Celebrating Sustainability at Leeds

Leeds has won an award for embedding a collaborative approach to sustainability across all aspects of the University curriculum.

At the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN) conference earlier this month in São Paulo, Brazil, the Leeds Sustainable Curriculum, led by the University’s Sustainability Service, received the Whole Systems Approach Award.

The award recognises sustainable campus projects that have excelled at integrating sustainability into the culture, education, research and operations right across the University’s Schools and services.

The ISCN is an association of more than 80 colleges and universities from more than 30 countries, which aims to support the global higher education sector as a leader in sustainability.

Dr Louise Ellis, Sustainability Director at Leeds, said: “Winning this award is a reflection of the hard work of a number of different people across the University, including staff from research, teaching and professional services.

“Working in collaboration has been the key to our success. Our approach to the curriculum reflects the wider University approach to sustainability – looking at the whole picture rather than individual projects.”

Victoria Smith, interim Executive Director of the ISCN, said: “It was so affirming and inspiring to see the quality of submissions we received.

“The award winners demonstrate outstanding leadership for sustainability in higher education and we are thrilled to showcase their work and highlight the global importance of their contributions.”

The Leeds Sustainable Curriculum aims to embed sustainability into all undergraduate and postgraduate courses. This includes offering over 130 modules as part of its Creating Sustainable Futures Discovery Theme. The modules allow students from all disciplines to explore the environmental, social, cultural and economic issues facing society, looking at how they can be tackled from a local and global level.

The Leeds Sustainable Curriculum is intrinsically linked to the Living Lab programme, bringing together students, academic and operational staff to research sustainable solutions to real-world challenges using the University campus as a test bed.

The improved Roger Stevens Pond at the University of Leeds

One of the Living Lab’s recent success stories includes the refurbishment of the Roger Stevens Pond (pictured, above). In autumn 2018, the Living Lab brought Estates Services together with academics and students from the Schools of Biological Sciences, Geography and Civil Engineering to create a space for teaching and research.

The University of Leeds Sustainability Service has exciting plans to develop the Leeds Sustainable Curriculum even further next year. Keep up to date with its progress along with other staff and student opportunities here.

Further information

  • For additional information, please contact University of Leeds Media Relations Manager Anna Harrison via a.harrison@leeds.ac.uk or +44(0)113 34 34196.
  • The ISCN provides a global forum for universities pursuing sustainability across their educational and research missions, and operations. ISCN Members commit to sustainability principles according to the ISCN Sustainable Campus Charter. Founded in 2007, the ISCN features international awards, conferences, and working groups to promote best practice exchange. More information on the ISCN and its Members can be found at http://www.international-sustainable-campus-network.org/

Sustainability Awards 2019 – Results!

Last night the University hosted the Annual Sustainability Awards 2019 to celebrate the incredible work our staff and students do to create positive change across campus and further afield. Our staff and students have helped us create a university that embeds sustainability through knowledge, engagement, collaboration and innovation.

There are eight awards categories; each covering a different aspect of the broad spectrum of Sustainability at the University of Leeds. The first four awards are based on the themes from our Sustainability Strategy . We then have the Sustainable Purchasing Award and, new this year, the Single Out Award given to those going above and beyond to support the #2023PlasticFree Pledge. The final two awards are our student-only awards. Below we have congratulated our winners alongside their award.

Embedding Sustainability through Collaboration

Winner: James Hamilton

Runner up: The Public Engagement with Research Team for Be Curious

Runner up: Jonathan Busch for his work with the Climate Workshops and establishing the Discovering Sustainability journal.

This award recognises staff or students who have shared skills, ideas or resources across the campus to ensure sustainable practices and values are embedded into the culture of university. James  won due to his hard work educating his colleagues in engaging lunchtime sessions, making sure sustainability training is on all job descriptions and introducing glass milk bottles to the office.

