money to reduce them, with savings going to schools. Top-slicing the schools budget without charging individual schools provides no incentive for schools to reduce, after all the energy bill hasn’t! We’re considering 2 options to help with this: i) to add any underspend on schools allowances to our Salix invest to save fund; ii) to use this underspend to fund a low carbon schools facilties management training module for caretakers, to reduce emissions.
    Option 2/3 – Govt could get round schools/ academies/ LAs falling outside the scope of the scheme by mandating them as participants, as per Govt estate.
    Option 4 – I can’t see this making any difference to option 1. Why on earth would an academy volunteer to participate individually, when the impact of the CRC is so watered down when costs top-sliced to the schools budget (would be like turkeys voting for Christmas). We’re having as many primary schools becoming academies as secondary schools.
    Agree that option 5 is missing.
    I still think that the easiest option would be Option 1, but with CRC allowance costs passed to individual schools not just top-sliced, which might incentivise them to do something about it and provides a greater financial business case for them doing so.
    Hope this helps,
    Pete