Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Too close for comfort?

A poster campaign has been launched in Leeds to urge motorists to take a bit of extra time to look out for motorcyclists.

Many traffic collisions result from car drivers not seeing bikers. The posters aim to remind motorists about the importance of making time to check carefully and to understand that bikes are small and move faster than you might think.

Garages and MOT centres all over the city have agreed to support the campaign, and will be displaying posters on and around their premises.

The poster shows the side panels of a car after an impact with a motorbike and reinforces the current Department for Transport television advert ‘How close does a biker have to be…?’

Councillor Andrew Carter, leader and executive member for travel and transport said:
“As the weather improves, more and more bikes and scooters will be out on the roads. Powered two wheeler drivers are our most vulnerable road user group, and we need to do everything we can to ensure their safety.

“Paying full attention to what is going on around you when driving is vitally important, particularly when turning or changing lanes. Too many drivers are distracted by satellite navigation units and mobile phones. All our road user groups need to look out for each other, drive courteously and give one another space. We hope that this poster campaign will drive this message home, and help to reduce the number of rider fatalities and injuries on our roads.”

Notes for editors

Approximately 50% of all collisions involving powered two wheelers involve another vehicle.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578

72 stopped in operation to tackle illegal waste disposal

72 commercial vehicles were stopped and searched yesterday as part of a joint multi-agency operation to tackle illegal waste disposal.

The operation took place at the Boston Spa Weighbridge off the A1, and was carried out by Leeds City Council, together with the Police, Trading Standards and Customs.

Vehicles transporting controlled waste (household, commercial and industrial) were targetted to ensure that they were properly licensed to carry controlled waste and that they disposed of the waste in accordance with the law.

Producers of commercial waste or anyone transporting or carrying waste of any kind as part of their business, have a legal duty of care to ensure the waste is disposed of at a trade waste facility and not in a household waste site. There are a number of private trade waste disposal sites across Leeds and the rest of Yorkshire.

A person must hold a valid waste carriers license if they transport household, commercial or industrial waste on anyone else’s behalf and these licenses costs £149 from the Environment Agency and last for three years. Those carriers who are not licensed are committing offences and can be fined in a magistrates court up to £5000.

Similarly businesses who produce commercial waste of any kind, must ensure that the waste they produce is only taken to a licensed trade waste facility where they pay for the disposal and get a receipt. Alternatively they can get someone who is properly licensed to take their waste and dispose of it on their behalf. Every business must be able to produce on request, written proof of what happens with their waste over the previous last two years. Failure to have written proof is an offence and the maximum fine is £5000.

72 vehicles were stopped and drivers questioned throughout the day and a number of unlicensed waste carriers were identified. In addition, although they may have not been carrying waste at the time, officers identified and requested from over 40 local businesses, proof of where their waste was being disposed of. Common answers to these questions were they were taking their waste to a Leeds City Council Household waste site which is illegal, giving their waste to a man and a van or taking it home and putting it in their household waste bins.

Trade waste can be taken to Kirkstall Road, recycling centre on Evanston Avenue, LS5.

Councillor Steve Smith, executive board member responsible for waste disposal said:
“Businesses have a legal obligation to dispose of their waste correctly. Those who illegally try and dispose of it for free at household waste sites are just passing on their own costs to council taxpayers, and risk heavy fines.

“All of our household waste sites carry prominent signs informing people that they cannot be used for commercial waste.”

Other issues found on the day by the other agencies were uninsured drivers, vehicles using red (agricultural) diesel, unroadworthy vehicles and overloaded vehicles and trailers. Trading standards confiscated a number of items of clothing which appeared to be counterfeit.


For media enquiries please contact:
John Donegan, Leeds City Council Press Office (0113) 247 4450