Leadenhall Market Launches Interactive Romantic Poetry Trail for Londoners

Leadenhall Market, which lies at the heart of the City of London, is spreading the love this Valentine’s Day with an interactiveromantic poetry walking experience for Londoners to enjoy as part of their daily exercise 

Paving the way with verse, the Market has created a special walking route through the City, via its romantic cobbled alleyways. Unused shops will be lit up red to symbolise passion, while QR codes displayed around the marketplace will give access to readings of classic love poetry. 

Beautifully recited by actors and members of the Leadenhall Market community, Charlie Carter and Frances Eva Lea, those strolling through the market will hear literary works by William Butler Yeats, Robert BurnsChristina Rossetti, Shakespeare and more* – chosen to highlight Leadenhall Market’s 700year history 

Launching in time for Valentine’s Day, and running throughout February and March, the #LeadenhallLove campaign is designed to remind Londoners that while the City remains in lockdown, during these difficult times, there is still – and always will be – love. The readings are intended to bring comfort and provide a mood boost for those out for their daily exercise.  

As an outdoor public space, Leadenhall Market is accessible 24 hours a day and so can still be enjoyed by Londoners who are complying with the Government’s national lockdown restrictions. While the 35 boutique shops, bars, restaurants and cafes in the market are currently closed, locals are still welcome to enjoy the iconic architecture of Leadenhall’s Victorian wrought iron and glass structure which creates a spacious, airy setting for local residents to walk through and explore, while being able to stay socially distanced.  

London remains under lockdown. Further details on the restrictions in place are available here.  

For those unable to visit the market at this time, a special video featuring actor Charlie Carter who is also part of Leadenhall Market tenant The London City Shoe Shine Co reciting A Birthday by Christina Rossetti has been created. 

Valentine’s Day at Leadenhall Market #LeadenhallLove from Leadenhall Market on Vimeo.

Established in 1991, London City Shoe Shine Co has been in Leadenhall Market ever since, shining the shoes of the City workforce for 30 years.  The stall is run by a group of actors who have worked on major TV dramas, West End shows and musicals for companies such as the RSC, The English Theatre Frankfurt and The Old Vic.  

For more information about the Market, visit: https://www.leadenhallmarket.co.uk/ 

Young Brits Shift to Thrift

From designer fashion rentals to clothes-swapping circles, sharing clothes shifted up a gear in 2020 with clothes swapping set to be one of the big fashion trends of 2021, driven by fashion and eco conscious Gen Z and Millennials.

This predicted shift to thrift has been accelerated by the pandemic amongst younger digitally switched-on consumers aged 16-30. According to a new survey carried out by Censuswide* on behalf of the North London Waste Authority (NLWA):

  • 1 in 2 Millennials (25-30) and Gen Z (16-24) bought second-hand, swapped or borrowed more in 2020 than 2019
  • 1 in 5 Gen Z belong to a virtual swap group
  • A third of Gen Z have been re-wearing clothes more and over a quarter of all respondents (26%) intend to do this more

Committed to helping people find ways to live more sustainably, NLWA encourages consumers to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle and recently ran a series of virtual clothes swapping events. This approach is backed up by the influencer marketing platform Wearisma, which found a 47% increase in engagements for #clothesswap content in Q2 2020 compared to Q2 2019 across all key social media platforms.

Green is not yet the new black and fast fashion is fighting back hard – just look at Black Friday £1 bikinis from big retail brands, but market research for 2020 both pre and post COVID-19 pandemic points to the fact that second-hand fashion is the fashion sector’s biggest growth area. In June, US consignment company thredUP’s 2020 Resale Report predicted that the value of the second-hand clothing market can be expected to trump that of fast fashion by the end of the decade, and 20% of UK citizens say the pandemic has changed their approach to fashion.

Chair of NLWA Cllr Clyde Loakes said: We ran our first clothes-swapping events in north London in 2013 and we’ve seen appetite for them grow and grow. Attendance at the first events was 338 people, but last year’s events saw over a thousand people coming through the door.

“It is encouraging that young people are realising they need to be more sustainable, but we cannot afford to lose momentum on tackling the climate emergency. Clothes swapping is invaluable. It’s inclusive, free, and is definitely a step in the right direction. We need to wake up to the fact that endless consumption is taking its toll on our planet.”

Interestingly only 13% of those polled said they wouldn’t wear clothes someone else has worn before, (11% of Gen Z), which means 87% are happy to do so. This is good news for sustainability. After all, the most sustainable fashion we own is in our wardrobes.

Commenting on the shifting sector and the survey findings, Fashion Psychologist Shakaila Forbes-Bell said: With the economic fallout of COVID-19, the climate crisis and the growing numbers of Gen Z coming of age, the continued growth of thrifting seems assured.

