Is the rumour true that the University are dispensing of all water coolers and, if so, are there any plans for suitable cold alternatives?
As far as we are aware there have been no proposals or decisions made to remove all water coolers from across the University. This is certainly not something that has been discussed within Executive.
The idea may well have come from the Green Impact initiative, specifically, the silver Green Impact award. This asks the team to meet the following criteria: ‘not have any bottle-fed water coolers or, if it does, it has a valid reason for not having replaced bottle-fed water coolers with mains-fed versions’.
This is encouraged as bottle-fed water coolers are typically 150% more expensive to run than mains-fed water coolers (34.0 pence per litre vs. 0.22 pence per litre respectively) and both dispense the same quality water. Mains-fed coolers also have significant additional environmental impacts through food miles.
As Green Impact is currently voluntary, this criteria is encouraged as opposed to enforced. Another initiative local management are asked to consider where feasible, is the removal of disposable plastic cups and the fitting of timer clocks to water coolers to save energy during non-operational hours. Staff are reminded that tap water within kitchen areas across the University is also of drinking quality unless otherwise stated on site.
The University is regularly promoting ‘sustainable travel’ and being ‘green’.
With this in mind, are there any planned incentives to encourage more people to car share?
Lots of people work similar hours and live in close proximity so it would make sense. However there is currently nothing in place to encourage more staff to do this.
The University has been a member of the Staffordshire Share-a-lift scheme for several years now. This car share database will allow individuals to search for car sharers either from the University or the wider community, the latter increasing the possibility of finding a car share partner. In addition, as part of the sustainable travel plan, a guaranteed lift home scheme provides car sharers a lift home in the event of an emergency. (Terms and conditions apply.)
Looking forward, once the landscaping improvements have completed and the car park management strategy has embedded, the University will be in a position to investigate guaranteed parking spaces for car sharers, although the exact mechanisms for managing this process will need to be considered in the future.
The recent travel questionnaire assumes that everybody has a choice in the way they travel to work.
I would love to use public transport rather than the car but the total inflexibility of my start and finish times means that this is impossible (I would arrive at work either very early or very late and would have similar issues when leaving at the end of the day!)
Where practical could the University not allow flexible start and finish times for those staff that are interested to allow for a greater use of public transport?
The survey forms the first part of an exciting new local travel planning initiative to encourage us to become less reliant on the car. It is appreciated that not everyone is able to do this with the local transport links currently available. The survey does seek views on how this may be improved to enable more people to be less reliant on the car.
The University does encourage flexibility in working arrangements where this is possible to accommodate and meets the needs of the business. Many areas of the University operate on a flexi-time system which does allow flexible start and finish times.
It may be helpful if you discussed your personal circumstances with either your line manager and/or Personnel Officer to explore whether any flexibility in your working pattern could be accommodated. There are , however, going to be some roles where this is not possible and it is important, therefore, that we capture as many views as possible via the survey on the current transport available to help inform improvements going forward.
I have recently read about the opportunity to purchase yearly rail tickets by means of an interest free loan. Are there any plans to expand this offer to include bus travel?
Thank you for getting in touch. The answer, in short, is yes! Estates are beginning discussions with the First Group Staffordshire and South Cheshire to offer a similar interest free loan for bus travel, subject to funding. The scheme is likely to offer a loan for the purchase of a FirstYear card which offers unlimited travel throughout Staffordshire and South Cheshire. Following this, other smaller local bus operators may be approached, subject to demand.
Could you please explain why there are no recycling bins in the Pavilion restaurant in Stoke? All rubbish is ending up in general waste..
Thank you for bringing this to our attention as we are always looking for new opportunities to expand our recycling activities. We will now review all our catering outlets for similar opportunities and action.
With regards to the previous question ‘Can the website have campus postcodes added for Sat Navs?’ – should we instead be encouraging our visitors to use public transport?
Whilst not applicable to all visitors, the university should encourage, where possible, external visitors to arrive by public transport. Our Stoke campus could not be better placed for arrival by rail .
To encourage more sustainable travel by visitors, the order of transport modes was recently amended on the Finding Us pages to give priority to more sustainable modes of travel. Asides from the obvious environmental benefits of arriving by sustainable transport; visitors would not require parking, thus helping alleviate the pressure on our car parks.