According to the USI, such environmental auditing will be vital if colleges are to succeed in mitigating their environmental impact. College heads must “take the lead” until government legislates on the matter.

USI’s officer in charge of environmental awareness, Dave Curran, said: “For a university … a decent environmental audit should entail measuring overall environmental impact and sustainability.

“It would look at carbon emissions, the level of un-recycled waste, the ratio of trees and green spaces to students, and how well the campus blends in with the local environment.

“Planners would be able to use the information gathered to inform improvements to public transport infrastructure, and to design new, environmentally friendly campus buildings and student accommodation.”

The proposal came as students from around Ireland took part in their Environmental Conference last week, with the aim of communicating eco concerns to the government.

Ben Meggeson

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