NLWA Top Tips on Reducing Textile Waste:

  • Reuse – Find your closest charity shop or clothing bank where you are in north London with the Charity Retail Association’s search tool. Join swapping events or swap with friends and family.
  • Removing stains – Taking care of clothes helps them stay in good condition and last longer. Search online for tips on getting rid of all kinds of stains.
  • Repairing and altering clothes – Repairing or altering clothes can bring them back to life and save money. Check out NLWA’s guides on how to adjust a seamrepair an edgesew on a buttonor repair a hole. If you don’t feel confident to alter a garment, or if it looks complicated, there are lots of local professional alteration services available.
  • Textile recycling – When clothes and other textiles cannot be repaired, they can be reused or recycled. It’s always best to try to repurpose these in the first instance, such as using them as dust cloths. Where reuse is just not an option, textiles can be taken to your nearest reuse and recycling centreor visit Recycle Now to find the nearest bank.
  • Buy sustainably – All of this doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself every now and again, but there are more sustainable options around, and they might save you money too. Try browsing your local charity shop or vintage clothes shops for some bargains, or even sites like EbayGumtreeor Freecycle for good value or freebies. Or, for special occasions you can find local hiring companies on Love Your Clothes.

More info: https://www.nlwa.gov.uk/reducereuserecycle/reduceandreuse/clothing

overfishing UK

6 out of 10 UK fish are being overfished or are in a “critical” state

The UK fisheries audit released today by the largest international advocacy organisation dedicated solely to ocean conservation, Oceana, paints a disturbing picture of the state of UK fish stocks. Only 36% of the 104 audited stocks were known to be healthy in terms of stock size and only 38% sustainably exploited. Oceana calls on the UK government to stop overfishing and lead the way in sustainable fisheries by setting catch limits in line with science.

Of the top 10 most economically important fish stocks for the UK, 6 are overfished or their stock biomass is at a critical level: North Sea cod, North Sea herring, Southern North Sea crab, Eastern English Channel scallops, North East Atlantic blue whiting and North Sea whiting. Further, there is insufficient data to define reference points for North Sea anglerfish. Therefore, only 3 of the top 10 stocks upon which the UK fishing industry relies are both healthy and sustainably exploited: North East Atlantic mackerel, North Sea haddock and West of Scotland Nephrops. This is due to catch limits having been set at or below the recommended sustainable limits for preceding years, demonstrating the positive impact to be gained by following scientific advice.

It is shocking to find that 6 out of 10 of the UK’s most important fish stocks are overfished or in a critical situation. This report provides clear evidence that setting catch limits higher than those recommended by scientists is causing stocks of some of the UK’s best-loved fish, like cod, to rapidly decline. Those currently taking part in negotiating catch limits for 2021 must set them in line with scientific advice and not push for continued overfishing”, said Melissa Moore, Oceana’s head of UK policy.“There is an opportunity and a responsibility for the UK to lead the way in achieving sustainable fisheries. Ensuring catches of shared stocks are fully aligned with scientific advice must be an absolute priority”, added Moore.

Of particular concern is cod, an iconic species in the UK, which has been significantly overfished over past years, primarily as a result of political decisions. Unsustainable fishing pressure, higher than that scientifically advised, has led to a series of cod stock declines and collapses, to the extent that currently none of the UK cod stocks can be considered as healthy and sustainably exploited.

The audit provides an evidence-based snapshot of the status of UK fish stocks and sets a benchmark for the state of these fisheries following the UK’s departure from the EU. It also shines a light on the devastating impact of the politically-motivated setting of catch limits higher than recommended by scientists. This evidence is particularly relevant and should inform the EU-UK negotiations on 2021 catch limits (Total Allowable Catches, or TACs) for shared fish stocks which have started this week. Oceana is urging the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and all involved in the negotiations to follow the best available science when setting catch limits. Failing to do so will result in the fishing industry itself, as well as coastal communities and marine life, suffering in the long run.

Key facts from Oceana’s UK fisheries audit

  • Negotiations for North East Atlantic TACs cover over 50 commercial species distributed among 200 different stocks.
  • The majority of fish landed in the UK from the North East Atlantic in 2019 (618,000 t, valued at £979 million) came from UK waters (81% by live weight and 87% by value). The second most important waters for the UK fleet were those of the EU, accounting for an additional 15% of landings (8% by value).
  • Of the 104 stocks audited 35.6% were healthy in terms of stock size, whereas 20.2% were in a critical condition. Data limitations mean the status of the remaining 44.2% cannot be determined, leaving them at greater risk of unsuitable management decisions.
  • Of the 104 audited stocks 37.5% were sustainably exploited prior to the UK leaving the EU, while 28.8% were being overfished and the exploitation status of another 33.6% cannot be assessed against Maximum Sustainable Yield reference points to guide management decisions.
  • About 70-90% of the landings by volume of the ‘top ten’ fish stocks come from Scottish vessels.
  • Now that the UK has left the EU, DEFRA will lead TAC negotiations for fish stocks shared with third parties (e.g. the EU or Norway).
  • The new UK Fisheries Act is the main framework regulation for the devolved management of the UK’s fish and shellfish resources and fisheries.
  • The UK is a net importer of seafood and the majority of UK catch is sold overseas, notably to markets within the EU (>720,000 t imported and >450,000 t exported).

