Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Plucky primary pupils catch flytipper

Bankside primary school pupils hard at work picking litter.

Environmental action officers find evidence linking dumped rubbish bags to a local business.

Pupils from a Leeds primary school on a community clean-up caught a flytipper in the act.

Bankside Primary School pupils were joined by council street cleansing and enforcement staff before the summer break to litter pick the area as part of a newly launched, community led ‘Keep Harehills Tidy’ campaign.

While out and about, pupils noticed rubbish bags and loose waste that had been left on the pavement outside a shop.

Evidence in the bags showed that they came from the shop. The school and shop are in an environmental improvement zone, an area the council is targeting to clean up streets and to get people to deal with their rubbish appropriately or face the legal consequences.

When pupils asked the store owner why the bags had been left outside, they were told the bags had just been put out. But one plucky pupil knew this wasn’t the case and told the shop owner that they’d seen the same bags a day earlier.

The shopkeeper was apologetic and joined the children in the clean-up on the street. A legal notice has been served on the shop owner which will mean an immediate fine for any repeat incidents.

Throughout the clear up day, over 60 pupils were involved, cleaning the streets and school grounds and picked up over 35 bags of rubbish.

Local people commented to the pupils, school and council staff that the area was much cleaner.

The area is also benefiting from the support of hot spot team – a dedicated crew of street cleaners and an environmental enforcement officer to make sure that streets are cleared. It’s hoped that their efforts and educational approach will encourage the community to help keep their area cleaner for longer.

However, after the clean-up day with Bankside primary pupils, litter had begun to build up again, explained locality manager John Woolmer.

John said:
“Officers took a look around to find a large build up of litter only two weeks later. Officers were approached by some local young men who criticised us for not removing the litter.

“Staff, who initially felt a little intimidated and unfairly talked to, pointed out that a litter bin was across the street. We had a really useful conversation with the group. We pointed out the work done with local children just two weeks ago that left the area spotless.

“As a result, some of the young men asked for litter pickers and bags to start cleaning it up there and then. Our hot spot crew also went in the next day and finished the job. Since then one of the residents involved has done more voluntary litter picking and left us several full bags to pick up. A brilliant result. We will be installing some new litter bins there soon as part of the discussions we had.”

Kauser Jan, assistant headteacher at Bankside Primary School, said:
“When asked if they could change something in their environment, the children said they wanted clean streets.

“The day really exceeded our aspirations, the children took charge and were proactive in how they want their community to look and community members to behave; we know how we can all have a real, positive impact on our community and environment.

“It was great to see so many people offer to help us and come out of their homes and join us. We sincerely hope that the work we started and the results we saw last term will continue.”

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment, said:
“Our young people consistently tell us they want people to deal with litter properly, so hats off to the pupils at Bankside primary for standing up for their community and environment.

“By getting whole communities involved we can start to bring about the long-term behaviour change we need towards rubbish and litter. This will help people gain a sense of pride in their area and they’ll want to keep it clean.

“Thanks to the school, the local campaign and our locality staff for playing their part in keeping Leeds clean and green.”


For media enquiries please contact:
Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 395 1577

Smokers across Leeds urged to quit for Stoptober

Stoptober – England’s mass 28 day stop smoking attempt - is back following its huge success last year which saw 160,000 people complete the challenge.

Figures show 23 per cent of adults in Leeds still smoke and it remains the nation’s biggest killer with half of long-term smokers dying prematurely from a smoking disease.

The Public Health England campaign comes as new research shows the extra years of life that can be gained by giving up smoking and staying smokefree.

Someone who quits smoking for Stoptober, and doesn’t smoke again, could gain an extra seven days of life, every 28 days, for the rest of their life.

A person stopping smoking for 28 days is five times more likely to stay smokefree and Stoptober’s ambition is to help smokers achieve this goal.

Along with the health benefits, quitting saves the average smoker more than £150 a month and almost £2,000 a year. During last year’s Stoptober campaign, a staggering £25 million was saved by the 160,000 people from not buying cigarettes.

Paul Lambert, a Public Health specialist in tobacco control, said:
“One of Leeds city priorities is to reduce the number of people who smoke. Stoptober is a great campaign which can contribute to this priority by encouraging and supporting people to take their first steps in quitting smoking and start to reap the benefits that this brings - better health and wealth. I wish all those taking part the very best of luck.”

Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies said:
"Half of all smokers die as a result of smoking, this is the single biggest cause of premature death taking more than 100,000 lives in the UK and costing the NHS up to £2.7bn each year.

"Life is precious and you can gain up to seven days for every 28 you remain smokefree. Taking part in the challenge is a first step to a longer and healthier life.

"Have a go, by stopping with Stoptober.”

Professor Kevin Fenton, Public Health England’s Director of Health and Wellbeing added:
“Campaigns such as Stoptober, along with the support provided by local stop smoking services, play a huge role in helping people to stop. Whilst smoking prevalence across the country as a whole is falling steadily, it remains high in some parts and is still the biggest cause of premature death with more than 80,000 deaths in England every year.

“We want every smoker to consider making a quit attempt this October and join the thousands of people who are feeling the benefits from stopping smoking last year.”

Stoptober provides smokers with a range of free support including a new stop smoking pack, a 28-day mobile phone app and text support with daily updates and quitting advice, detailed tools and tips for coping, as well as the encouragement and support from thousands of people quitting together through Stoptober social media.

Promotion of the campaign began on Monday, September 9 with the launch of new TV advertising and roadshows touring the country.

To encourage people to sign up and order their packs, ultra-marathon runner and ex forty-a-day smoker, Rory Coleman will be running 28 miles a day for 28 days in a row across England and Wales.

As part of Rory’s challenge he will be pushing the giant red Stoptober wheel with the help of local armed forces representatives and members of the public across Leeds on September 12.

Stoptober 2013 starts on Tuesday October 1 and runs for 28 days. For more information and to join the biggest stop smoking challenge of its kind, search ‘Stoptober’ online.

Notes to editors

1. Rory Coleman will be taking the following route tomorrow:
Leeds Wheel push
• Start 11.30am at Park Square, on St Paul's place
• Head along St Paul's Place to Park Square East
• Turn left onto Park Square east and continue forward over the lights at Westgate and onto Oxford Place
• Continue forward with the town hall on your right and at the end of the road turn right onto Great George street
• Progress all the way along Great George Street onto Merrion Street until it comes to the T junction with Vicar Lane *Suggested photo opportunity
• Turn Left onto Vicar lane and continue forwards until reaching The Headrow
• Progress over the Headrow turning right down King Edward Street and onto Albion Place
• Turn right at Lands Lane and progress onwards until reaching The Headrow
• Turn left at the Headrow and finish at Dortmund Square (on the right) to join up with the Stoptober roadshow *Suggested photo opportunity

2. Promotion of Stoptober begins on 9th September and includes TV and outdoor advertising, digital activity, posters, cards and in-pharmacy literature, roadshows and national and regional PR

3. TV adverts and images will be available via dropbox from the September 6 at

4. Commentary from charitable partners is also available

5. Public Health England’s mission is to protect and improve the nation’s health and to address inequalities through working with national and local government, the NHS, industry and the voluntary and community sector. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health

6. For more information on PHE visit or follow us on Twitter @PHE_uk

For more information, contact:

Stuart Robinson
Communications Officer
Leeds City Council
Tel: 0113 224 3937


Public Health England Press Office
Tel: 0207 654 8400
Out of hours telephone 0208 200 4400