Green councillors have criticised the City Council over its failure to take action on rising energy bills faced by schools. In a motion to the final full Council before the election, Green councillor, Alison Johnstone highlights the need to invest to save money on heating bills and improve pupil comfort.
The Greens are angry that very little seems to have happened since last raising the issue back in January 2011, following the second severe winter in a row. Back then, Education Leader, Marilyne McLaren wrote to all schools promising a number of measures to tackle poor heating.
Cllr Johnstone cites the example of one school, Craiglockhart Primary School, which has carried out its own survey of heating costs and improvements. It found that up to £6,000 a year could be saved on energy bills: equal to a 40% reduction. She also points out that poor temperature controls in schools leads to major problems of discomfort for children, with temperatures peaking at 34 degrees in one instance.
Cllr Johnsone said:
“Tackling heating costs in schools is a win-win-win. Firstly, there are hundreds of thousands of pounds paying for energy bills that could be spent on books, materials and pupil support. Secondly, cutting bills means cutting carbon emissions and helping secure eco-schools status. Thirdly, those schools which are able to manage heating more effectively produce more comfortable conditions for pupils and staff.
“I am concerned that the mild winter just passed is being used a reason for delay by the Council that has taken its eye off the ball. That is why I want the Council to agree an energy plan for each school, so that action begins before the next winter rolls in.”