Go Higher West Yorkshire – St Agnes Parents Group

Sometimes it is as simple as a conversation, with the right person, that sparks an idea and starts to build a strong relationship. In June 2017 the Outreach Officer for Leeds College of Building and the Area Manager for Leeds Go Higher West Yorkshire met with the Reverend of St Agnes church, Burmantofts, Leeds.

Since that date, and with the additional support of the Go Higher West Yorkshire (GHWY) officers from Leeds City College, Kirklees College and the University of Leeds, a parents group has formed. Workshops are delivered to around 30 parents and carers each time (and sometimes young people too)! The workshops are tailored to the groups’ needs and vary in topics including apprenticeships, futures in health, what are the different routes and options in Higher Education. All workshops involve the opportunity to meet current students, and students that reflect the young people from Burmantofts.

Go Higher West Yorkshire are led by the University of Leeds and host to the GHWY central team. GHWY are formally recognised by Office for Students as the Single Point of Contact (SPOC) for all 11-18 schools in West Yorkshire, as well as primary schools and businesses.

Find out more about projects that the University of Leeds is involved in by signing up to our bi-monthly community newsletter at sustainability.leeds.ac.uk/sign-up-to-our-e-newsletter  

We Are Recruiting!

Do you have experience of working in the field of Environmental and Sustainability Compliance?

We are seeking a highly motivated and experienced individual to oversee and deliver our environmental compliance activity.

For more information see the role descriptions below, or apply HERE: https://jobs.leeds.ac.uk/vacancy.aspx?ref=FDSUS1016 

Environmental Compliance Officer

Do you have significant experience of working in the field of Environmental and Sustainability Compliance? Do you enjoy developing and implementing compliance approaches? Would you like to apply your expertise in shaping compliance activities at a world leading University? 

We are seeking a highly motivated and experienced individual to oversee and deliver our environmental compliance activity. You will be working closely between both the Sustainability and Health and Safety Services, supporting our organisation wide commitment to sustainability.

Working in partnership with Sustainability Manager and the Senior Health and Safety Manager you will be required to confidently liaise with staff across the University, students and external stakeholders. You will maintain, and ensure compliance against, our institutional legal register, identify areas of risk and develop appropriate policies and procedures to ensure systematic and measured environmental compliance. You will be expected to work across the University and therefore covering different impacts and sources and well as ensure compliance within our contractors and supply chain.

You will have excellent written skills and extensive experience of building effective professional relationships. Previous experience of working in Higher Education would be desirable. You will have excellent communication and organisation skills and will be able to work independently and use your own initiative and judgement in order to make decisions.

To explore the post further or for any queries you may have, please contact

James Dixon-Gough

Tel: +44 (0)113 343 35793, email: j.dixon-gough@leeds.ac.uk

Green Gown Awards nominations

The University is celebrating being nominated in no less than four categories at the prestigious UK and Ireland Green Gown Awards.

Representing more than one million students, 172,000 staff and a combined annual turnover of £15 billion, the Awards are leading the way with their commitment to the global sustainability agenda and proving the value universities and colleges bring to the economy and society.

Finalists emphasise an institution’s role in enabling and empowering young people to tackle pressing global issues to ensure they have a better tomorrow.

To be held at York’s historic National Railway Museum on 8 November, the Awards ceremony recognises sustainability best practice within the further and higher education sectors. The Awards provide the sector with benchmarks for excellence and are respected by Government, funding councils, senior management, academics, and students.

Leeds is nominated in the Benefitting Society, Research With Impact, Tomorrow’s Employees and Total Reporting categories.

Katie McGuire, the University’s Deputy Director Sustainability Services, said: “The Green Gown Awards represent the highest accolades for UK universities in sustainability, so we are absolutely delighted to have been shortlisted as finalists for four awards this year.

