University recognised for ‘green agenda’
An innovative travel plan established by the University of St Andrews has been recognised in a new report outlining universities’ contributions to the climate change debate.
St Andrews is one of only two Scottish universities singled out in a Universities UK report out today (22 January), with special mention made to the St Andrews Green Travel Plan.
Implemented in 2005, the initiative involves staff, students and residents of St Andrews joining forces to tackle travel and parking around the University of St Andrews.
From establishing a bicycle user group to working with local bus companies on improving bus routes and timetables, the University is looking at ways to enable staff to travel in a sustainable manner around St Andrews. Many staff and students already actively contribute to the University’s green agenda by car sharing, walking, cycling or using public transport.
The University has demonstrated its commitment by building almost 500 new and refurbished cycle spaces and providing bike maintenance classes. The University is also setting up a bike pool scheme to enable staff to travel sustainably around town between meetings, and all future building developments will include cycle and shower facilities.
The travel plan was devised with the help of the local Transport Forum which involves representatives from both town and gown.
The University’s Environment and Energy Manager Roddy Yarr, said, “A Travel Plan is a good example of the benefit of bringing things together as it helps link all of the various transport threads from footpaths to cycle routes to bus services, car use and alternative vehicles. We are constantly talking and listening to our stakeholders and putting into practice their good ideas which is really helping to embed more sustainable practices into our working lives.”
In addition to the St Andrews initiative, the report `Greening Spires’ includes case studies on research into the melting of glaciers, recycling waste and building eco-friendly campuses.
During today’s announcement Professor Rick Trainor, President, Universities UK, said: “Whereas the environment has moved quickly to the forefront of all our minds, UK universities have been at the centre of the debate for decades. “Climate change targets, such as those discussed by the Climate Change Bill and the Stern Report, simply cannot be met without the evidence-driven support of our universities.”The jury is out on how we can best work together to tackle climate change. It will be university research, pushing the boundaries, which will give us answers to one of the greatest challenges of our age.
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