Background and context:

The UK´s decision to leave the EU and to regain the control of its waters has enormous consequences for the management of UK fisheries.

Within the last decade, the overfishing rate for fish populations in European Atlantic waters has dropped from roughly 66% to 38% due to the strong EU fisheries regulatory framework (including the Common Fisheries Policy). It is essential that this trend continues and accelerates so that overfishing finally becomes a thing of the past and so that marine ecosystems are given the chance to rebound and build resilience to large-scale threats such as climate change.

Oceana’s UK fisheries audit collates and presents the range of biological and socio-economic evidence that should underpin management decisions, like the setting of TACs or the proposal of fisheries management plans.

Oceana advocates for TAC limits in line with scientific advice and set at or below Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) fishing rates – a scientifically determined number for the maximum fish catch that will allow fish populations to recover and reproduce.

To achieve sustainable fisheries and healthy marine ecosystems, it is vital that the UK government, in its bid to become a world leader in fisheries management, uphold the vision of ‘clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse seas’ set out in the UK’s Marine Strategy.

guide dogs

The surprising science behind guide dog puppies

Caitlin was partnered with her guide dog Honey last year. She says the retriever-black labrador cross has given her more confidence, independence and allowed her to socialise more often.

But where do guide dog puppies in the UK come from?

The BBC followed Caitlin as she went to the Guide Dog National Breeding Centre, thought to be the largest assistance dog breeding programme in the world, to find out more.

102 million disposable facemasks thrown away in the UK each week would cover Wembley pitch 232 times over

A new campaign to encourage the nation to switch to reusable facemasks has been launched today, as research for North London Waste Authority (NLWA)* reveals that 102 million single-use facemasks** are being disposed of each week in the UK. These masks end up being thrown away or littered, creating a huge new plastic pollution problem.

The poll also found that nearly one in five people (18%) think that disposable masks should go in the recycling bin, which is resulting in increased contamination issues at recycling facilities.

Facemask littering has also become a common sight during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 45% of those surveyed feeling angry when they see masks littered on the ground or in waterways. And many go uncollected, with 15% saying they sometimes would pick up other people’s litter but are not doing so during the pandemic in case of contamination. With 70% of those who wear disposable facemasks not realising that they are a single-use plastic, NLWA is today launching a campaign to encourage people across the UK to switch to reusables – and to help those who can least afford them in north London access a free reusable mask.

Chair of North London Waste Authority, Cllr Clyde Loakes, said: 

“The progress we’ve all made in reducing our reliance on single-use plastics is at risk of being undone during the pandemic, and disposable facemasks are a major culprit. They are not made of paper, they are not recyclable and whether they are binned or littered they will damage the environment. Today we are urging people to keep doing their bit to help tackle the climate emergency by switching to reusable masks, which offer just as much protection as disposables.”

“Steve Oulds, National Commercial Manager at Biffa Waste Services Ltd, a Materials Recovery Facility, said:

“Contamination is one of the biggest challenges we face, and we are now seeing many disposable facemasks coming through our facility every day. Where facemasks are found in the load, it can result in the entire load being rejected and losing otherwise perfectly good recyclables. Masks that make it into the facility have to be pulled off conveyor belts by hand, which puts the health of our operatives at risk. We are also dealing with more tissues and wipes than normal – and even get Covid-19 test kits. None of these items are recyclable and they should go in the general waste bin.”

It’s not just facemasks that are fuelling the single-use plastic problem. 16% of respondents say their use of other single-use plastics has gone up during the pandemic. Delivery packaging was the top item to have increased in use (15%), followed by takeaway packaging (12%) and supermarket food packaging (12%).

When asked about plastic in the context of Covid-19, more than one in five (21%) say they are concerned about plastic pollution but right now health is more important so they are happy to use more single-use plastic for now. 16% think it’s safer to buy food such as fruit/veg in plastic packaging than loose as it’s protected and 28% say they are concerned about plastic pollution and trying to use less single-use plastic but it’s harder to cut down during the pandemic.

Dr Jennifer Cole of Royal Holloway University of London and Northern European Hub Coordinator of the Planetary Health Alliance said:

“It’s vital that we don’t let the pandemic push back very real gains we have made in reducing single use plastics. If you can’t find a coffee shop that will refill your reusable cup, take a flask instead. Buy from a stall that wraps your roll in cardboard rather than polystyrene, wash loose vegetables rather than expecting them to be wrapped in plastic, and start to see face coverings as a fashion accessory – choose three or four cloths ones that can be washed with your laundry and coordinate with your outfits. There is no excuse for slipping back into using throwaway cups or relying on throwaway masks when reusable alternatives are available”.

NLWA is working with not-for-profit social enterprise Fashion Enter to create 1,400 reusable facemasks to be distributed in the run up to Christmas via food banks and other support services across north London***. To find out more about the facemask project and learn how to make your own reusable mask, visit nlwa.gov.uk/reusable-facemasks.

