Students at the University of St Andrews have responded to a plea to help the ancient town address serious problems associated with increasing and unsustainable volumes of traffic – by leaving their cars at home.
In a joint letter sent to all new and returning students earlier this summer, University Proctor Professor Peter Clark and Students’ Association President Owen Wilton urged them not to bring cars to town and advised them that anyone bringing a vehicle to St Andrews would have to apply for a student permit.
With the new academic year starting this week, less than a twelfth of the St Andrews student body of 7,400 has said they need a car during term time. In total, only 547 permits have been issued to students for the new session.
The University has warmly welcomed the positive response from students and pledged to continue to support efforts to limit car use in St Andrews.
In the letter, the St Andrews student leaders said:
“We are writing to you to ask for your help. Our university must address serious problems associated with increasing and unsustainable volumes of traffic in St Andrews and our students are playing a leading role in helping us meet this challenge.
“St Andrews is a small, historic town which is wrestling with severe difficulties in managing increasing traffic levels. It is our strong belief, and the experience of most of our students, that you do not need to bring and keep cars through term time. The town is compact and University facilities are all within reasonable walking distance of each other.
“As you may know, many of our students have actively campaigned for the University to adopt ethical and sustainable investment policies, challenging investment in oil companies or any business which does not meet the ethical ideal of the student body. We are also committed to working with our students and staff on environmental policies and energy usage to make a positive impact.
“It follows that we should take action wherever possible to limit the effects of the use of the car on our own doorstep.
“We know that the great majority of you do not bring cars to town and are already actively assisting our environmental efforts. We are very grateful to you for that commitment. We would particularly appeal to students who do not stay in University accommodation but rent private property in town. Please think very carefully about whether you require a vehicle during your studies here and please bear in mind your obligations to neighbours and fellow St Andrews residents.
“Student cars left parked on residential streets for long periods of time are frequently the cause of complaints by permanent residents and a major barrier to our efforts to encourage excellent Town Gown relations.”
Welcoming the positive response, Students Association President Owen Wilton said:
“This proves once again that St Andrews students are responsible, respectful residents who care deeply about the town.”
Professor Clark said the University was proud of St Andrews students’ long record of pro-active environmental action.
“The vast majority of our students have set a tremendous example for the rest of us – proving that for the most part if you live and work in St Andrews there are many journeys for which you do not need a car.
“St Andrews is small and compact enough that even one or two cars parked inconsiderately on a private street can give wholly the wrong impression of the reality of student car use.
“Just 7% of our students have said they require a car in town – and almost all of the 547 vehicles for which permits have been issued will be parked in our three designated student car parks at David Russell Apartments, New Hall and Albany Park.
“We are enormously grateful to new and returning students for the enthusiastic and positive response to our plea for help.”
Issued by the University of St Andrews.
For further information contact: Niall Scott, tel 01334 462244, mobile 07711 223062.
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