Pupils from across Leeds have challenged the council’s leaders to tackle litter and graffiti, promote local food growing and to encourage more sustainable travel. The call came when seventy pupils took over the council chamber to debate and agree green priorities for the city.
The priorities were suggested by green and eco-team representatives from 8 primary schools and one secondary school. Having presented their top ideas to make Leeds cleaner and greener, pupils voted to decide which were the most important to them.
Pupils got an insight into how major issues affecting the city were determined by using the council chamber’s voting system to pick their highest priorities.
They agreed that the top priorities for action are:
• reducing the amount of graffiti and litter in local areas
• encouraging more food growing in schools and the community
• encouraging more sustainable travel like walking, cycling, scootering and public transport.
Joel Smith, a pupil at Cranshaw school challenged Councillor Judith Blake, executive member for children’s services, to take up the issues with her fellow senior councillors.
Joel said: “On behalf of the children and young people here, at the first meeting of school green and eco-teams in Leeds, I call upon Councillor Blake to agree to act on our behalf and seek action on these three really important priorities and report back on progress to the next meeting of school green champions. Do you accept this challenge?”
Councillor Blake, executive member for children’s services, gladly took up the challenge saying: “The pupils have presented compelling cases for us to discuss, take action on and advocate on their behalf. s a child friendly city, it’s vital that we include children and young people in our decision making process. The work we’ve started with the green and eco-teams is an ideal way to ensure that young people are involved in and help shape what we do to tackle environmental issues that are obviously very close to their hearts.”
Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment, said: It’s so encouraging to see that so many of our young people can articulate clearly their concerns when it comes to the environment and their communities. Time and again young people tell us that litter is a priority for them – echoing what residents tell us too – and I can assure everyone that we’ll take action and report back on what we’re doing to help them make their priorities a reality alongside what they can do to support us.”
Throughout the morning, the pupils and their teachers also took the opportunity to share ideas and best practice on projects they’ve worked on to make their schools and communities more sustainable.
The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress were also on hand to present the pupils with a certificate having successfully completed their green team training.
To remind pupils to ‘think green’ they were also presented with wristbands provided by The Co-operative group. The schools that took part are: Crawshaw School, Drighlington Primary School, Kirkstall St Stephens C of E Primary School, Rawdon Littlemoor Primary School, Seven Hills Primary School, Southroyd Primary School, St Peter & Paul Catholic Primary School and Stanningley Primary School.
- Schools and anti-littering… (childfriendlyleeds.wordpress.com)