Barley shortlisted for two edie Awards

Hot on the heels of our Better Society Awards win last week, we are thrilled to be shortlisted for two edie Sustainability Leaders Awards in the Consumer Engagement/Marketing Campaign of the Year category.

The first Awards of the 2021 season, edie Awards entrants were asked to demonstrate how they adapted their work in light of restrictions imposed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The two campaigns shortlisted are:

Hubbub –  Community Fridge Network

Food waste is a huge issue in the UK, with £13bn of edible food thrown away in homes annually and a further £3bn wasted by the hospitality and food service sector. Barley supported the launch of Hubbub’s 100th community fridge at Dumfries House, opened by HRH Prince Charles. Unable to invite a full press pack to the event due to restrictions, we got around this by targeting and securing a high visibility feature article in The Sunday Telegraph and securing PA to film the event and syndicate the footage.

The campaign grabbed the attention of local food retailers and food service businesses to donate surplus food and raise the fridge’s visibility among vulnerable community members. We achieved 190 coverage items, and the network is now redistributing an average of 975 tonnes of food surplus per year in the UK, equal to approximately 1.9 million meals.

North London Waste Authority (NLWA) & OLGA –  Swish and Style

In the UK, more than 206.456 tonnes of textile waste is produced each year, and only 25% of it is reused or recycled. NLWA’s Swish and Style campaign, supported by OLGA and Barley, aimed to raise awareness of the environmental impact of fast fashion and encourage north Londoners to swap, restyle, shop second-hand, or otherwise reuse/recycle their clothing.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic meant that the final two events were cancelled. However, while our overall target for Swish and Style clothes swap events was to divert 1.2 tonnes of textiles from waste, across 14 events, we more than doubled this, diverting 2.5 tonnes of textile waste across 12 events. We achieved 36 coverage items with OTS/H of just under 59m, exceeding all media targets.

NLWA has also since partnered with eco-fashion campaign #LoveNotLandfill, and clothes swap app, Nuw to launch Stop & Swap; a series of nine online clothes swaps and Instagram Live talks designed to divert further tonnage of waste from landfill or incineration.

The full shortlist for the edie Sustainability Leaders Awards 2021 can be found here: https://www.edie.net/news/7/Sustainability-leaders-awards-2021-finalists-shortlist-revealed–/

We’re excited to hear the results at the virtual awards ceremony on 3rd February 2021!

The Scar Free Foundation launches world’s first research programme to identify scarring gene

A world-leading £1.5 million research programme that aims to achieve scar free healing within a generation has been launched today, 26th November, by The Scar Free Foundation, the only medical research charity which focuses solely on scarring. The five-year research study led by the University of Bristol will identify the gene(s) that causes scarring and inform future treatments.

Scarring affects over 20 million people in the UK*and The Scar Free Foundation Programme of Wound Healing Research at the University of Bristol will be the first study of its kind in the world – combining large scale population health data with model organism studies to analyse the role that genes play in wound repair and scar formation.

Led by Paul Martin, Professor of Cell Biology, Nic Timpson, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology, and Dr Beck Richardson, Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Bristol; the research team will identify genetic differences and investigate the genetic make-up of scarring by drawing on DNA data from large groups of people including: people with BCG vaccination scarring, children with cleft lip surgery, women with Caesarean section scarring and patients with internal lung scarring. This data will be combined with scientific studies focusing on the translucent zebrafish, using live imaging and genetic analysis to model wound healing and scar formation.

Professor Paul Martin said: 

“The Scar Free Foundation’s investment with the University of Bristol gives us a unique opportunity to undertake world class research into the genetics of scarring. The programme will enable us to marry up the fantastic population health cohort approaches that Bristol does so well, with our own wet lab experimental and cell biology studies in order to break new ground in scarring research.”

Dr Beck Richardson said:

“Being a part of this exciting project will allow us to study how certain genes influence wound repair and the severity of subsequent scarring. Live imaging studies in translucent zebrafish will allow us to see how changes to these genes affects certain cells involved in scarring and gives us an experimental window through which to watch scars being formed and to identify ways to stop this.”

Dr Sophie Dix, an Ambassador spokesperson for the Foundation, said 

“As a mother to a burns survivor, I am delighted to see significant funding being dedicated to research into scar prevention. We live in a world obsessed by perfection and body image, yet the cosmetic aspects, and the fact that my daughter will soon be a teenager, are not my main concern. Scars don’t grow the same way that healthy skin does – this makes walking and running painful and Delilah’s hands don’t function in the same way. She has had to endure countless operations to try to gain normal function. The work The Scar Free Foundation is funding is pioneering and has the potential to transform the lives of the many people affected by scarring – in the UK and worldwide.”