“This celebrates a successful year for Sustainability Services, seeing the growth of programmes, such as Living Lab and Positive Impact Partners (PIP), along with the achievements of our Student Sustainability Architects, who continue to support us to embed sustainability throughout the University, whilst gaining valuable work experience.

“We hold our fingers crossed as we prepare our finalists submissions and look forward to the awards ceremony in November.”

The four categories Leeds is nominated for once again demonstrate the huge strides being made to further embed sustainability in schools, faculties, and services at the University.

Total Reporting

The University’s core purpose is to increase knowledge and opportunity for the betterment of society, and Leeds has made firm commitments to take its economic, social, environmental and cultural responsibilities seriously.

As a result, its Annual Sustainability Report is a total impact report – a more holistic appraisal of the University’s social, environmental, economic and cultural impacts. It is full of case studies, commitments, progress, facts, and figures. Together, these tell the story of the amazing work Leeds is doing to become an even more sustainable university.

Benefitting Society

Through Positive Impact Partners, University staff and their Third Sector partners work together, combining their personal, professional or research expertise to create new collaborative projects that build capacity and encourage positive social change.

Tomorrow’s Employees

Student Sustainability Architects are part-time paid positions at the Sustainability Service, providing support for student engagement activities, events, campaigns, and initiatives. They take the lead on delivering projects that align with the University’s strategic objectives and also develop their own ideas to increase student participation with sustainability.

Research With Impact

Driven by the University’s commitment to embedding sustainability through knowledge, engagement, collaboration, and innovation, the Living Lab brings together students, academic and operational staff to research and test sustainable solutions, enhance the curriculum and solve real-world challenges, using Leeds as both a testbed and a space for co-created research-led teaching.

Projects to date have ranged from monitoring and mapping air quality across campus to trialling the mixed ability sports model through workshops and taster days for staff and students. It is hoped these will be scalable to our communities, the city and beyond.

Iain Patton, Chief Executive at the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges, which administers the Awards, said: “Every day, tireless environmental, social and sustainability leaders across the UK and Ireland are driving change and showing the value universities and colleges bring to the economy and society. The Green Gown Awards exist to give them the recognition and platform they need to share their learning and do even more.”

Great Food at Leeds (GFAL) receives the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s highest accolade

Great Food at Leeds (GFAL) is delighted to announce that it has received the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s highest accolade, a three-star ‘Food Made Good’ sustainability rating. The team achieved an overall score of 70% over three main categories; Sourcing, Society and Environment.

Beverley Kenny MBEDeputy Director of Commercial Services, said “Receiving the highest rating at the first attempt is a fantastic achievement. It is a reflection of the commitment of the entire team and the hard work they do every day, ensuring the catering service supports the sustainable aims and objectives of the University. We look forward to using the feedback from the Sustainable Restaurant Association report to guide improvements in sustainability across our catering outlets”.

Find out more at the following link:

GFAL receives high marks for food sustainability

Tree Carving Competition Winner

Thank you to all who contributed towards our tree carving competition.

Our winner is Joely Holder. Well done, Joely!


We have had so many inspirational designs it proved difficult to choose just one.  That is why instead we are opting to use a combination of ideas from various entries to ensure everyone who entered will leave a positive mark on campus.

We are currently working with a local artist to bring all of these together and we hope that the work to transform the tree will begin during July.

Our runners-up are:

Rosie Smith

Lauren C Maltas

Tilly Jacques


Hue Owen

And a special mention to those who entered from Bright Beginnings


Leeds Living Labs One Year On


The first ever annual report is here for Leeds Living Labs.  Get involved!

What is Leeds Living Labs?

Since launching in May 2017 Leeds Living Lab has grown from concept to reality.  It currently has 9 significant collaborative research projects including the Air Quality Living Lab and Living Waste Living Lab.

The projects begin at the university campus, giving support and capacity where the university can provide.  Once the project has grown big enough to sustain itself it leaves the Living Labs to grow and develop on its own.

