Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Help Leeds get to the bottom of reducing waste – support real nappies

Parents and carers are being urged to help Leeds to get to the bottom of reducing waste - by actively supporting Real Nappy Week, which gets underway on Monday 27 April.

To help encourage new parents and carers to try real nappies as an environmentally friendly alternative to disposables, Leeds City Council is giving one lucky baby a ‘birth to potty’ real nappy kit.

In one year alone the average baby can fill 12 wheelie bins with disposable nappies. In Leeds there are over 8000 births per year that equates to over 5000 tonnes of nappy waste, most of which ends up in landfill.

To celebrate ‘Real Nappy Week’ (27 April – 3 May 2009) the council is holding a free prize draw to win a ‘birth to potty’ kit (including nappies, liners, laundry bag and nappy bucket) as well as continuing its incentive schemes, which offers new parents a free trial pack worth £30 or £30 cash back on their own purchases of real nappies if they spend over £50.

A growing number of Leeds parents and carers are using real nappies – partly thanks to the council’s incentives. Over the last 12 months, the council gave out 250 trial packs and issued cash back to 120 families who are already purchased real nappies. The council has been running the incentive schemes for the past three years.

Leeds City Council’s recycling experts will be meeting parents and parents-to-be across the city during the week, to demonstrate the benefits of real nappies, at the following locations:
Monday 27 April
10:30 - 12:30 Baby Direct shop at New Road Side, Horsforth
10:00 - 12:00 Blue, Pink Green shop in Bramley (Nappies Direct, 101 Swinnow Lane)
13:00 - 16:00 Well Being stall in Leeds Kirkgate Market

Tuesday 28 April
13:00 - 15:00 Mother Care at crown point retail park

Wed 29 April
9:00 - 10:30 Alwoodley Children's Centre
10:00 - 12:00 Mother Care at Crown Point retail park
10:00 - 12:00 Blue, pink, green shop in Bramley (101 Swinnow Lane)

Thursday 30 April
9:00 - 11:00 South Gipton Community Centre
13:00 - 15:00 Mother Care at Crown Point retail park
13:30 - 14:30 Ardsley & Tingley Children's Centre
15.30 - 19.30 Weetwood Ward Community engagement event, Iveson Primary School

Friday 1 May
10:30 - 12:30 Baby Direct shop in New Road Side, Horsforth

Parents who attend the events will be able to enter the free draw for a birth to potty pack of ‘Tots Bots All in One Fluffles nappies’ plus accessories. Entry postcards will be also be available from Children's Centres across Leeds, and the closing date is Friday 8th May.

Councillor Steve Smith, executive member responsible for environmental services said:
“As well as reducing the amount of household waste we send to landfill, using real nappies instead of disposables can save Leeds families hundreds of pounds.

“We hope our cash back and free trial incentives together with events held during Real Nappy Week will help raise awareness of modern washable nappies and allow parents to make the best decisions for their family, their purse and the environment.”

More information about the council’s real nappy incentive scheme can be found at www.leeds.gov.uk

ENDS
For media enquiries, please contact;
Laura Ferris, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335
Email: laura.ferris@leeds.gov.uk

Leeds City Region becomes a government pilot for devolved spending

Sent out on behalf of the Leeds City Region Partnership

The Leeds City Region Partnership has today become one of the Government’s pilot city regions, which will give it more control over spending and programmes for housing, regeneration, skills and innovation.

Announced by Chancellor Alistair Darling in his Budget speech today (Wed) the Leeds City Region joins the Manchester City Region as the only two city regions in the country to be granted pilot status.

The success of the Leeds City Region in securing agreement to advance its proposals will enable the city region partner local authorities to support activity to minimise the impact of the economic downturn and accelerate economic recovery.
The Partnership submitted its bid to become a pilot city region in late March, along with six other city regions across the country. The bid included proposals for greater powers and control over funding for areas such as housing, regeneration, innovation and skills and support to businesses adapting to changing economic circumstances.

The Leeds City Region Partnership, which brings together the eleven local authorities across the city region—including Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield and York, along with North Yorkshire County Council—will now work with Government and partners, including the eight Higher Education Institutions, the Homes and Communities Agency, Yorkshire Forward and representatives from the private sector, to take forward the detail of these proposals.