Brendan Eley, Chief Executive of the Scar Free Foundation, said:

“We’re delighted to be able to launch such a ground-breaking programme with the University of Bristol. This life changing research will help us identify which factors cause us all to scar differently, and develop innovative treatments to improve patients’ lives. Scarring can cause long term emotional and physical problems including pain, itching and loss of movement, requiring the need for frequent operations, skin grafts, cream application multiple times a day and daily physiotherapy. We want to find ways of making life easier in the future for the millions of people living with scarring in the UK.

“Like many charities, Covid-19 has impacted our research programmes over the last six months, with some studies having to be put on hold as clinicians and scientists returned to the front line. Although we need to increase our current funding to meet ongoing research needs, we’re lucky to have low overheads and a highly efficient team with a very clear aim –to achieve scar free healing within a generation.”

Disabled customers “helpless and not valued” during Covid-19

Pictured: Mike Adams OBE, chief executive of Purple and founder of Purple Tuesday.

New research reveals how the first national lockdown to halt the spread of COVID-19 has turned back the clock for disabled customers, who have been forced to rely on inaccessible websites and apps to purchase basic essentials and access goods and services.

As organisations brace themselves for a second nationwide lockdown, Purple is urging businesses to tap into new revenue opportunities by making simple changes to the customer journey on Purple Tuesday (3 November) to improve disabled people’s access to their goods and services.

The COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions have created new challenges for UK businesses and society but findings from Purple suggest some solutions to trading in lockdown have come at the expense of disabled people. As more organisations and customers have turned to online booking services during the pandemic, disabled customers often face barriers in using these services.

The latest research shows that the vast majority of websites do not comply with the latest accessibility requirements and one recent study showed that more than 98% of home pages had accessibility failures.* Specific challenges highlighted by disabled people for Purple Tuesday include:

  • Inaccessible online forms – which can be difficult to navigate, particularly for people living with sight loss where it’s not clear whether a field is drop-down menu or an open field that requires a typed response
  • Mobile accessibility – where consumers cannot complete purchases because the website or online form are not mobile-friendly
  • Product information – where insufficient information is provided as to whether a product or service can meet your needs as a disabled person
  • Product availability – some disabled people have told us they can’t access products that meet their needs online, including some rail websites which don’t have facilities to book priority seating online
  • Missed deliveries – which often force disabled people to collect parcels from postal depots that are inaccessible if you don’t drive

Purple has also reviewed a number of FTSE 100 company websites, which has highlighted missing accessible features which include a site map for the website, menus and dropdowns that are not accessible to keyboard users, and the ability to accept cookie policies.

The poll of disabled people also highlighted barriers facing disabled people offline, including the removal of disabled parking bays in order to make space for socially distanced queues.**

As a second nationwide lockdown looms, Purple is calling on organisations to rethink their current strategies towards disabled customers for Purple Tuesday to help them take advantage of the £274 billion Purple Pound – the consumer spending power of disabled people and their families. The recent Click-Away Pound report shows that inaccessible websites are costing UK businesses up to £17.1 billion from disabled online shoppers last year, so improved accessibility should form a central part of business recovery plans.***

Mike Adams OBE, Founder and Creator of Purple Tuesday, said:

National and regional lockdowns have shone a very bright light on the approach of organisations to their disabled customers. At one end of the spectrum there is a sense of bunkering down, neglect and grouping all disabled customers as vulnerable, making them feel helpless and not valued.  Other businesses have seen their proactive approach as a symbol of their brand, a socially aware organisation that is connecting or reconnecting with their customers.

“With 22% of the population being disabled, meeting their customer needs is a huge economic and social opportunity for businesses. Purple Tuesday this year is about making do and mend and getting organisations to adopt, adapt and implement practice that has previously worked for others across all sectors and of all sizes to support the economic recovery.”

More than 3,500 organisations have used Purple Tuesday to make practical commitments to improve the disabled customer experience. Activities include the adoption of the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard Scheme, using ‘not every disability is visible’ signage, workforce training and encouraging staff to learn hello and goodbye in British Sign Language.

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Justin Tomlinson said:

“In the month that we mark the 25-year anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act, Purple Tuesday is a timely reminder for businesses to put inclusivity at the heart of everything they do.

“We know this has been a challenging time for our high streets and businesses – the government has rightly stepped up to support those most in need. It’s more important than ever to unlock the spending power of disabled people and I would urge businesses to do just that and reap the rewards.”

Sainsbury’s and Landsec are among this year’s participants who have made new commitments to improve the customer experience for disabled people. Sainsbury’s recently launched their EnAble network, which supports colleagues with disabilities and health conditions, and an in-store and online disabled customer journey audit is underway.

Tim Fallowfield OBE and Board Sponsor for Disability, Carers and Age at Sainsbury’s, said:

“I am proud that we are the official partner of Purple Tuesday 2020. At Sainsbury’s, we have supported Purple Tuesday for the past two years and accessibility to services and products has never been more important for customers than it is now. I would encourage other businesses to get involved in this conversation and think about how they can become more accessible.”

Landsec, one of the UK’s largest commercial property development and investment company, has extended its staff disability training to service partners this year and is once again promoting Purple Tuesday on its landmark Piccadilly Lights.