Think of a project like a goldfish: it’s nourished and fed, until eventually, it moves to a bigger bowl to grow.

Working Together

Living Labs is about collaboration. Bringing together those who wouldn’t normally consider collaboration or those that have considered it but were unsure where they can obtain that support.

It brings together students, academics and professional staff to co-produce innovative and transformative solutions to real-world sustainability challenges using the Leeds campus as testbed.

Branching different disciplines of knowledge is a real benefit of Living Labs.  Because of these different levels of knowledge from different background together it helps maintain sustainable improvements.

Why are we sharing this?

We want to spread the message far and wide: Leeds has a Living Labs and it’s setting an example!

There’s an opportunity here to get involved and share the mutual benefits with us.  Whether internal or external to the University of Leeds we want to welcome everyone to take part and get involved with current and future projects either as leaders or participants!

What if I’m not with the University of Leeds?

We still want to share our learning with you.  Tell us what you’re doing and come to us with questions. We’re always innovating, pioneering and looking to build our network.

Sustainable Commutes: University of Leeds Travel Survey Results

As part of our ongoing blog series for National Clean Air Day, Sustainability Project Officer Claire Booth discusses the University of Leeds Travel Survey results. You can read our previous blog entries here and here.

Every year, the University of Leeds undertakes a Travel Survey to provide a snapshot of how staff and students travel to campus. The results feed into our Sustainable Travel Plan, which helps us to achieve our aim to foster a student and staff body where sustainable travel is the norm, while reducing the associated negative impacts of travel such as congestion, carbon emissions and air pollution.  The results can also help us to assess the availability of workplace facilities, such as showers and cycle parking, and inform us of opportunities to make improvements and to better promote sustainable travel options.

Sustainable travel includes walking, cycling, car sharing or public transport. From the Travel Survey results conducted earlier this year, we discovered that over 75% of staff and an impressive 95% of students travel to the University in a sustainable way. That’s a really great result.


While over seventy percent of students walked or ran to the University as their main mode of transport (the main mode is the one they travel furthest by), only seventeen percent of staff commuted in the same way.  Between 5 and 10 percent responded that they cycled to work and a quarter of staff said that they drive into work.

The modes of travel that we choose to travel to and from the University have a direct impact on local air quality. Opting for a low or zero emission mode such as walking or cycling – or using mass transport such as bus, train or car sharing – reduces both the individual and collective impact of air pollution, and plays a part in improving air quality levels in the city.

Air pollution comes from a range of sources including transport. The main contributing pollutants from vehicle emissions are carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, hydrocarbons and lead. Each pollutant behaves differently and has varied effects on our health, which makes air quality is a complex issue to manage and control.


But we want to keep making improvements.  This is why we are offering a free breakfast for National Clean Air Day for all staff and students who travel sustainably.  Join us tomorrow outside the Student Union from 8.30am onwards and make your pledge this National Clean Air Day.

Tweet us your pledge @Uol_Sus.

For more information on the Leeds Living Lab for Air Quality, which is driving projects that limit exposure to poor air quality, visit: http://sustainability.leeds.ac.uk/the-living-lab/airquality/




Four Reasons to Leave the Car at Home


It’s time to keep the car in the garage.  It may seem convenient but what are the real consequences of taking your car to work?  Does your commute have a real impact on the air around the city? And are there any real benefits from taking public transportation? Here are 4 benefits of swapping the car for a train.

1: There’s Less Air Pollution

Being in such close contact with stop starting cars is a fast track way to take in air pollution, being in close contact with exhaust fumes, even inside a car risk those fumes entering your body. And not just through breathing.  Most Air Pollution can enter your body through your skin. The particles are that small.

Those who take public transport are less exposed to air pollution than those who take personal transport to work every day. This is in part due to the stop-starting cars from traffic in and around the city.  Choosing sustainable modes of transportation not only allows for cleaner air for the city but also for your lungs.

