Climate crisis: How can Leicester improve its environmental sustainability?

By Will Miller

A Green Party member and campaigner has expressed concern about Leicester’s environmental sustainability.

Originally a Labour Party supporter, Mags Lewis joined the Green Party in 2007 after being “disillusioned” with the Labour Party’s lack of climate action, and ran for mayor in the recent May elections, unsuccessfully trying to oust Sir Peter Soulsby from the post.  

Mrs Lewis said: “Climate change is going to unfairly impact on vulnerable groups and poorer countries, and the poor in this country.”  

Passionate: Mrs Lewis campaigning for the Leicester Green Party (via @MagsLewisGreens on Twitter)

After moving from London to Leicester in 2001, Mrs Lewis said that her passion and concern for the environment came after she had her twins in 2006.

“I just became a lot more like, oh my god, what are we doing, or what are we not doing about the environment and social justice?” she said.

Mrs Lewis is also an avid campaigner for more safe streets in Leicester schools.

The ‘Safe Streets Scheme’ aims to make sure every school has safe cycle paths and shut roads in front of schools during key times.

Mrs Lewis said: “When I bring this up to the Deputy Mayor, which I often do, and ask about walking buses and safe streets in front of schools, he goes ‘we’re doing those already Mags’, but when you actually look at it, safe streets cover four per cent of schools in Leicester and the walking buses cover about two or three per cent. It’s almost a gimmick.” 

She added: “You have places in London like Lewisham, which are more congested and have more social issues, and have a third of their schools operating the safe streets scheme.

“When you compare our three or four per cent with their 33per cent, you can see it needs to be massively expanded.”

Mrs Lewis admitted: “They (the city council) have some pockets of good work, for example things like ’20 is plenty’, putting in place 20 mph speed limits across 70 or 80 per cent of the city, but I think they should have introduced that a lot quicker, maybe 5 or 10 years ago and covered 100 per cent of all residential streets, rather than this ‘dribs and drabs’ approach.”

In reply, Leicester City Council said: “The Safe Streets and walking buses schemes operate areas in the vicinity of schools, which obviously means they will only cover a small percentage of the total number of streets in the city. That being said, we are working on plans for an additional 22 safe streets to come on board, but also focusing on developing our Park and Stride scheme which is used by 15 schools at present with plans for another 19 to join.”

Leicester’s Riverside Festival returns

By William Delahunty

The Leicester Riverside Festival is making its return this weekend(JUNE3-4) along the River Soar in Bede Park and Castle Gardens. 

The water themed festival will host live music on Saturday and Sunday. 

Inviting: a banner advertises the event near the clock tower

Boat trips and kayaking will be available during the event’s duration. 

This year the riverside festival is bringing a new activity: Heritage Hotspots. 

In this event, festival attendees will be taken along the River Soar and shown how the area has dramatically changed throughout history. 

As well as this, the usual food, bar and crafts pop-ups will also be at the festival. 

Passport struggles for foreign nationalities in Leicester is a growing issue going unnoticed 

By Hassan Geele

A university student in Leicester has shared his complaints of a lack of embassies within the city causing many issues in retrieving expired passports. 

Leicester is seen as one of the most multicultural and diverse cities in the United Kingdom, with a variety of nationalities living there, but foreign residents need to travel to either Birmingham or London when renewing their passports. 

Said Hassan lives in Leicester and studies at the University of Derby but earlier this year needed to renew his Dutch passport. 

Mr Hassan said he witnessed many people in passport application centres being sent back a long distance for the smallest errors, which was extremely costly for them. 

Mr Hassan claimed that the journey to London to the Dutch Embassy was a “gruelling long journey” for which he paid a costly amount in petrol. 

“There were so many people [at the embassy], even though I came on time I waited at least 2 hours for my appointment.” 

After being called for his appointment, he said the document checking was extremely long and was told he was missing documents even though he was not and eventually got his passport renewed. 

Mr Hassan believes that if Leicester had a local Dutch embassy, it would be less costly and easier for residents living in Leicester, adding: “Hopefully the council within Leicester will seek to sort this issue out.”

Twycross Zoo holds 60s-themed event in honour of its anniversary 

By Nisa Dari

Twycross Zoo is about to hit its 60th anniversary and is inviting families to enjoy ‘The Great Big Zoobilee’ until Sunday(JUNE4). 

The event will be 60s-themed and will run throughout May half term. Visitors will be welcomed by go-go and 60s swing dancers, peace, and love as part of the party on the plaza. 

Sixties-themed craft activities are being held in the zoo’s craft tent for people of any age to take part in. 

There will be a surprise celebration happening at 2pm every day at Wet’n’ Wild. Families will be able to discover more than 400 animals from around 80 different species. 

DMU invites students to cheer on peers at Doctoral College Showcase 

By Nisa Dari

DMU is holding a Doctoral College Showcase at Vijay Patel Building on Thursday(JUNE8) for people to take part in full day activities and to celebrate post-graduate students presenting their research. 

During this event, students will be sharing their research based on the theme of ‘Identity’, ‘Sustainability’, ‘Social Impact’ and ‘Digital Society’. 

This gives students the opportunity to learn more about the projects taking place in the research community and for them to encourage their peers. 

Students are welcome to attend as a guest if they are not presenting. The presentations will be available to watch online if you cannot join them on campus.