Jamie Taylor, Head of Property Operations, Landsec, said:

“Creating inclusive and welcoming spaces for all is extremely important to Landsec. All our teams across our retail and commercial office properties have received training, which we are extending to our service partners this year to improve the customer experience for disabled people. We’re very pleased to be supporting Purple again this year and are delighted to have been able to showcase the launch of the campaign on Piccadilly Lights”.

The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme has proved to be even more important this year, providing important visual indicators so that people around them can recognise that they have a disability and need space to maintain social distancing.

Paul White, CEO of The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme, said:

“We are absolutely delighted that a number of businesses are using Purple Tuesday to implement the Sunflower scheme as a tangible commitment to improve the experience for the disabled person.  This is more important than ever during the pandemic where customers are more anxious about visiting a facility.  By these businesses recognising the Sunflower and that the wearers disability is hidden, they are making the invisible, visible.”

Kathryn Knowles, Managing Director of Cura, said:

“In our company our entire mission is to help people with medical conditions to get insurance. Helping people is at the core of everything that we do. Purple Tuesday hits home for us that this isn’t yet the norm, for many organisations. It makes us realise how important it is to get the message out to other organisations that being accessible is the right thing to do and it doesn’t have to be big expensive changes to do it.”

Disclosure of hidden referral fees should be made mandatory

Customers must be told about third party referral fees when buying or selling a home. This is one of a number of changes proposed by the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team to improve transparency in property sales and ensure consumers feel confident in the services they receive.

The proposed changes follow a review into the practice of referral fees and their impact on buyers and sellers in the UK property market carried out by National Trading Standards at the request of the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). Under the changes estate agents who continue to flout the legal requirements concerning referral fees could be banned from the industry.

Referrals are commonplace in the estate agency industry. In a recent survey of TPO (The Property Ombudsman) members, almost 60% of members had referred customers to external companies*. More than 80% of those members admitted receiving a fee for the referral*.

The review by National Trading Standards noted that the practice of referring customers to a preferred service provider in exchange for a fee is regularly concealed. Many customers remain unaware of the existence of referral fees when buying or selling a home. In some situations, customers may be pressurised to use a referred provider despite the fact it does not meet the needs of the customer or provide best value. As part of the proposed changes around referral fee disclosure, customers should be advised to shop around to find a third-party provider who offers the best value and service.

The recommendations include:

· Proposals for government to make transparency of referral fees mandatory and require a warning to be given to customers that they should consider shopping around
· A public awareness programme to warn consumers about hidden referral fees
· Further industry guidance, and work with the professional bodies and redress schemes to encourage compliance in the property sector.

James Munro, Senior Manager, National Trading Standards Estate & Letting Agency Team, said:

“We recognise that referral fees have a place in business if used ethically and transparently and with no pressure to use the referred service. It is important that customers are fully aware of the basis and value of a referral or recommendation so they are able to take an informed transactional decision. Mandatory disclosure of referral fees would ensure there is full transparency around this practice, helping to build consumer confidence in the estate agency industry and demonstrating the duty of care agents should have to both parties in a property sale.”

Minister for Housing Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP said:

“This government is committed to making it easier, cheaper and clearer for people to own their own home, including by making the buying and selling process more transparent.

“It is unacceptable that unscrupulous practices are still taking place where consumers are not being made aware of referral fees when buying or selling a property.”

“I welcome the National Trading Standards’ work to raise consumer awareness of referral fees and will carefully consider the recommendations of their report. I have asked National Trading Standards to continue to monitor the situation to help inform if further steps need to be taken.”

To deliver the recommendations and to support estate agents to disclose referral fees, National Trading Standards is developing further industry guidance and will work with professional bodies and redress schemes to encourage compliance in the property sector. The public awareness campaign will highlight the issues and inform consumers, who will also be encouraged to report experiences of non-disclosure to their local Trading Standards Service:

In England & Wales via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline by calling 0808 223 1133 or online via https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/

In Scotland via Advice Scotland on 0808 800 9060 or online at https://www.advice.scot/

In Northern Ireland via Consumerline on 0300 123 6262 or online at https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/services/contact-consumerline-make-complaint-or-ask-advice

A full copy of the report and recommendations can be found on The National Trading Standards website here.

#LoveYourForest campaign branches out to on-the-go recycling

Brightly coloured on-the-go recycling bins for cans and plastic bottles have been installed in local towns of the Forest of Dean today, as part of the #LoveYourForest initiative to tackle rubbish in the area.

Launched by environmental charity Hubbub, the new eye-catching bins have been installed in the town centres of Cinderford, Coleford, Lydney and Newent, and mark the next phase of the campaign, which is broadening activity beyond reducing litter, to increasing recycling as well.

#LoveYourForest is run in collaboration with local employer Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I, Forest of Dean District Council, Forestry England, Foresters’ Forest, and Forest of Dean & Wye Valley Tourism; and the new bins have been unveiled today by local MP Rt Hon Mark Harper.

