Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Leeds lights out for Earth Hour

It will be lights out across Leeds city centre and the wider city itself this weekend as a number of council, retail and school buildings pull the plug to help save the planet.

Leeds City Council is leading the way locally for Earth Hour on Saturday at 8.30pm when it will turn off lights on most of its main city centre buildings.

For an hour there will be darkness at the Civic Hall, Merrion House, Thoresby House and the Leonardo building. A small number of lights will stay on at 2 Great George Street to enable staff to work in one section, but the rest of the building will join in.

Also doing their bit for the planet by taking part will be the Victoria Quarter, IKEA Leeds and the Environment Agency.

Young people in the city will be taking part too, with several schools joining in- some showing their support the day before since they are not open on Saturdays. Those participating include Farnley Park Maths and Computing College, Morley Newlands primary school, Richmond House school and Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic primary school in Moortown.

Cllr James Monaghan, executive member with responsibility for climate change issues, said:

“By turning the lights off at our most important and iconic buildings we are giving both a visual and a practical demonstration of our commitment to reducing damage to the environment.

“As a council we are working to reduce emissions from our own operations by 40% and would like to encourage other organisations and business to do the same It would be great to see people across Leeds rally to this idea by turning their own lights off on Saturday night and giving thought to other ways they can save energy.”

People planning to switch off their lights for Earth Hour could borrow an energy reader from one of the city’s libraries to measure how much energy and money they are saving. These were recently provided with a donation from the council’s Fuelsavers budget.

They can also take the Leeds Climate Pledge at www.leedsinitiative.org/environment to show that they care about the impact of climate change and to gain access to exclusive environmental information and updates.

To help encourage good energy saving habits, Leeds City Council staff have been taking part in the Big Switch Off 2, a campaign to highlight ways to save energy at work, such as not leaving computer screens on standby after shutting down. Some staff have managed to achieve as much as a 30% reduction in their energy use.

Notes to editors:
Earth Hour Yorks is part of WWF’s global Earth Hour campaign to encourage over one billion people in 5,000 cities to switch off their lights to show they want action to tackle climate change. Earth Hour takes place at 8.30pm on Saturday 27 March.
WWF has launched a county sign-up challenge to promote Earth Hour 2010 and to propel Yorkshire to the top of the table, Earth Hour Yorks has set up a competition between the Yorkshire counties to see who can acquire the most Earth Hour sign-ups.
So far 115 cities across the world have registered to join Earth Hour. You can find out more information about Earth Hour and pledge your support by going to www.earthhour.wwf.org.uk


For media enquiries please contact:
Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335
e-mail: donna.cox@leeds.gov.uk

ENDS