The Reporter
No 490, 19 May 2003
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The future's green at Leeds


Leeds is on its way to becoming one of the UK’s ‘greenest’ universities, with the appointment of environment officer Dr Keith Pitcher to put a comprehensive environmental plan into operation.

Dr Keith PitcherA Leeds graduate (first degree and PhD), Dr Pitcher (right) is aware of the wide range of environmental expertise at the University, and is keen to work with departments to push the ‘green’ plan forward.

“Many of the initiatives could have an academic element, and benefit day-to-day operations,” said Dr Pitcher. “For instance, if the University were to install photovoltaic cells to generate solar power, they could also be used for research or teaching, looking at the design, planning, performance and economic benefits. This allows all areas of the University to benefit from such projects, makes them more financially viable, and helps to foster an environmental culture throughout the University.”

Energy is only one aspect of the environmental plan, which also covers waste minimisation, recycling, purchasing and – close to staff hearts – transport.

“While it’s clear we need to reduce commuting by car, we have to offer viable alternatives, and recognise that public transport is not always an option,” said Dr Pitcher. “The new transport plan proposes a whole range of options, some helping car users, such as car sharing, and others for those who walk, cycle or use public services to get to work.”

Proposals include better cycle storage and proper routes on campus, and better pedestrian access. Orders for Metrocards have risen by a third, following the arrangement for a 15% discount. An online car sharing system will be up and running for the next academic year. In addition, staff buying new cars can apply for grants towards the cost of conversion to ‘dual fuel’. Dual fuel cars use LPG – half the price of other fuels – in addition to petrol or diesel.

The University is also taking an active role in the city precinct group, with LMU, the NHS and the city council, putting pressure on public transport providers when services are not up to standard.

Leeds entered the regional index of environmental engagement last year for the first time, and was listed in the middle of the table. With Dr Pitcher’s appointment and the new measures he’s putting in place, he hopes to see the University’s position improve.

For more information, click on the 'environment' link from the estate services new webpages at (from May 19).


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