Furthermore, hardly any teaching takes place during the third term, due to exams. Anything between four and 12 contact hours per week is an average workload for a lecturer. Students are often discouraged from writing essays. I know of one case where a lecturer told students that a few lines on a piece of paper would suffice to receive a mark. (The students actually protested.)
Things are even worse for postgraduate students. Some lecturers collect PhD students like trophies and thus supervise up to 12 students. In such cases, four to five supervisions per year are normal (the fees are pounds 2,350 per annum) and such supervisors often don't find the time to (re)read even the primary literature.
Helen Winnifrith's article points us in the direction of very necessary change.