The Building Knowledge and Capacity

Winner: The Priestley Centre

Runner up: Kashmir Kaur for her Language in Context – Sustainability Module

Runner up: James McKay for his dedication to teaching colleagues and school children about sustainability

This is awarded when a project or initiative is focussed on educating staff or students on sustainability, using campus as a Living Lab and sharing expertise across campus or the local area. The Priestley Centre stood out, by teaming up with 3 other northern universities to take Climate Chats out into public spaces in Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester and York during Green Great Britain Week. They translated science into art, music and poetry to engage with the public and their rising concern about climate change. Furthermore, climate researchers were rapidly mobilised to attend the Youth Strikes for Climate Action to answer the striking school children’s questions – Ask a climate researcher.

Being a Positive Partner in Society

Winner: Sustainability Into Schools

Runner up: Save a Life Team for their working teaching staff and students basic lifesaving skills

Runner up: Alex Bamji, Viktor Doychinov and Alistair Hay from Health for their volunteering work giving academic support for young people from disadvantaged children.

This award recognises people who have made Leeds a happier and better place to work and live. The winner was the Sustainability into Schools programme which increases awareness of sustainability issues in primary schools across Leeds and gives pupils the tools and knowledge to live more sustainable lifestyles.

Making the Most of Resources

Winner: Roger Stevens Living Lab Team

Runner up: Residential Services for their work recycling and donating mattresses.

Runner up: Daniel Preston for his work teaching colleagues about low-waste lifestyles and hosting lunchtime litterpicks

The final award from the Sustainability Strategy’s themes is Making the Most of Resources. This celebrates staff and students that have implemented policies, ideas or encouraged behaviour changes to ensure efficient and effective resources management. A campus favourite, the Roger Stevens Pond, won. An exemplary living lab example, this has brought together academics and grounds staff to build a biodiversity haven on a concrete Grade II listed building in the city. Already used by ducks and fish, we look forward to seeing what will be attracted there in the future.

Sustainable Purchasing Award

Winner: Charles Morris Hall

Runner up: Antony Wilkinson for his research into replacing washing machines with more sustainable alternatives

The Sustainable Purchasing Award congratulates someone who has encouraged best practice and innovation in University purchasing. Charles Morris Hall installed a Purex system, which cleans water without chemicals, removing 86% of chemical previously used on site.

Single Out Award

Winner: Alumni Team

Runner up: stage@leeds for making their bar completely single-use plastic free

Runner up: Richard Jones from Devonshire Hall Kitchen for his work removing single-use plastics

The Alumni Team claimed this award for their intuitive efforts, getting involved with the Sustainability Services to replace the plastic envelope with paper, saving over 900kg of single use plastic per quarter.

The Student Co-curricular Award

Winner: Ruth Trainor

Runner-up: Ryan Higlett, for his extensive involvement with Sustainability into Schools.

This award highlights stand out student-led non-curricular work which has had a positive impact across the campus or Leeds community. Ruth Trainor won due to her organisation of Sustainability Week, hosting talks, events and presentations involving stakeholders from the University and beyond.

The Student Curricular Award

Winner: Hazel Mooney

Runner up: Jonathan Teasdale for his impressive presentation about sustainable fashion at the Student Sustainability Research Conference

This award can include any original work at the University of Leeds that has taken place this year. Hazel Mooney took this award for her dissertation, researching the intrinsic value of trees in urban areas. Jonathan Teasdale was awarded runner up for his presentation at the Student Sustainability Research Conference, highlighting the waste created in fashion and designing a waste-free clothes pattern.

Blueprint Awards

Furthermore, this academic year has been the first for the new staff engagement scheme Blueprint. We were excited to award 16 teams with either ‘Working Towards’ or ‘Explorer’ for their work. The Sustainability Service works with teams to scope out their potential impacts and opportunities in order to produce an action-plan bespoke to their team. To get your School or Service signed up please contact Sustainability@leeds.ac.uk

 

We would like to thank Bright Beginnings for their exquisite table decorations, made from reused materials. We’re incredibly grateful for the time staff voluntarily take to create these awe inspiring sculptures, to meet our demanding brief. We would also like to thank Catering Services for the delicious vegan food they provided.

