STUDENTS from a north Durham sixth form college have been encouraging other young people to be more environmentally aware.

St Bede's Catholic School and Sixth Form College, in Lanchester, held its first Environment Week.

The idea was suggested by year 13 students Rebecca Walls and Sam Moncaster, who are on the school council and lead the Environment Working Group.

The youngsters have delivered assemblies to the school on how to get their anti-litter and recycling messages across.

The curriculum has been set up towards green issues all week and teachers have reported a reduction in the amount of rubbish on the site.

A non-uniform day on Tuesday raised £1,000, which is going to be used to finance future recycling initiatives at the school.

Rebecca, 17, of Leadgate, Consett, is studying physics, biology and chemistry at A-level.

She said: "It has gone really well. It seems to be working and people seem to be getting the message.

"It has taken a lot of work, but people are responding to it."

On Thursday, Independent Councillor Watts Stelling, of Derwentside District Council and Durham County Council, talked to year eight pupils about the importance of appreciating the seriousness of environmental issues, such as global warming.

Assistant headteacher Roger Purdy said Environment Week would now be a regular fixture on the school's calendar.

He said: "It has been a great success and it is a wonderful initiative that the school will be continuing next year.

"What has been brilliant about this project is that it has been done with no teacher involvement. It is amazing because it has all come from the student voice."