Each year 250  tonnes  of rubbish is removed from the Forest of Dean, costing local taxpayers £450,000 per year to clean up.​ In 2016, Hubbub and local partners launched the #LoveYourForest  campaign to tackle the issue, trialling a number of interventions which in four years has seen more than 800 bags of litter collected in the area.

New research conducted amongst over 3,000 UK residents* reveals three quarters (75%) of people feel angry that people who throw litter have such disregard for their local environment. 48% said they had noticed an increase in littering/fly tipping since lockdown measures eased on 1st June.

Local artist Dorota Grabkowska with her creationTo mark the launch of the new bins, an installation by local artist Dorota Grabkowska highlighting how long rubbish takes to biodegrade, will be installed at Beechenhurst. Dorota designed the sculpture as part of a competition launched in February and has been busy bringing her winning design to life over lockdown. The sculpture will be touring the area over the next 6 months.

Join the campaign by following #LoveYourForest or find out more at www.hubbub.org.uk/love-your-forest

Rhiannon Ashley,  Project Co-ordinator at Hubbub, said: “While at-home recycling has improved over lockdown, litter levels have been rising across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic, and our research suggests that two thirds (66%) of people agree the state of their local environment matters to them more now than ever before as they’re now spending much more time closer to home.

“This demonstrates more than ever the need to move towards a circular economy, so we’re delighted to expand the #LoveYourForest initiative by offering local towns around the Forest of Dean new bins to increase recycling whilst out and about, keeping litter out of the forest and in the loop.”

Michelle Norman, Director of Sustainability at Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I, said: “This next phase of Love Your Forest combines our two great passions; recycling and the Forest of Dean, where we’ve been making drinks for almost a century.

“These recycling bins, along with the art installation are an important reminder that plastic bottles needn’t end up as litter and that together we really can make a difference to our environment and bottle-to-bottle recycling. We’re proud to support Love Your Forest and hope that people embrace the new bins so that this next time next year we’ll be reporting on increased recycling rates in the Forest of Dean.”

MP for the Forest of Dean, Rt Hon Mark Harper said: “It was a pleasure to preside over the “grand unveiling” of the new eye-catching recycling bins in the Forest of Dean. Litter is a blight on our communities and roadsides and spoils our enjoyment of our beautiful forest and countryside. It is also very expensive, costing local councils hundreds of millions of pounds a year to clear up.

I am proud of the involvement of Suntory Beverage & Food in the #LoveYourForest campaign. As one of the joint collaborators within the campaign, this fantastic local employer is putting in the effort to play its part in reducing the levels of litter here in the Forest of Dean.

I would strongly encourage people to make use of these new recycling bins as well as taking their litter home and disposing of it in the correct manner.”

Councillor Sid Phelps, Cabinet Member for the Environment at the Forest of Dean District Council said: “The Forest of Dean District Council is delighted to support Love Your Forest in this exciting next-step of the campaign. Our contractor’s street cleansing teams are out every morning to tidy up the town centres, which includes emptying the general waste litter bins. It’s tremendous that the some of the litter which would have normally made its way into these bins can now go on to be recycled. We want everyone to use the on-the-go recycling bins correctly which is why the new bins can be found next to a normal litter bin so any rubbish which isn’t either a metal drinks can or a plastic bottle can be disposed of properly too.”

Leoni Dawson, Community Ranger for Forestry England said: “Forests during lockdown and since restrictions have lifted provide so much for people’s health and wellbeing. We have seen and dealt with a lot of litter over this period and we are looking forward to the awareness the new phase of the campaign will raise.”

Sue Middleton,  Programme  Manager at Foresters’ Forest said:  “This new phase of the Love Your Forest campaign encourages everyone to really think about how we can recycle plastics and cans, helping keep litter out of our Forest.”

Network Rail introduces coffee cup recycling: Passengers encouraged to Sip, Save and Recycle to help make stations greener

Coffee loving commuters are being encouraged to Sip, Save and Recycle their cups in Britain’s biggest and busiest stations, as Network Rail rolls out the first of their new coffee cup recycling bins at King’s Cross, Leeds, London Bridge, Waterloo, Liverpool Street, Charing Cross and Cannon Street.

As passenger numbers slowly increase and with 60% of station retailers now open, those travelling by train or visiting the stations can make use of the bright orange bins to recycle any paper coffee cups purchased during their journey.

Recycled cups are turned into upcycled reusable cups and other products including tissue and packaging, reducing waste and encouraging a circular economy.

Partnering with environmental charity Hubbub and working closely with waste provider, Interserve, Network Rail will be installing specially designed bins at all managed stations – including Birmingham New Street, Bristol Temple Meads, Edinburgh Waverley, Manchester Piccadilly and 11 London stations – by the end of October.