 

 

Sustainability in Catering Services: Healthy Week 2019

Hi, I’m Katy, and I’m approaching the end of my term as Student Sustainability Architect for the University catering service. My main aim in this role has been to encourage Refectory customers to reduce their meat consumption, and instead opt for some of the delicious plant-based options served on the Green & Go and Tossed Salad counters. Recent research has shown the importance of reducing meat consumption, particularly ruminant meat, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, water use and land use. A focus on meat reduction has recently been implemented into Great Food at Leeds’ Sustainability Strategy as a result of my work!

My recent project has been to implement this sustainability focus into Great Food at Leeds’ offering for the 2019 Staff Healthy Week. Between the 17th-21st June, a free piece of fruit will be available with every vegan meal, and the Green & Go counter will be serving only vegan meals for the entire week. Additionally, a Street Food Hut will be outside the Refectory all week, serving fresh and delicious vegan meals. This will be a huge step forward for Great Food at Leeds in working towards its new sustainability goal. Reducing personal meat consumption is an achievable goal for everyone, and we hope that this year’s Healthy Week offer will inspire customers to eat more meals with vegetables as the main focus.

I’m excited that planetary health and personal health are being combined for 2019 Healthy Week. Please visit the Refectory and our Street Food Hut outside the Students’ Union between the 17th-21st June and buy a delicious plant-based meal to support sustainability in catering at the University of Leeds!

 

Colour Hyde Park – Photography Competition

Colour Hyde Park is our brand-new, collaborative mural project!

We are working with Leeds Inspired, Leeds City Council, Leeds Beckett University and local artists to create six community murals celebrating the natural beauty and diversity of Hyde Park and our community. Our mural artists have come from many different backgrounds across Hyde Park and their incredible work strongly reflects the spirit of our community.

We are looking for a keen photographer to help us document this great project. You will be photographing the murals through mid-late June and our launch party on July 25th. The material produced will be used on our website and social media communications as well as a Mural Map we are creating.

To enter for the chance to photograph the project, and to win £200 worth of kit or a voucher of your choice, please send up to 6 photos of your own previous work to r.l.flett@leeds.ac.uk.

The deadline for all submissions is midnight 16th June . For any further questions please email r.l.flett@leeds.ac.uk.

Moving Out Checklist

End of year can be a hectic time for students. Exam season has ended and already you need to pack up your things and move on to a new house or depart Leeds for good. Before your 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!

To help take the stress and hassle out of moving out we’ve created a handy moving out checklist. It includes tips on where to find your nearest glass recycling, where you can donate your unwanted stuff and last minute things to consider before you hand back your keys.

1. Leave Leeds Tidy 

Consider donating your unwanted stuff instead of throwing it away. Drop off any unwanted at one of the end of year collections running in residencies, the local community and campus.  You can drop off 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 check the Moving Out map http://bit.ly/MovingOutMap

2. Dispose of your rubbish properly!

Did you know that every year, over 70 truckloads of waste is produced on changeover day alone?! And a lot of this can end up littering the streets and gardens which also means your landlord can charge you for extra cleaning. Take care of the environment (and your wallet) and make sure your housemates stagger your rubbish disposal times so bins don’t overflow. Use the Leeds Bin App here to find out what should be put in each bin!

3. 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/

4. 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 Moving Out map for details of where you can find your nearest. http://bit.ly/MovingOutMap

5. 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!  It’s a good idea to agree a day that you can all get together and clean up before everyone starts disappearing.

6. 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/

7. 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 your 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. 

8. 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!

9. Get out and see Leeds 

It’s not too late to 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Parkinson Peregrines

Have you seen the peregrine news on our social media? Want to know more about the history of our Parkinson Peregrines? Below is a blog post from Paul Wheatley (@leedsbirder). Paul is a local birder, University of Leeds graduate and volunteer Ranger for the RSPB.

In 2018 a pair of Peregrines successfully nested and raised 3 young falcons from their lofty nesting ledge near the top of the Parkinson Tower. These incredible apex predators raised a family and delighted keen birders and those new to the world of ornithology alike.

What made the difference in this first time breeding success? A simple wooden tray filled with gravel, installed by the University of Leeds Sustainability Services. If eggs are laid on bare stone they can roll around making them difficult to keep together to incubate properly. On a gravel surface, breeding success for urban Peregrines is dramatically improved. Once the Peregrines found the tray, it was game on!

