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Issue 471, 22 October 2001


Showing respect for innocent victims

S Smith
Textiles and Design

Surely if the University had three minutes silence for the innocent victims of the attacks on the USA, we should now have three minutes silence for the innocent victims of the attacks on Afghanistan?

Seeing your name in black and white

Adrian Iredale
Head of the Teaching and Learning Office

I was disappointed to read in the 8 October 2001 edition of the Reporter that you had chosen not to publish a full list of 2001 staff promotions and transfers and simply refer readers to the Reporter website.

These promotions have been a feature of the Reporter for many years now and I think this is an important means of publicly recognising the achievement of staff of all categories and all grades. Simply placing this good news for individual members of staff, the majority of whom would never normally get a mention in the Reporter, on the website is, in my view, missing an opportunity to highlight outstanding contributions by the University's most important asset, its staff.

Editor's note: The Reporter is printed during term time only, and all promotions announced during that time are printed in full. This year, as some promotions were announced after the last issue in June, they were posted on the web to make them immediately accessible for all staff, rather than held over for three months until the first Reporter in September.

See the recent clerical promotions.

No basis for safety notice claims

John Binns
Head of Security

We've made extensive inquiries into David Jackson's claim (Corporate image over student safety? Reporter 470), and have asked police if they can shed light on the allegations.

However, we have been unable to determine the source and veracity of the comments, which do not sit comfortably with ongoing University partnership work, including Walksafe, where joint security and police patrols worked together for the two weeks around freshers induction.

Crime prevention advice is widely circulated and displayed. The safety booklet Fightback is supplied to all students and a video, Wise Up, is shown during freshers' week and is also made widely available. Both were jointly produced with the police. We are happy to display appropriate information both on campus and at halls of residence.

We are also working closely with student union representatives, RCS, the police and others to distribute appropriate information and ensure that it is kept up to date.

Urging support for SCR cafe bar

David Palliser
School of History

I am sorry that there was nothing in the October 8 issue about the reopening of facilities in the SCR building this week for all staff and postgraduates.

These include not only buffet lunches, which have been reasonably well attended, but also for the first time coffee and sandwiches from 9.30 to 3.30. Today I called in for coffee at 11 after lecturing in Roger Stevens to find I was the first customer, 90 minutes after opening. I appreciate that we are all much busier these days, and that the SCR is distant from some parts of campus, but can I please urge more support? Otherwise there will soon be a call to erode the already much-diminished facilities for staff and postgraduates even further. We are already much inferior in this regard to other peer universities like Birmingham, and the increased pressures of teaching and administration should make some minimal staff facilities more rather than less important.

Editor's note: The opening of the new cafe bar was flagged up in Reporter 469 (Hot and tasty, page 8).

See the coverage of the new facilities.

The more you use, the more you pay

Tony Wiese
School of Mechanical Engineering

I read with great interest the feature in Reporter 469 regarding the study of road and rail users carried out by Professor Nash. Whilst research into our travelling habits and ways of improving them has to be commended one has to question the reasons for charging for the use of trunk roads leading into our conurbations.

As we discover whilst travelling into Leeds during the summer months, the main reason behind congestion on our urban roads is mainly due to people doing short journeys, eg. taking children to school. As they start and end their journeys within the conurbation they wouldn't pass the toll point and therefore wouldn't be charged. Also, because they're doing short journeys the car's engine isn't warming up to its correct temperature and therefore isn't running efficiently, ie it's creating more pollution than one that has travelled a few miles and is running efficiently.

Clearly something has to be done if the situation is to be improved, but what? The government scheme that offers a discount on the road fund licence for efficient cars is, quite frankly, pathetic. Do they really believe that a saving of 50 per annum is going to tempt someone to buy a more efficient car when hundreds or even thousands of pounds are lost in depreciation alone? – No!

Before any major measures can be taken the public transport system has got to be improved; the trains are overcrowded and too infrequent, whilst the buses are unreliable and those run by certain companies are a health hazard, as I'm sure the cyclists out there are only too aware of. If money is to be generated in order to improve the public services then surely the easiest and fairest way is to put an extra tax on fuel – the more you use the more you pay! As Professor Nash points out, this also affects people in the rural areas - and so it should, whilst they might not be causing congestion their cars are still damaging the atmosphere. This would seem fairer than charging a blanket fee for using the trunk roads to enter our towns, as with this system the people with the more efficient cars pay the same as those with the big inefficient ones, the result being that those who can afford to run the larger cars can also afford to pay the toll and continue to choke the cities.

So what's the way forward? First of all public transport has got to be improved. In the short term one could almost argue that during the peak periods cars shouldn't be used for short journeys within a conurbation and should only be used for travelling from one conurbation to another. This can be justified by saying that public transport within cities and towns is much better than that travelling longer distances. Looking further ahead the answer to the problem of inner city transport would seem to lie with better, cheaper public transport and small electric cars; something similar to the Smart but being electric it would be both cleaner and quieter. If funding was available to develop the electric car then maybe it could also be used for journeys longer than 50 miles, which seems to be the limit at the moment.

See the article on transport pricing




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