ECO-CONSCIOUS councillors have slammed the University of York for failing to demonstrate how its new campus will help combat climate change.

A City of York Council planning committee refused to approve the latest stage of the university’s expansion, due to lack of an energy plan.

Instead they deferred it, ordering university officials to bring back evidence of how they would use renewable energy.

At a meeting on Thursday night, Coun Christian Vassie said: “I am hopping mad and embarrassed by the shocking lack of interest that appears to be shown, by one of the leading academic institutions, in renewable energy.”

Green councillor Andy D’Agorne said it was “appalling” that major developments were still being proposed without adequate eco-plans in place.

The council says new developments should source at least ten per cent of their energy from renewable sources, such as wind and solar power.

Keith Lilley, the university’s director of facilities, said it had a “holistic” catch-all energy plan, which would include an energy centre to cover both the new campus and the old one. But councillors said they were unhappy approving buildings one by one until they had seen some evidence of the grand plan.

Coun Ruth Potter said: “This is a missed opportunity to show some leadership. I dispute the assertion that a holistic approach has been taken, because there is no evidence of it.”

The scheme up for approval was the theatre, film and television building, which would include studios, a stage, workshops and rehearsal rooms. Councillors voiced no concern over the building’s general design, but called for more proof that it would be environmentally friendly.

Some said the matter should be rejected outright, but instead councillors deferred the decision.

Not everyone was unimpressed with the university though.

Conservative John Galvin said the university would stick to its word on producing energy savings, and said: “For goodness sake, let’s get on with it and let them get on with something that could be a very high standard.”

Coun Vassie said Coun Galvin was treating renewable energy as “some new, fangled, unproven technology” and said that was not the case.