I wrote to the Office for Students today to urge them to reconsider their decision to stop requiring universities to provide data on carbon reduction and environmental measures. Previously, this data was part of the information that universities are obliged to provide to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), and it is used by students, staff and civil society to assess universities’ progress on reducing carbon emissions and waste – including the People and Planet University League  on various aspects of their environmental performance.

I am pleased that both Sheffield’s universities are committed to continuing to provide the information, but am worried about the wider impact of the decision. In the letter to OfS Chief Executive Nicola Dandridge, I said: “Making the sharing of this data voluntary suggests to the higher education sector that reducing its carbon footprint is not a priority, despite Parliament declaring a climate emergency.” I also asked the OfS to confirm that it was committed to the 2020 carbon reduction target set by its predecessor, HEFCE.

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