Thousands of trees planted at Leeds Brownlee Triathlon Centre

5,000 trees planted at the Brownlee Triathlon Centre

University of Leeds and the Environment Agency plant 5000 trees at the Brownlee Triathlon Centre as part of natural measures to reduce flood risk.

The University of Leeds in partnership with the Environment Agency have planted more than 5000 trees at the University’s Brownlee Triathlon Centre to reduce flood risk to the Leeds area downstream.

Tree planting at Bodington Playing Fields, where the Brownlee Triathlon Centre is located, took place between February and March, and is part of a wider programme of natural flood management techniques being introduced into the Leeds catchment as part of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme’s flagship Natural Flood Management Project. The project is a great example of the University’s partnership approach to addressing the climate crisis through collaborative research and innovation.

The Brownlee Triathlon Centre and surrounding area was earmarked as the first urban pilot site last year as part of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme’s Natural Flood Management Project – looking at alternative and sustainable ways to manage flood risk and increase resilience to climate change. This will work alongside, and complement, traditional engineering being implemented through the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme, whilst also creating habitat for wildlife and helping regenerate rural and urban areas through tourism.

Thousands of trees planted at Leeds Brownlee Triathlon Centre

The scheme is also part of the University of Leeds Living Lab programme, with the site to be used for live research projects to test sustainable solutions; be an integral part of University teaching, and be a location for local schools and communities to visit.

Five sites have been set up to implement natural flood risk management techniques throughout the river catchment from the source of the River Aire, at Malham, through to Leeds City Centre, and are using natural measures such as tree planting and woodland creation, wetland scrapes and leaky barriers to reduce flood risk and benefit the environment.

James Wright, Head of Grounds and Gardens at the University of Leeds, said:

“We are delighted to have been a key partner in this scheme and assisted in the planting of 5000 trees as part of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme Natural Flood Management Project. This work has involved exceptional collaboration between academic and operational colleagues at the University of Leeds and the Environment Agency.

The site will provide significant research opportunities for University of Leeds students and academics for many years undertaking research in a range of specialisms. The site provides a great engagement opportunity for the local community to fully understand the range of NFM solutions installed in the Aire Valley catchment and research undertaken at the University.”

Fiona Sugden, The Environment Agency’s Leeds NFM Project Manager, said:

“It’s fantastic news that 5000 trees have now been planted at this site. The creation of a woodland area will have multiple benefits for people and wildlife – not just reducing flood risk downstream, but will benefit the environment by creating new woodland habitat, boosting biodiversity, help mitigate climate change, whilst also providing valuable opportunities for people to understand how well natural flood techniques perform.

The Triathlon Centre is a real asset for students and the local community, and we hope that visitors will also be able to learn about how effective natural flood management can be.”

Natural flood management is an important part of the Environment Agency’s strategy in protecting communities from flood risk and they work with natural processes and use natural flood management measures where they are technically feasible and provide good value.

It can be a cost-effective and sustainable way to manage flood risk alongside, and supporting, traditional engineering, while creating habitat for wildlife and helping regenerate rural and urban areas through tourism.

For more information about the University’s response to the climate crisis.

For out more about the University of Leeds Living Lab.

Bains wing and The great Wall

Local and Community History Month 2021

May is Local and Community History Month. To celebrate, we’ve collated a collection of old photographs of campus to help increase awareness of local history.

The Bains Wing/Great Hall

  • Construction started on The Great Hall in 1884 and took 10 years to complete.
  • Along with Clothworkers Buildings and Baines Wing, the building was designed by Alfred Waterhouse (famous for his work on the Natural History Museum in London).
  • The red brick style waterhouse used for the buildings helped coin the term ‘red brick university’.

An old photo of The Great Hall

Leeds University Business School (LUBS)

  • The Leeds University Business School (LUBS) acquired the 19th century Maurice Keyworth, previously owned by Leeds Grammar School
  • LUBS have since constructed further modern buildings around the Maurice Keyworth, such as the Clarendon Building and Charles Thackrah Building.