Councillor Andrew Carter, Chair of the Leeds City Region Leaders Board, said:
“The Leeds City Region Partnership has great potential to deliver economic prosperity in the city region and we are delighted with today’s decision. Pilot status means that through our plans we can support local businesses and economies more effectively and achieve economic recovery more quickly than would otherwise be possible.”

Notes to editors:
1. The forerunner initiative was announced by the Chancellor in November in the Pre-Budget Report. The initiative made clear the Government’s intention to extend a comprehensive range of powers and freedoms to two or more forerunner city regions. Interested city regions were invited to submit bids in a competitive process by 6 March.
2. The Leeds City Region Partnership bid for forerunner status can be downloaded from our website at the following page: http://www.leedscityregion.gov.uk/About_Us/Leeds_City_Region_Forerunner_Plan.aspx.
3. The city region local authorities worked with a wide range of partners to develop its bid, including the 8 Higher Education Institutions in the city region, Yorkshire Forward, the Homes and Communities Agency and representatives of the private sector. These partners are all critical to the success of the bid’s proposals.
4. Leeds City Region (LCR) Partnership Board brings together a group of 11 local authorities (Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield and York, along with North Yorkshire County Council) from across an area in which people travel to work and leisure to promote economic development and a better quality of life for our communities.
5. With close to 3m people, a resident workforce of 1.3m, over 100,000 businesses and an economy worth £46bn per year, the LCR is a major economy. The LCR is incredibly diverse and has many centres—geographically and culturally. This diversity is its greatest asset and by working together, the distinctiveness of all of cities, towns, villages and rural communities becomes all the more important.

Ends
For press/media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Press and Media Manager
Leeds City Council Press Office Tel: 0113 22 43602
email: sara.hyman@leeds.gov.uk

Work starts on £1.3million scheme to refurbish busy city centre street

The transformation of Leeds city centre is continuing as work starts on the £1.3m refurbishment of Lands Lane.

Lands Lane is the latest street in the city centre to be refurbished as part of the council’s ongoing improvement programme, aimed at revitalising the pedestrian area of the city centre. Work started this week and will be completed in the autumn.

One of the most popular retail streets in the city, Lands Lane will benefit from new York stone paving, new trees and high quality seating. The scheme includes the refurbishment of the lower part of Lands Lane outside WH Smith which represents an exciting opportunity to make the most of one of the city centre’s open spaces.

The area will be given a ‘plaza’ feel to make the space feel as large as possible and granite seating will provide shoppers with somewhere to sit, rest and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the area.

As well as Lands Lane, Leeds City Council recently announced plans to refurbish two further streets in the city centre: Bond Street and the pedestrianised part of Kirkgate.

In addition to the paving refurbishment works, plans are also in place for the development and installation of a new city centre on-street walking map and signage system to help visitors, residents and workers alike to find their way around the city centre on foot.

Councillor Andrew Carter, leader and executive member for the development of the city centre said:

“Having high quality public areas in the city centre is important to attract investors, employers, employees, residents, shoppers, visitors and tourists to the city, and encourage them to return.

“We wish to stimulate and move forward our public realm work in the city centre; retailers generate £1.2billion a year in the city centre and maintain thousands of jobs and it is crucial that we support them.

“Planting the trees is all part of our vision to green the centre and make it an attractive place, and the new maps will help people get around the centre on foot. In the past, signage has grown organically as the area has developed and this new signage will introduce a simpler, clearer, mapping system.”

ENDS
For media enquiries, please contact;
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3937
Email: sara.hymanr@leeds.gov.uk

‘Chancer’ and ‘opportunist’ has damages claim thrown out

A Leeds man who tried to claim damages after his car was involved in a minor collision with a city council van has had his case thrown out by a judge.

Taxi driver Javed Iqbal (DOB 6/6/1957) of 371 Burley Road in Leeds alleged he had suffered whiplash injuries when a Ford Escort being driven by a council worker rolled forward and nudged his Mondeo car as both vehicles queued at road junction in Bayswater Road.