2: It’s Cost Effective

If you’re commuting from a distance it may be time to think about commuting by train to the city centre.  Not only will you save money by using less fuel, but you will also allow your car to have a longer life.  The more you use your car the more maintenance it requires.  This includes tyre replacement, oil refill, windscreen wash and these just the basics.  If you’re unlucky you could create serious wear on your car and need some severe maintenance work that could go into the hundreds.

By choosing public transportation it not only allows you to have spare cash at hand but also takes away the stress of daily car maintenance.   The worry of whether you have fuel in the car will be gone.  The only thing you’ll need to think about is what book you’ll be reading that day.

3: It Gives you Personal Time

If you have a long work day then it’s made even worse my commuting into the city centre through motorways and nonstop congestion. And being behind a wheel requires constant focus, attention and care.

Use that time on your commute instead to unwind, close your eyes and reflect on the day ahead or the day gone by. There’s an opportunity within that commute to shorten your work day by letting your brain unwind by switching off and recharging.  It not only improves overall wellbeing but gives you time to be in the moment and not worry about the world around you.

4: It’s Leisure Time

There may have been time when you can listen to the radio or listen to a podcast but not only is it sometimes difficult to hear what is said over the noise of the outside traffic but you will also find that you’re never truly focussed on what’s being said if your eyes are on the road.  Let alone how unsafe it is to have your attention elsewhere while driving.

You may be on your way to work but it doesn’t mean you need to be working.  That precious commute time you can have by leaving your car at home can be spent catching up on your favourite book, learning something new, or reading up on the daily news and events.




From Alberta to Leeds: A Clean Air Interview with Exchange Student Nick Tabler

What’s your background? What brings you to the University of Leeds?

I’m Nick Tabler I’m a student from the University of Alberta in Western Canada I’m here on a QES Scholarship working with Leeds Living Labs doing software development, centre calibration and designing air quality monitoring solutions.

My background is in Electrical Engineering.  I haven’t had much climate science background coming into this so for the first month I’ve been learning a lot from my colleagues of Earth and Environment.  I’ve always had an interest in hiking, mountaineering, being outside and the quality of ecosystems.

I’ve been working within the Sustainability environment industry and I’ve wanted to get a more academic experience so I’ve moved into the research side of things. As far as air quality goes it’s a much larger concern in England and it’s something that’s difficult to manage and difficult to quantify.

What are you working on at the University of Leeds?

I’m designing a couple of air quality monitoring systems that will go around campus.  These are black box solutions that we will be putting nearby the motorways and around campus as well as a forest reserve south of Leeds. I’m working between that as well as air quality monitoring walks, managing volunteers. Collecting data and transferring it to our website as well as enhancing our website so people can see what air quality is like around campus.

We have a consistent walk engaging volunteers around campus, various staff groups, and student groups as well as trying to engage students who can find the data to see what the air quality is like over time. These Air quality walks are an initiative by the Leeds Living Lab Project to monitor air quality throughout 12 months starting from November/December and then moving up to November/December 2018.  It provides a data set that we can give to planning and operations to help engage their air quality strategy.

How would you compare the Leeds and Alberta?

Compared to Alberta I find Leeds is a lot more condensed. You get a lot of different air quality concerns that you wouldn’t get back in Alberta. I would say the density is much higher so you get a lot more traffic and a lot more slow traffic on motorways.  So that can result in a lot more diesel cars, I find that it’s a lot smoggy here. So it’s more noticeable. On some days it’s difficult to quantify on just a sensory basis. It’s something that has to be more experienced through sensors and monitors. It seems more people are concerned about Air Quality here than Alberta.