An old photo of the LUBS building which used to be a Grammar school

The Brotherton Library

  • Before the Brotherton Library was built, the undercroft of The Great Hall housed all of the University’s library collections
  • In 1927, Edward Brotherton donated £100,000 to the University to fund its first purpose-built library
  • Today, the Beaux-Arts building is Grade ll listed.

An old photo of the Brotherton Library

Find out more about the history of the University of Leeds.

Workspace at FBS

Facility boost for Biological Sciences

The Faculty of Biological Sciences teaching and research facilities have been boosted at Leeds following the completion of the refurbishment of the Garstang building, levels 4 and 9. Once the finishing touches have been completed, the floor will be open for business!

Investment and improvements in the Faculty of Biological Sciences have created a new flexible model for open laboratory and office environments, facilitating joint work, all of which will enhance research capacity, research experience and associated research outputs and income.

The improvement works have also reduced the University’s energy consumption and carbon footprint, through upgrades such as window replacement and improved energy efficiencies through heating, cooling and ventilation.

Commenting on the project, Sarah Bacsich, Estates Project Manager said:

“We hope the Faculty and staff enjoy and benefit from working in these new areas and must thank everyone who has been part of this project, the Faculty, estates colleagues, consultant and contractor teams who have all worked together and remained focused on the end result, despite the challenges the project met along the way.

“Looking ahead, the improvements and new facilities on Level 4 and 9 now provide an exciting new environment for the Faculty of Biological Sciences research staff and students – this new home will encourage new ways of working to champion groundbreaking research.”

Karen Birch, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Biological Sciences commented:

“We are all delighted that this phase of the development of the Faculty is complete. Seeing the finished design is really exciting and stimulates the imagination for pushing the boundaries of biomedical research. I am particularly thrilled that our excellent scientists, from postgraduates to Faculty academics will experience working in such a high quality, modern, airy and stimulating space. This new environment will enable enhanced collaborative research to underpin our vision of exploring biological challenges to accelerate real world impact and translation. What a great environment in which to work and develop the science leaders of the future!”

Refurbishment of Level 4 and Level 9 – Virtual tour video

You can get a feel for the new facilities through our virtual tour video:

 

Our external-facing article is also now live on the FBS website.

Find out more about the refurbishment of the Garstang Building.

The Garstang building, levels 4 and 9

Storm Jameson Exterior

Hail the women in research and education

This year we celebrated the women our buildings are named after.  

To mark the celebrations for this year’s International Women’s Day, here are some of the iconic pioneering women in scientific research and education that our campus buildings have been named after. We look forward to doing more of the same in future.

Marjorie Ziff

Marjorie Ziff MBE is an English philanthropist known for her assistance to the Leeds Jewish community. She is now a patron of the Leeds Jewish Welfare Board.

Ziff is an honorary graduate and a long-standing friend of the University of Leeds. 

As a result of her help within the community of Leeds, Ziff received an MBE in the 2011 New Year Honours.

Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Building Exterior

Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Building

Esther Simpson

University of Leeds graduate Esther Simpson was a dedicated, honourable lobbyist and organiser for the Academic Assistance Council. She helped to restructure the cultural and intellectual landscape of the Western World. 

Esther helped hundreds of refugees during World War II, placing them in different work positions all over the world. She received an OBE in 1956 as a result of her efforts.

Esther Simpson CGI

Artist’s impression of the Esther Simpson building

Irene Manton

Irene Manton was a British botanist and Professor of Botany at the University of Leeds, well-known for her study of ferns and algae. 

She was made the first female President of the Linnean Society of London. 

Manton established the biological use of electron microscopy. 

Irene Manton Exterior

Irene Manton building

Storm Jameson 

Margaret Ethel Storm Jameson was an English journalist and author, recognised for her novels and reviews. 

Jameson was President of the British International PEN Association , and actively helped refugee writers. 

She joined the National Union of Women Suffrage Societies, and in 1913, participated in the Women’s Pilgrimage to show the House of Commons how many women wanted the vote. 

