Leeds City Council’s environment boss has put her backing behind the YEP’s Keep Leeds Tidy campaign.
Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, the authority’s executive board member for sustainable communities and the environment, who was instrumental in organising last week’s Clean Leeds conference in Pudsey, said awareness-raising drives were not about preaching to people, but simply about trying to build healthy and happy communities by fostering a sense of collective pride.
“It’s about having love for where you live,” Coun Yeadon said.
“And also sometimes, doing these things and getting involved is really good for you as a person as well.
“I know when I go out on a litter-pick or a community clean-up, by the end of the day I always feel like I’ve really achieved something.
“I’m quite lucky where I live (Kirkstall) because we do this kind of thing regularly. We notched it up a gear after the floods.”
Paying tribute to the many volunteer networks already trying to do their bit across Leeds, she said: “We have fantastic In Bloom groups, and other really brilliant people in this city, and it’s great to get more people involved.”
She said the council is aware of people’s frustration and anger at the irresponsible behaviour of the minority, and the “significant cost to our communities and to our neighbourhoods” of issues like fly-tipping and litter.
“It’s incredibly frustrating, particularly for people who do go out of their way to clean up their local community,” she said.
“The vast majority of people don’t do it. It’s a small group of people who don’t care, unfortunately.”
However she stressed that as a council, “we certainly don’t want to be in a position where we rely on volunteers”.
“This is about community cohesion, and having pride and love for the place that you live,” she added.
“This isn’t about the council trying to move its responsibility onto local communities.
“But a lot of people do raise littering and fly-tipping as issues. We need to make sure that we have got good service on the ground dealing with that. But we also need to make sure it doesn’t happen as well.”
Throughout the coming week, the YEP will be profiling some of the dedicated volunteers who are quietly contributing to improving and maintaining their communities, as well as calling on businesses to do their bit by reducing their packaging and waste.