I think there’s something to be learned from Leeds to take back to Alberta. From what I’ve seen working with Sustainability on campus. There are a lot more initiatives here as far as biodiversity as well as data monitoring through the city. I think that’s something I’ll be taking back to Alberta.  Valuing biodiversity and monitoring on campus to the best of my knowledge I don’t see as many projects or outreaches are not quite there.  And that is well something that I find in Leeds. Think there’s a lot of different concerns that make it difficult for me to say one thing or another to compare both Alberta and Leeds, as far as land preservation, it’s a different specialality. It’s more condensed, less area here than there is in Canada so there are different solutions that have to be considered.

It’s National Clean Air Day on the 21st June. What’s your Clean Air Day pledge?

For National Clean Air Day 2018 I’m trying to rely on walking and cycling rather than using public transportation. Because public transport is substantially better than driving a single car but cycling would still be better!

Moving Out Checklist

End of year can be a hectic time for students. As soon as you have completed your last exam you are only a matter of weeks away to when you need to have packed up your things and move on to a new tenancy. Before you thoughts turn to taking time off, having a holiday and seeing family, take a little time to prepare for your move and save yourself some money and hassle in the process! Here are our top tips to help with taking the stress out moving house.

1. Recycle your empties

Been hoarding glass in your garden with the intention of recycling it?   Put those good intentions in to practice and take your glass to your nearest bottle bank. (No you can’t put them in your green bin!) Download the Leeds Bins app to find your nearest. https://datamillnorth.org/products/leeds-bins/

2.  Leave only empty cupboards behind

Check if you need to buy any more food.  Use up what you have stored away in the cupboards and freezer before buying any more. If you have any food leftover at the end of year, call around to your neighbours and see if they would like it or drop off any none perishable food at one of the city’s collection points. See the Council’s Moving Out? webpage for details of where you can find your nearest. https://www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/bins-and-recycling/moving-out

3. Who does all this stuff belong to?

Starting to regret not having done any cleaning this year? To have any chance of getting your deposit back it’s time for everyone to muck in and get things sorted.  Work out a plan with your housemates how you will  divide up the tasks, sort out who owns what and clean communal areas.  That includes your garden and outside spaces!  Its a good idea to agree a day that you can all get together and clean up before everyone starts disappearing.

4. Make some extra cash for the summer

Sell your unwanted textbooks, clothes, electricals and media and get some extra cash for the summer. See our Living in Leeds Guide for more information. http://sustainability.leeds.ac.uk/being-a-positive-partner-in-society/your-community/

5. Don’t Throw It Give It and Leave Leeds Tidy 

Consider donating your unwanted stuff instead of throwing it away. Each year an extra 360 tonnes of waste is thrown away when student move out of their accommodation. Drop off any unwanted  at one of the end of year collections running in residencies, the local community and campus.  You can drop of any furniture, clothes, kitchen goods, electricals, non perishable food and anything else that you no longer need! Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for updates on collections near you (#ASmoothMove) or visit the Council’s Moving Out? webpage.  https://www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/bins-and-recycling/moving-out

6. Take meter readings

A few weeks before you move out, contact the utility companies and let them know that you will be closing the account soon. On you final day take your meter readings, inform the companies to close your account and give them a forwarding address to send the bill. Do keep a record of the meter readings. Once paid make sure you send proof to the landlord/agent. 

7. Protect your ID

Shred any documentation with your personal details on it. Identity thieves are known to go looking through bins as well as looking for any opportunistic open doors and windows to help themselves to your laptop.  It’s also not a good idea to store all of your possessions in a car overnight as it will get broken in to!

8. Get out and see Leeds 

It’s not too late take advantage of your free time in Leeds to go to one of city’s many great summer festivals and attractions. Looking for ideas on what you can do? Check out the following link which lists what’s going on! https://confidentials.com/leeds/things-to-do

9. Rate your landlord

Tell other students of your renting experiences this year through Rate Your Landlord.  This is your chance to have a say about your landlord and pass on those views to benefit future tenants! If you’ve had a great experience let other students know.  If the year has been poor, then this is your chance to tell other students that another choice would be a good idea! https://www.rateyourlandlord.org.uk/rate/