Storm Jameson Exterior

Storm Jameson Court

Creating your home study or home working haven

Whilst many of us are currently working and studying off-campus, it is important to have a workspace or study area set up to create a happy and comfortable environment.

Penny Tiffney, University Interior Designer, talks more on creating calm, comfortable and inspiring working environments at home.

“I have had the opportunity to design many of our new learning and teaching workspaces on campus. In doing so some of the key factors me and my team aim to achieve are to create warm, inviting spaces, where our students can spend a good few hours comfortably working.

These spaces can come in different shapes and sizes, and whilst we know, for example, bright and colourful environments can inspire and motivate, there are many small ways in which we can create an environment to help us have productive days studying or working at home”.

Here are Penny’s top tips on how to do this:

Penny tiffney

1. Choose a designated working space where you feel happy.

A place of focus, where you can make the most of the natural light and sit comfortably at a table or desk. This space could be in your bedroom perhaps, a small area where you have a surface to work on or a desk, or it could be on a kitchen table which offers more space to spread out. Have a look around your home and experiment with different spaces.

2. Form good habits in your workspace.

Have a routine in your work schedule, where you know you have focus time and have time away from your work. During focus time you may wish to have a clear and tidy work area where you can fully concentrate. When having time away from your work be sure to get some fresh air and move your body to release any tension that has built up.

3. Make your space work for you.

Your space is personal to you, so decorate and ordain it with the things you love and inspire you, whether that be plants and candles to family photos and artwork.

Parkinson Building lights switching off

Christmas shutdown advice

We are committed to lowering our carbon emissions and this year’s extended Christmas shutdown period gives us an opportunity to cut energy waste.

We know that working patterns at the University have changed with many of us working from home for significant proportions of the time. Those of us that are visiting campus for essential reasons may be on site infrequently or less regularly than before. It is important that any equipment that is used is switched off (where possible) between campus visits, and particularly as we approach the Christmas break.

Despite the majority of the University estate being unused over the Christmas period, on average each year we still consume a total of 155,000 kWh of electricity and 143,000 kWh of heat on Christmas Day.

This is as much electricity as 40 average UK homes use in a full year!

This Christmas the shutdown period runs from Monday 21 December to Monday 4 January – with fewer staff on Campus, those of us that are present can have a real impact by:

  • switching off lights and closing windows
  • ensuring as much lab equipment as possible is turned off before you leave – drying cabinets and incubators etc.; and
  • checking IT equipment, including screens and projectors are turned off.
  • don’t forget less obvious energy wasters, too. Printers, hot water boilers and microwaves can all be unplugged during the Christmas break.

We understand some equipment is required to maintain safety or is being used for research purposes and therefore needs to remain on. However, switching off any equipment which can be turned off will help to reduce carbon emissions.

Thank you for your continued support, and we hope you have a great Christmas!

Parkinson Building

Creating a campus for everyone

A key aim for the University is to have a campus that is accessible for everyone.

The Facilities Directorate has been working hard to improve the accessibility of existing areas of campus, as well as to make equality of access a top consideration in the planning of new buildings.

In light of #DisabilityHistoryMonth we thought that this would be a great opportunity to showcase the accessibility works that have taken place across campus over the past years.

Discovery Way opens up campus

The completion of Nexus on the eastern edge of the University has opened up a new accessible route onto campus. The Discovery Way entrance is located on Woodhouse Lane, and provides a step-free route to the Orange Zone car park and E C Stoner Building, and from there to The Edge, Roger Stevens, Chancellor’s Court and beyond.

Nexus Discovery Way

Chemistry lift completed

The new lift in the School of Chemistry has now been completed, providing an accessible route to lecture theatres A and B.

Accessible water fountain fitted

A bespoke-designed water fountain has been installed on the Precinct. The fountain has two water spouts, one of which is positioned so that it is easily accessible for wheelchair users. Fill up your water bottle there and help with the University’s #2023PlasticFree Pledge!

Campus map updated with new defibrillators

The interactive campus map has been updated to show the locations of new defibrillators which have been fitted at Henry Price, Nexus and in Clothworker’s Court.

