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Green light for eco designs

Colleges have been told to put the environment first as they apply for their share of the Government's pot of pound;500 million-a-year for new buildings, writes Steve Hook.

New rules to be introduced by the Learning and Skills Council, which will apply to school sixth forms as well as colleges, require construction schemes to demonstrate how energy costs will be kept to a minimum.

Mark Haysom, chief executive of the LSC, said: "Our aim is to make England's FE estate a world leader so that learning is delivered in innovative, energy-efficient and inspirational buildings."

An example is North Manchester Sixth Form College, which won a design excellence award for its architects in November. Mr Haysom described it as "a truly inspiring world-class education building".

The Government programme aims to renew the entire FE estate. By 2011, the annual budget for college buildings will have risen to pound;750m. Grants are topped up from colleges' own funds and other sources, including the European Union. Photograph: Christopher Thomond

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