Two males and a female hatched from the eggs and were reared by the adults. In July, they fledged the nest and learned to hunt and survive for themselves. So what happened next? Life can be hard for juvenile Peregrines and only one in three typically survive their first year.

The juveniles began to wander from the University quite soon after fledging, and sightings from further afield became more frequent. All three were ringed in the nest, and with a good view it’s possible to identify them from the code on their colour rings. Most notable was an amazing view of one of the young birds who was filmed on a window ledge high up on the Pinnacle tower block in Leeds city centre (https://twitter.com/MattBigface/status/1030549797365796871)

Over the winter, we received good news from Peregrine watchers in Morley who sighted our juvenile male, ringed as TAC, on the Town Hall. Our friends at Wakefield Peregrines have already identified the building as an ideal Peregrine nesting site and have placed a nesting tray there. So with luck TAC might just find a mate and start a family only a few miles from where he was born! A juvenile male Peregrine (identified by his small size compared to a female) was seen on the Parkinson tower on a few occasions over the winter, but unfortunately it wasn’t possible to make out the code on the colour ring – this could have been TAC or possibly his brother TBC.

Taking flight from LeedsBirder on Vimeo. The three youngsters (TAC, T7B and TBC) during the 48 hours after they fledged the nest.

As is usual our two adults were seen less frequently through the winter months, and were sometimes sighted hanging out in the city centre. As the breeding season got closer however, the birds became much more active around the Parkinson building. They were seen performing acrobatic display flights and began visiting the nesting tray to make a “scrape” where their eggs would ultimately be laid. Another indication of the pair bonding was the Tiercel (male) offering up a small plucked bird to the Falcon as a gift.

3rd egg laid from LeedsBirder on Vimeo. Footage from the nest camera, showing the female laying the third egg at 07:46:51 (42 seconds in to the video).

This year the Leeds Uni birds were ahead of their fellow Yorkshire urban Peregrines, after laying eggs nearly a month behind most other Peregrines last year. In 2019 laid their first egg on the 18th March, beating Wakefield, Sheffield and York Peregrines to it! Three more eggs followed, each spaced out by a couple of days. The birds started to incubate from the third and penultimate egg – typical behaviour for Peregrines.

Leeds Peregrines during egg laying week from LeedsBirder on Vimeo.

Both birds usually remained close to the nesting ledge during the week the eggs were laid, departing only briefly to hunt for food. This was a great time to watch the Peregrines, and see them interacting with other raptors in the area. Passing Sparrowhawks were carefully observed by the Peregrines, but were otherwise left alone. A buzzard was ignored. A wandering Red Kite was quickly intercepted by the Tiercel and mercilessly mobbed, or dive bombed, before beating a hasty retreat.

Other Peregrines were also frequently seen around this time, sometimes drawing the Leeds birds into the air. The interlopers may well have been looking for a mate. Our Leeds adults appear to be the same birds that have been in residence of a few years now, but neither are ringed so it’s difficult to tell for sure.

All four eggs have now hatched, as of April 28th. The parents take turns on the nest while the other hunts for food. On May 14th the University of Leeds Sustainability Services worked with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to weigh and ring the four chicks.  All are healthy weights between 550g and 725g. The whole process was completed quickly and all four chicks were safely returned to the nest. We are expecting to see them fledge between the 29th May and 3rd June so keep your eyes peeled!

If you’re interested in Peregrine data, a brilliant Dutch project has collected information from hundreds of Peregrines nests around the world (https://sites.google.com/site/nestkalenders/home/slechtvalken).

 

Last year, myself and keen University birder Les (@uolperegrine), organised some guided walks to help locals see the fledged Peregrines and raise money for raptor conservation charities. We’re hoping to do the same this year, so watch out for news on this in early June. The walks will be advertised at short notice when the birds fledge.

Keep watching the NestCam, check out @uolperegrine (https://twitter.com/UoLperegrine) for the latest news, and please let us know your sightings around campus (and further afield) by including @leedsbirder, @uolperegrine and @uol_sus in your tweets.

 

Paul Wheatley @leedsbirder (https://twitter.com/leedsbirder) Paul is a local birder, University of Leeds graduate and volunteer Ranger for the RSPB.