Further improvements to external steps on campus

There have been further improvements made to external steps across campus. Handrails have been fitted on the steps under the Roger Stevens Building leading to the Astbury Centre and on the steps leading down to the Edward Boyle Library from the Social Sciences Building. The steps have been lined with yellow paint to further improve campus accessibility.

Edward Boyle Steps

Ensuring digital accessibility for all

In response to new legislation setting a higher expectation for digital accessibility, the University has been taking steps to recognise where accessibility can be improved across our digital estate. An accessibility statement has been published on the University’s corporate website explaining which areas of the estate are not yet fully accessible, and how we plan to improve their accessibility.
The University has also engaged a third-party auditor to test our websites’ compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Following on from this the University Communications team is running awareness sessions for relevant staff across the University to explain what is needed to improve our accessibility further.

Makeover for University’s main entrance

A large project to improve the look and general accessibility around the main entrance to the University has now been completed. Previously the area where the Michael Sadler Building meets the side of the Parkinson Building had sloping feathered steps on one side, and uneven ground without a clear pathway on the other. These feathered steps have been removed and replaced with a green area featuring a newly planted semi-mature tree. On the other side, the seating area has been redone with more attractive furniture, improved landscaping and clear accessible routes to allow easy access from Woodhouse Lane onto University Road.

University of Leeds campus entrance

Parkinson Building now accessible for all

The Parkinson Building, our most iconic building on campus, is now more accessible than ever following the completion of work to upgrade the Parkinson steps and handrails and install a lift at the main entrance of the building. For the first time in its history, the University has made it possible for all visitors, students and staff to enter the Parkinson Building together using the main entrance.

Sabiha Patel, Head of Equality and Inclusion, commented: “I am grateful to the University and delighted with this development to Parkinson Building. Full access to our buildings is an essential first step to inclusion. Everyone should now be able to enter the building easily and take advantage of all the opportunities it affords.”

PC Charlotte Maude stood in front of Parkinson Building

Meet our new Police Higher Education Liaison officer, PC Charlotte Maude

PC Maude started as the new Police Higher Education Liaison Officer in September, taking over from PC Hurrell. Read below to learn a bit more about what attracted her to the role and what she hopes to achieve during her time at the University.

Tell us a bit about your background, how long have you worked for West Yorkshire Police?

I have been a police officer for 7 years, working in west Leeds. I have worked mostly as a patrol officer going to ‘blue light’ jobs, however I have also worked on a neighbourhood policing team. This involved investigating crimes which required a long term problem solving approach.

What was it that attracted you to the role of Police Higher Education Liaison Officer?

The University is a small town, which requires a policing presence. I was attracted to the role due to being able to work as part of a large team full of people with skills from all different walks of life. The student population in Leeds is huge and having the opportunity to be based on campus alongside both students and staff will hopefully give them a safe learning and working environment.

Could you explain a little bit more about your role, and how it helps staff and students at the University?

I am based in the Security Office and work alongside the campus security team. My role involves investigating crimes that have taken place on campus, alongside offering support, advice and guidance to students and staff. I have an open door policy so anyone can drop in when I am at work and I will happily assist where I can. Often people choose to speak to me anonymously for advice so they can make a fully informed decision prior to reporting something to the police.

As I am the liaison officer between the University of Leeds and West Yorkshire Police, I will often take statements and speak with staff and students about matters that have taken place off campus to assist my colleagues.

What are the main things you’re hoping to achieve in your time as Police Higher Education Liaison Officer?

I have come to the University at a very difficult time for everyone because of the covid-19 pandemic. My short term aim is to assist the University in keeping students safe during the pandemic. However, my main focus is to work closely with the security team to both detect and prevent crime to continue to make the University a safe place to both work and study.

What issues or problems would you recommend staff and students coming to talk to you about?

Anything you feel the police would be able to help with. If it turns out to be something that the police would not usually deal with, I will be able to assist you in finding the right department at the University to help you.

What advice would you have for students who have just moved to Leeds?

