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

email: amanda.l.burns@leeds.gov.uk