Living in a plastic World: Do We Need a Revolution?

This event was created and geared towards starting a conversation about the problems created by plastic. The University of Leeds in conjunction with Leeds University Union have pledged to become single use plastic free by 2023. Therefore, this event was set to be a conversation starter that could gather students’ views on the matter of plastic especially in their daily live and on campus.

The event kicked of with an award-winning documentary film: A Plastic Ocean. This film delved into the consequences of our over-use and overproduction of plastic. It covered the environmental impact as well as the health and social implications of our consumption of plastic.

Key Points:

  • The relevancy of plastic in our lives and whether it would be possible to cut it out completely
  • We discussed various alternatives to single use plastic and how you as an individual can make a change.
  • The issues of microfibres and using science to tackle the issues of plastics were also discussed in this segment.
  • Simple and actionable steps to help you on your way reduce your plastic consumption.
  • Ways to gain more information about the plastic waste issues.
  • Ways to make a difference in your local community and university campus.

The panel

The wonderful panel consisted of 6 students all from different backgrounds. They were all chosen due to their diverse interests in the realm of environmental issues to further diversify the responses and feedback through our discussion.

Giulia – A postgraduate student in the School of Earth and Environment studying Sustainability & Business and a Student Rep.

Mary – A Biology Postgraduate Student interested in reducing plastic waste in the Laboratories on Campus

Maddie – Postgraduate Student in School of Earth and Environment studying Sustainability and Business. Member of People & Planet Society.

Charlie – Postgraduate Student in the School of Earth and Environment studying Environment & Development. Runs a Plastic Free online supermarket called Life Before Plastik.

David – A Postgraduate Student studying Climate Change & Environmental Policy in the school of Earth and Environment. He is also a Student Sustainability Architect for Plastics, helping the university work towards the #2023 plastic free pledge.

The panel was hosted by Lulu Kariba the Student Sustainability Architect for Student Citizenship.  

You can find the podcast and show notes of this event below.

Transcript PDF

Sustainability Internships 2019/20 Open Now!

Are you excited about trying out new ideas and making a positive difference? Would you like to join a dynamic and committed team and gain valuable experience, by supporting projects which drive sustainability within the University and the wider community?

We are looking for two student interns to join our team in September 2019, supporting our work in delivering key projects to embed sustainability across the University. This is a unique opportunity to work within a large institution at an exciting time of change, where sustainability plays a key strategic role. For example, we have recently launched major Institutional projects such as #2023PlasticFree which will require collaboration across the University and beyond. You will gain insights into how to implement and embed sustainability into a complex institution, develop contacts throughout the University and have an opportunity to influence change on many levels.

Want to know more about our internship opportunity? Below is more info from our current interns; Rosie and Caitlin.

Rosie – Sustainability Engagement Intern

I’ve spent the last 8 months getting involved with many different aspects of Sustainability across the University; from the #2023PlasticFree pledge to student citizenship programmes. One of my focuses this year was on the Sustainability and Community Newsletters, I helped the team move to a new system and worked to improve the readership of the newsletters. I was also given the chance to develop my own project and created “Colour Hyde Park” – Community Mural Project. This was the perfect chance for me to develop my project management skills and creativity whilst giving back to the community and supporting local artists. I’ve also had opportunities to work with other stakeholders like local councillors and other Universities, including UCL. This internship is flexible and there are always opportunities to jump into. Recently I’ve been given the responsibility of creating a slide deck about the SDGs that will be shown at a global campus security network meeting!

Caitlin – Sustainability Intern

This internship has taught me a lot for future jobs; having never worked in an office before this was a great stepping stone from University to work life. My main focus this year has been the staff engagement scheme, Blueprint, giving me a “behind the scenes” view of how the University is run. Blueprint has also helped me see real, measurable change on campus and as an intern it’s great to make an impact! Another responsibility of mine is organising the Sustainability Awards. Having ownership of such a big project provides a huge learning curve for my organisation skills and creativity! Within the team there’s a strong attitude towards constant learning and improvement, giving me many chances to do extra training such as Equality courses and Excel workbooks. The whole team is friendly and happy to help with any queries, however small and silly (how does the printer work..?).

