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Majority of universities failing to hit carbon reduction targets
Campaign group calls for institutions to be held accountable for carbon failings

Most of the universities in the UK have failed to hit their carbon reduction targets.

The sector had been set a target of reducing emissions directly controlled by institutions by 43% between 2005-05 and 2020-2021.

According to the estates management record at the Higher Education Statistics Agency more than half of the UK universities (59%) failed to meet this target. The data has been used by the People and Planet University League to rank universities' efforts to reduce carbon.

Top of the table for this year was Cardiff Metropolitan University which has decreased its emissions by an impressive 65% during the 15 years in questions.

The Russell Group universities have shown some improvement as a collective, and two of them, the University of Exeter and University College London, now feature in the top 10.

The University of Oxford has fallen 16 places to 40th in the league, and Cambridge fell two places to 86th.

The university league manager at People and Planet, Jack Ruane, said: “It is disappointing to see that 59% of UK universities have failed to achieve the carbon reduction target. This highlights the importance of holding the sector accountable via short-term assessments of actual reductions in carbon emissions, rather than celebrating net zero target-setting, which are often vague on how offsetting will be achieved.”

Lily Walton