Iqbal also claimed the accident had caused damage to the rear bumper of his car – but Leeds County Court heard that most of that alleged damage was actually old and was not a result of the contact the two vehicles had.

While acknowledging that the van had knocked into Mr Iqbal’s car, causing a scuff mark on the bumper, Leeds City Council welcomed the opportunity to defend the case in court in order to challenge the claim that Mr Iqbal had suffered an injury.

In his summing up, Judge James Spencer QC said he ‘did not believe’ that the jolt Mr Iqbal felt was enough to cause an injury.

Describing Mr Iqbal as a ‘chancer’ and ‘opportunist’ who simply saw the collision as a chance to ‘have a go for some damages’, Judge Spencer went on: ‘I think he [Mr Iqbal] has manufactured this claim’ which was ‘unreliable and incredible’.

The court also heard that this claim wasn’t the first lodged by Mr Iqbal and that he had done so at least twice before, in similar circumstances and while being represented by the same claims management firm which the judge concluded ‘may have encouraged him’.

Mr Iqbal was ordered to pay the council’s legal costs which are expected to total more than £16,000.

Cllr Richard Brett, joint leader and executive board member with responsibility for legal services said:

“We think very carefully before defending a case in court – but when we believe, like on this occasion, that a false claim is being made, we won’t hesitate to use the powers that are available to us.

“We won’t tolerate cases where it is obvious that someone is simply out to get some damages or make a fast buck.

Compensation payments come from the public purse – money from the tax payers of Leeds – which we won’t allow to line the pockets of people who chose to lie and make up claims against us.”


ENDS
For media enquiries please contact:
Andy Carter, Leeds City Council Press Office (0113) 395 0393
email: andy.carter@leeds.gov.uk

Fresh support for Leeds city centre businesses

Leeds City Council, Leeds Retail Association and City Centre Leeds have joined forces, knowledge, skills and experience to deliver a comprehensive business support pack to retailers and other leisure businesses in the city centre.

One of the items - a USB stick, arrives pre loaded with useful business information of particular relevance at this time including details of free advisory services in place from professional organisations such as Business Link, Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and Yorkshire Forward.

The business support pack, which is being hand delivered direct to city centre business managers, also contains an invitation from Laurie Barton-Wright, Chair of the Leeds Retail Association to attend an event specifically created for retailers in Leeds city centre along with a letter from the Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Carter highlighting other projects which are underway as part of the councils’ wider business support programme.

The delivery, being carried out by City Centre Leeds Liaison Officers is already well underway and positive feedback has already been received from business managers.

David Thomas who operates a variety of retail units in Leeds Train Station said ‘..thank you for my Leeds retail pack that I received this week. I think its fantastic that the Leeds Retail Association is so dedicated to helping out businesses like ourselves in this tough current climate.’

Councillor Andrew Carter, joint leader and executive board member with responsibility for economic development said:

'The Council is working with the Leeds Restaurant Association, the Leeds Hotels Association and the recently formed Leeds Retail Association to understand the issues businesses are facing, and to help deliver a number of initiatives.

‘We must not forget that the city centre still has much to offer workers, residents and visitors alike but there is no room for complacency. This is an important time to support businesses and continue to enhance and promote the city centre.’

Laurie Barton-Wright, who chairs the Leeds Retail Association is said to be looking forward to the first retailers event of 2009 which is being hosted by The Light on Wednesday 29th April. If you are a retail business manager in the city centre and wish to attend or receive more information you can do so by emailing citycentreretailer@leeds.gov.uk.

ENDS
For media enquiries please contact:
Andy Carter, Leeds City Council Press Office (0113) 395 0393
email: andy.carter@leeds.gov.uk

Notes to Editors

About Leeds Retail Association:

Leeds Retail Association is a newly formalised group with a vision of delivering ‘a passionate representative voice for retailers in Leeds with a focus on current issues and a forward thinking approach to the future’.

About City Centre Leeds:

City Centre Leeds is a public-private sector partnership whose purpose is to improve, promote and sustain the city centre. It is part of the wider Leeds Initiative, the city's strategic partnership.