This year we are recruiting two Sustainability Interns from our undergraduate community to join the team for 11 months and support projects that deliver the University’s ambitious Sustainability Strategy. Our Interns will be proactive and creative in supporting key areas of focus such as staff and student engagement, plastic-free initiatives, event coordination, and embedding sustainability into the University curriculum. It’s a great opportunity to be working on sustainability in a large, complex organisation at an exciting time for significant change and influence.

Apply now! https://jobs.leeds.ac.uk/Vacancy.aspx?ref=FDSUS1017  

Deadline: 28th May 2019

Sustainability Awards Photography Competition!

On Wednesday 12th June the University of Leeds will be holding our Sustainability Awards. This is a very exciting and prestigious event where the University showcases all of the great work being done to support our sustainability journey. The event is attended by the Vice-Chancellor, Deans and Heads of School and Services as well as countless other staff, students and external partners.

The event itself is well presented, with beautiful awards, table decorations (made by the children of the campus nursery, Bright Beginnings) and first-class vegan catering. With all of this effort going into the event, we want to ensure the photography properly captures the prestige and importance we place on it whilst also harnessing the talent we already have on campus in our student body.

To do this, we are looking for someone who can capture the evening through photography, including posed photos of award winners and natural shots of the evening itself. The material produced will be used as a keepsake for award winners as well as a wonderful reminder of the event on our website and social media communications.

To enter for the chance to photograph the event, and to win £100 worth of kit or a voucher of your choice, please send up to 6 photos of your own previous work at similar events to sustainability@leeds.ac.uk.

The deadline for all submissions is midnight 19th May. For any further questions please email c.m.fox@leeds.ac.uk.

E-Bikes – Available Now!

Commuting by bike? Thinking about it? Why not try an electric bike?

Mike Howroyd, from the Sustainability Services, faces a challenging commute from Holmfirth, which is 25 miles away from the University campus! He has explored all public transport options but the distance, cost and childcare duties made this unsuitable so he has spent the last 9 years commuting to the University by car.   

Last year Mike wanted to make a change to his usual habits as he explains: “three of my friends were diagnosed with cancer, which prompted me to look at my exercise habits and encouraged me to take better care of my health.” 25 miles is too far on a conventional bike and Mike discovered one of his colleagues was selling their electric bike, so he started thinking about leaving the car at home. “It was mostly a question of health: I wanted to get more exercise but didn’t want it eating into family time, so using my commute to be more active just made sense.” Having never commuted to work on a bike due to distance he wanted a realistic goal for himself, so committed to cycling in for 2 days a week.

 

Mike started riding in Staff Healthy Week 2018 “ It was hard work at first, but as I got fitter, I used  the electric assistance less and less.” Mike explains how the technology has improved in recent years and he notices a considerable difference from the older e-bikes he’s tried in the past “the electric assistance mimics the rider’s natural effort and pedalling motion, so it doesn’t feel that different from a conventional bike. It gives you just the right amount of help, especially for the last few miles.”

Mike was initially concerned about traffic and cycling provisions on the roads so went to his colleagues at the University Bike Hub, who helped him find a suitable route and kitted him out with lights and protective clothing. “My confidence quickly grew by cycling on the roads, I don’t take risks and I’m happy to get off and cross on foot when required.” Mike also visits the team of mechanics and volunteers down at the Hub who help him maintain his e-bike.

Although Mike cycles a little less during winter, he concludes: “The benefits of riding an electric bike are obvious: I am less dependent on traffic or fuel prices, I am getting some fresh air, so my well-being has improved, and most importantly, I am healthier than I was.”

 

Mike would encourage others to think about using an electric bike or even give it a go! Members of staff can hire e-bikes from the Bike Hub for just £20 a month to discover the benefits for themselves. The four e-bikes were purchased last year after the University received funding from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. This was part of the Gold Standard Bike Friendly Business accreditation, which the University received in 2017, for the initiatives and support it provides to help staff cycle to work.

For more information on e-bikes, please visit the Bike Hub (between Roger Stevens and EC Stoner, open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday between 12 noon and 16:00), or email transport@leeds.ac.uk.