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Climate Change

Volume 493: debated on Thursday 4 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what steps his Department has taken to adapt to climate change in the last two years; (277648)

(2) what estimate he has made of his Department's potential gross (a) costs and (b) savings arising from its climate change adaptation measures in the next three years.

For the schools estate, some of the steps taken by DCSF and local authorities include:

increasing the flood resilience of schools that have been or could be subject to flooding;

promoting sustainable urban drainage strategies and other sustainable water management practices in new and existing school projects, as identified in the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) report funded by the Department1;

promoting passive environmental design of new buildings to prevent summertime overheating; and

joint DCSF/HPA guidance for teachers and other professionals on looking after schoolchildren during heatwaves2.

The Department has not made any estimate of the costs and savings from climate change adaptation measures in schools. However some cost analysis of the possible impacts on buildings was published in a report by the Foundation for the Built Environment published in 20003.

The Department’s Estates and Facilities Management Division has earmarked £500,000 and £550,000 for the next two years, to invest in sustainability measures in the Department’s buildings. Assessments will be made of each potential sustainability improvement and we will invest in projects with a three-year payback or better. We are not yet in a position to determine the amount of these monies that will be spent on climate change adaptation measures or the value of the savings associated with them.

1 Sustainable water management in schools (W012) available free from

2 Guidance for Teachers and other professionals on looking after Schoolchildren during Heatwaves—

and Background Information from HPA and DCSF on looking after Schoolchildren during heatwaves—

3 Potential implications of climate change in the built environment, Hilary M Graves, Mark C Phillipson, 2000, ISBN 1860814476, available from