Leeds is a very big city with a lot to do. Unfortunately options are limited at the moment due to covid-19. However, hopefully, it won’t be forever and soon you’ll be able to take advantage of what Leeds has to offer.

Like other university cities, crimes do take place within student areas. However, there are things you can do to try and prevent yourself from becoming a victim of crime:

  • Lock your doors (even when you are at home)
  • Keep all valuables out of sight
  • Do not walk across dark areas, such as Woodhouse Moor, alone.
How can staff or students get in touch with you?

You can email me C.Maude1@leeds.ac.uk, call me on 07525243483 or come to speak to me at the Security Office:

Security Services
University of Leeds
175 Woodhouse Lane
Leeds
LS2 9JT

 

Astbury Building at the University of Leeds

Re-opening our buildings

We’ve been busy over the last few months preparing to re-open our buildings and make them covid-secure.

Returning buildings to operation is a complex process, involving numerous teams and is governed by health and safety legislation. Whilst this isn’t a linear process the information below outlines the various stages we need to go through to ensure a building is safe to occupy.

  • Technical compliance: Includes fires and smoke checks, electrical compliance, lifts, mechanical equipment tests. This usually takes around four weeks.
  • Water compliance: Includes water quality testing and water hygiene (legionella) testing. This usually takes between three and six weeks. Find out what happens if a water test fails.
  • Health and safety measures: Covid-19 compliance including installation of social distancing signage, hand sanitiser dispensers stations.
  • Building cleaning: Thorough clean and service of buildings.
  • Final sign-off: Following the completion of health and safety checks and a visit from the Trade Union each building is signed off by the Re-entry Steering Group.

The Estates and Facilities Services have been crucial at every stage of the process.

Len Wilson, Deputy Director of Estates (Capital): ‘Ensuring our buildings are safe and secure in line with Public Health Guidelines has been a significant team effort. Services from Health, Safety and Wellbeing, Estates and Facilities and colleagues from specific Schools and Faculties have all come together to ensure our buildings are safe for when our staff and students return. It has been a lengthy and complex process but we can reassure those staff and students returning to campus that our open buildings are safe.’

The majority of staff are still working from home with a lot of teaching being delivered online. Learn more about how the University is reopening buildings.

An international student checking in at Charles Morris with a mask on

Creating a safe and secure environment for our students

Estates and Facilities have been working with colleagues across the University to create a safe and secure environment ready to welcome our current and new students back.

Maintaining a safe environment

Cleaning Services are delivering their comprehensive Cleaning Plan as part of buildings reopening. The team are carrying out a thorough clean of campus facilities in line with the senior management plan of building opening schedules. Cleaning methods, equipment, cleaning and sanitising products are being investigated and reviewed where necessary to facilitate any changes required for the future, Public Health England guidelines and industry best practice are all being taken into consideration in decision making.

Re-designing for social distancing

A team of project managers from the Design Team are supporting the re-opening of buildings, from re-designing the internal layout to meet social distancing guidelines, to supporting Schools and Faculties in correctly interpreting the health and safety guidance when re-opening the buildings.

Ensure the safety of everyone on campus

Since the lockdown started Security Services have continued to provide a 24/7 presence on campus. To ensure the safety of those staff  and students  still working or in residences, they are deploying  more high visibility patrols around University property.

Continuing to develop campus

Whilst a high percentage of campus development projects remain on hold for the indefinite future, the team have been trying to mobilise projects based on contracts and urgency of completion.  This includes the Clothworkers refurbishment and plans to progress the completion of Levels 4 and 9 of the Faculty of Biological Sciences refurbishment. Several asbestos works to buildings across campus have been completed to all the plantrooms across campus.

All staff and contractors are strictly adhering to Public Health England/Government guidelines on Covid 19.

Communicating new safety measures

The FD Marketing and Communications team have worked with colleagues from across the University and an external agency ClearHead to communicate to students and staff the measures our services have put in place to ensure their safety. As well as how you can help us keep everyone safe.

Safety on campus

Relaxed, safe accommodation at the University of Leeds