The rollout comes as a new YouGov study commissioned by Network Rail reveals that consumers want to recycle cups but often do not know how:

  • 58 per cent use either a waste bin or general recycling bin to recycle cups despite these systems being unable to manage paper cups; almost a quarter (23 per cent) of those who use a general recycling bin did not realise that coffee or paper cups should be recycled in specific bins.
  • Only 3 in 10 adults (30 per cent) who purchase a cup of coffee while travelling reported that they use a bin specifically designed for recycling coffee cups once they have finished with it.
  • Of those who don’t tend to recycle paper cups, just over half (52 per cent) say it’s because there isn’t anywhere available for them to do so throughout their journey, while 21 per cent feel that public recycling facilities are inadequate.

The initiative follows Network Rail’s launch of their new sustainability strategy, which includes ambitions to make stations greener.

Jo Lewington, Chief Environment and Sustainability Officer at Network Rail, said: “We know that more of our passengers want to do their bit for the environment and recycling is an easy way for them to get involved. So, as we start to welcome passengers back in ever increasing numbers, we’re working harder than ever to ensure our stations are not only cleaner, but also greener.

“By installing accessible, easy-to-use cup recycling bins across our managed station network this year, we’re helping our passengers to reduce their waste with a simple message – “Sip, Save and Recycle”. We believe the initiative will go a long way to supporting the circular economy and making our stations more sustainable.”

Gavin Ellis, Director and Co-Founder of Hubbub, said: “We’re delighted to partner with Network Rail on the introduction of these new cup recycling points. Cups can be easily recycled but, because they have a plastic lining that stops hot drinks from leaking, they need to be collected separately from other recycling. There is now plenty of capacity to recycle cups in the UK; what is needed is more infrastructure to collect the cups in high footfall places, so train stations are the ideal location. Our support for this initiative was made possible with funding from the Starbucks 5p cup charge, which Hubbub uses to make it easier and simpler for the public to recycle the cups they use, as well as promoting the use of reusable cups.”

It’s time to put “recycling’s most wanted” where they belong

A playful new campaign will help West London residents recycle more and better as Kensington and Chelsea Council teams up with Kensington-based innocent drinks and environmental charity Hubbub this Recycle Week (21-27th September 2020).

As people spend more time at home, we’re generating more waste than ever before, including an average of 128 pieces of plastic per household per week. This creates a particular problem in densely populated boroughs, such as Kensington and Chelsea. Over the last 3 years, K&C has achieved an overall increase in its recycling rate of just under 3% (2.9%). Now standing at 28.6%, this is ahead of most other boroughs with similar housing composition, but there is still room to do even better.

Polling shows that 1 in 3 Londoners find recycling information difficult to understand, with less than half (45%) saying they’re confident about what can be recycled and more than half (51%) agreeing that clearer information would encourage them to recycle more.

From this week, residents of the borough will see messages on posters, recycling bags and leaflets, digital displays and recycling trucks asking them to help catch “recycling’s most wanted”. These include items such as drinks cans, yogurt pots and bathroom plastics that belong in the recycling, but sometimes manage to escape.

Recycling can easily be spoiled by food and drink, meaning that even if items are put in the right bin, they are too dirty to be recycled. Residents are being urged to “wash their bits” to reduce pressure on the collection crew who often have to make decisions on whether items are fit for recycling.

Vaughan MacIntosh, Chargehand/Loader for the Council’s waste collector SUEZ, said:

“It’s great that the new campaign will help people know what they can put in their recycling and what should go in the rubbish. We work hard to recycle as much as possible, from pulling-up and separating recycling and waste bags at the kerbside, to spotting and removing items that can’t be recycled during collection and loading. We remove as many items as we can, when it’s safe and practical to do so, but it’s challenging. Sometimes the contamination is hidden, or it is wet and dirty, and spoils the rest of the clean recycling. It would be a great help if people separate their recycling at home correctly.”

Cllr Cem Kemahli, Lead Member for Environment at Kensington and Chelsea Council said:

“I hope residents connect with this fun campaign and it makes recycling at home simpler. Our waste collectors and sorters have made heroic efforts during the pandemic to provide an essential service that we couldn’t manage without. We can all make their jobs easier by recycling the most wanted items.
“Getting recycling right contributes to our ambition for a cleaner and greener Kensington and Chelsea with less waste, better air quality and a carbon neutral borough by 2040.”

Louise Stevens, Head of Circular Economy at innocent drinks, said:

“We’re thrilled to be a part of this campaign, and we feel this could be a breakthrough when it comes to recycling rates. We got a few of our talented writers and designers on the case and we’re looking forward to supporting our neighbours in their recycling efforts.”

Gavin Ellis, Co-Founder and Director of Hubbub said:

“Lockdown completely transformed the way we live and work, including our recycling habits and we know from our research that 43% 5 of people are more concerned about plastic pollution than before Covid-19. At a hugely challenging time for local authorities, supporting households to recycle better is more important than ever before. We know that many people want to recycle correctly but that they’re confused about what to do with their waste and we hope this campaign will make it easier for the people of Kensington and Chelsea to do the right thing.”

To find out more about the campaign and recycling guidance visit www.rbkc.gov.uk/recycling