Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Council switches off lights to support climate change campaign

Caption: Leeds Civic Hall by night

Council buildings in the city centre will be plunged into darkness as part of a global campaign to tackle climate change.

Leeds City Council will be switching off the lighting at major landmarks such as the Civic Hall, Leeds Town Hall clock tower and Kirkgate Market during 8.30-9.30pm on Saturday 28 March in support of WWF Earth Hour.

Leeds will be joining some of the world's major cities, including Paris, Sydney, Tel Aviv, Bangkok and San Francisco, in calling on all organisations, businesses and residents to turn off non-essential lights for an hour and pledge their support for the WWF campaign on

Councillor Steve Smith executive board member for environmental services, said:
"This excellent initiative which we are happy to support. It will focus worldwide attention on the need to tackle climate change, and is just one of many positive steps that we can take to reduce the city's carbon footprint and protect our valuable resources for future generations."

Councillor Richard Brett, joint leader and executive board member with responsibilities for council buildings, said:
"We are committed to reducing emissions from public sector buildings, operations and from the way we carry out services, and encourage others to do so. We know that around 72% of Leeds City Council’s CO2 emissions are generated from our buildings, so this event not only supports one of our priorities but also allows us to encourage others to participate in reducing their carbon footprint."

Colin Butfield, Head of Campaigns at WWF said:
"Leeds City Council have shown a real commitment to WWF's Earth Hour. We hope that the people of Leeds will follow their example and take part in the hour by holding candlelit dinners with their friends and family."

The council has set targets to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 3.4% from its estate and operations for the next two years.

In addition to the Earth Hour, all council staff will be reminded to switch off non-essential electrical equipment before they leave work on Friday 27 March as part of an ongoing ‘Energy Guardians’ scheme, which looks at ways to reduce usage and save energy.

People in Leeds can show further support protecting the environment by signing up to the Leeds Climate Change Pledge at which helps individuals and families make changes in their lifestyles to help reduce the impact on climate change.

Notes for editors:
In support of WWF Earth Hour, Leeds City Council will switch off lighting at key buildings throughout the city centre. These buildings include; Merrion House, 2 Great George St, Thoresby and Leonardo Buildings, The Civic Hall (including external lighting at front of Civic Hall), Leeds Town Hall clock tower, Kirkgate Market ‘1904’ uplighting.

WWF’s Earth Hour event will kickstart WWF’s global deal campaign to convince governments to agree effective action on climate change. In Copenhagen in December 2009, representatives from 190 countries will meet at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to adopt a new international agreement – the ‘global deal’ – setting out how the world will tackle the growing climate crisis.

Some 2,000 towns and cities from more than 80 countries, including London, Cardiff, Belfast, Newcastle, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh, have already signed up to support WWF’s Earth Hour and numbers are growing daily. In the UK, 100 towns and cities and 184 Landmarks.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Laura Ferris, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335