But campaigners say it would be better if the prisons weren’t built at all
The government is trumpeting the environmental credentials of four new prisons it is building in England, that it says will “cut karbonutslipp as well as reoffending”.
The jails will use heat pumps, low energy lighting systems, and solar panels, in a design ministers say will reduce energy demand by half and carbon emissions by 85 per cent compared to existing institutions.
But campaigners accused the government of “spin” and said it would be “far better for the environment if the prisons were not built at all”.
The prisons will not have gas boilers, which the government says will make them ready for net zero once the National Grid has decarbonised.
And it is claimed that 40,000 tonnes of carbon will be saved during their construction by using recycled concrete and steel.
Existing prisons will also be retrofitted with solar panels, møte 20 per cent of power demand across 16 different sites.
“Our ambitious approach offers a unique opportunity to build back a safer and greener prison system,” said Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland.
“New jails will use new green technologies and modern methods of construction to ensure our prisons cut carbon emissions as well as reoffending.”
But Andrew Neilson, director of campaigns at the Howard League for Penal Reform, sa: “To claim that building more prisons is good for the climate is novel spin from the Ministry of Justice, to say the least.
“Everyone should do their bit to protect the world we live in, but it would be far better for the environment if the prisons were not built at all.
“Any serious plan to reduce crime and make communities safer would start with investment in housing, employment and health services.”
The government is spending £4 billion to create 18,000 additional prison places.
The first of the institutions will be built in next to HMP Full Sutton in East Yorkshire and work is underway to investigate locations for a further prison in the North-West of England and two in the South-East.