Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Agreement reached on proposals to improve the safety of taxi vehicles

An agreement has been reached today on Leeds City Council's proposals to change the minimum age for testing private hire and hackney carriage vehicles from eight years to six years.

At a meeting of the council's Licensing and Regulatory Panel today, it was agreed that once a vehicle reaches seven years of age it will be subject to an annual inspection to ensure it is safe and roadworthy.

The agreement was reached following a wide-ranging consultation with taxi drivers and unions.

Councillor Richard Brett, leader of Leeds City Council, said:

"We welcome a tightening up of the minimum age for testing - seven years is an improvement - and we will continue to monitor very carefully vehicles that are not properly maintained.

"We are allowed to test vehicles up to three times a year and we will continue to do that where complaints mean there is reason to investigate."


Notes to Editors:

Vehicles must be well maintained, mechanically sound, meet emissions standards, have good exterior body work and paint, meet high standards of interior cleanliness and comfort with accompanying evidence of service history.

For media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office(0113) 224 3602
Email sara.hyman@leeds.gov.uk

Bidder plans for housing regeneration go on display

Residents of Little London and Beeston Hill & Holbeck will soon be able to see, for the first time, the detailed proposals for the multi-million pound regeneration of their neighbourhoods.

At a series of consultation events throughout July local people will be able to give their views on the design, refurbishment and maintenance proposals to the companies - Regenter and sustainable communities for Leeds (sc4L) - who are bidding for the work with Leeds City Council to revitalise these areas.

The exhibitions will include the companies' designs for high-quality, new build council houses; proposals for external and internal improvement works to existing council properties and creating attractive green spaces. They will help people picture how their communities would be transformed, and the options to achieve this depending on which company is selected.

The companies have reached the final stage in a competitive process for a government-funded Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract for the building, refurbishment and environmental improvement project, which will include a maintenance service for 20 years.

Local feedback and opinions are very important and the council will check how bidders’ proposals have taken into account the views of all those that live, work or have an interest in the area as part of the selection process for a preferred bidder.

The bidder designs and proposals that will be showcased at these events have been guided and informed through many workshops and discussions with the council and an ongoing programme of community consultation. The council has also been working closely been with Community Advisory Groups established specifically to focus on this PFI housing project.

Councillor Les Carter, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for Neighbourhoods and Housing said:
“This is a really exciting stage of the project and the culmination of a lot of hard work. Through these exhibitions people will be able to better visualise the regeneration plans and how the widespread modernisation of council housing will have a positive impact not only for individuals and families but for the area as a whole. This is one of the final hurdles in a long process of selection, but with the help of local people we will achieve attractive, safer and vibrant neighbourhoods”.

Event – dates and venues

Beeston Hill & Holbeck

· Saturday 11 July, marquee at Holbeck Gala, Holbeck Moor, 11am – 5pm
· Wednesday 15 July, St Matthews Community Centre, St Matthews Street, Holbeck, 3pm-7pm.
· Thursday 23 July, Hillside, Beeston Road, 3pm – 7pm.
· Information will also be on display (unstaffed) at St Matthews Community Centre, Holbeck from Wednesday 15 July – Monday 20 July and Hillside, Beeston Road from Thursday 23 July – Wednesday 29 July.

Little London
· Saturday 18 July, marquee in housing office car park, Oatland drive, 10am – 3pm.
· Information will also be on display (unstaffed) in Little London Community Centre from Monday 20 July – Saturday 25 July.

Notes to Editors

The Regeneration of Little London and Beeston Hill & Holbeck

Leeds City Council is making a major contribution to the regeneration of Little London and Beeston Hill & Holbeck through a Private Finance Initiative (PFI). The council has been awarded PFI credits by the government and is now undertaking the procurement of a contractor for the works.

The PFI contract with the private sector will be for the refurbishment of council properties, construction of new council homes, some environmental improvements and maintenance of all elements over a 20 year period. The PFI regeneration project contributes to the wider regeneration plans for Little London and Beeston Hill & Holbeck.

The partnership arrangement

The regeneration of Little London and Beeston Hill & Holbeck is being led by Leeds City Council in partnership with the Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs) which are not-for-profit companies set up by the council to manage and improve council housing stock. West North West Homes Leeds is the ALMO for Little London and Aire Valley Homes Leeds is responsible for Beeston Hill & Holbeck.

Project Scope
Beeston Hill & Holbeck – Scope of works

· 275 new council homes
· 388 existing homes refurbished
· Conversion of a sheltered housing scheme into self contained flats
· Environmental improvements to the Meynells, Ninevahs & Gaitskells
· Repairs and maintenance service for a period of 20 years

Little London – scope of works
· 125 new council homes
· 853 existing homes refurbished
· Environmental improvements to Carltons, Servias, Oatlands and Lovells
· Improvements to play facilities and open space
· New shops
· A new housing office and new community centre
· Repairs and maintenance service for a period of 20 years

For media enquiries please contact:
Val Smith, Leeds City Council (0113) 247 8125
email: val.smith@leeds.gov.uk

Burning ambition of safety rangers

It’s safety first for kids from east and north east Leeds as a scheme that aims to get them all fired up about looking after themselves returns.

East North East Homes Leeds (ENEHL) will again this year be working in partnership with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service to help children from schools around east Leeds to qualify as Safety Rangers through the Schools Fire Safety Rangers schemes at Gipton and Moortown Fire Stations.

All Year Five pupils from 24 primary schools in east Leeds will attend these events, when they will come to the station for a fully interactive half-day session.

At the sessions they work their way around up to seven scenarios devised by various agencies: The West Yorkshire Police session teaches them about weapons awareness; British Transport Police talk about railway safety; Leeds City Council's Environmental Action Service discussed food safety; School Nurses discussed Water Safety; West Yorkshire Fire Service have a bedroom fire scenario; East North East Homes Leeds advise on criminal damage types and their effects on the local community. There were also other agencies involved including Road Safety and Emergency Planning

The scheme is one of the few in the country that is nationally accredited by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and Learning About Safety by Experiencing Risk (LASER)

Angelena Fixter, chair of the East North East Homes board, said:
“We’re delighted to be working in partnership with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service again this year so children can understand the dangers of fire while learning how to deal with and avoid these hazards. The innovative and exciting approach of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service to educate children in this area is very effective and we are pleased to be involved.”

Notes for editors
East North East Homes Leeds
is one of three Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMO) which manage and maintain council housing on behalf of Leeds City Council. It is wholly owned by the council, which retains ownership of housing stock and sets rents. East North East Homes Leeds covers the areas of Boston Spa, Burmantofts, Chapel Allerton, Chapeltown, Collingham, Gipton, Halton Moor, Harehills, Linton, Meanwood, Moor Allerton, Moortown, Seacroft, and Wetherby.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3937
Email: michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk

Green Leeds residents give air ambulance a lift

Caption: Councillor James Monaghan, executive board member responsible for recycling, welcoming the inclusion of the Leeds City Council crest on the Yorkshire Air Ambulance

Green Leeds residents who recycle old clothes at council-run recycling sites have raised over £136k to help fund the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Thanks to their efforts, the air ambulance will now display the Leeds crest just next to the pilot and passenger doors.

There are over 50 yellow Yorkshire Air Ambulance clothes recycling banks throughout Leeds. Textile banks raising money for Oxfam and the Salvation Army can also be found throughout the city.

Councillor James Monaghan, executive board member responsible for recycling said:
“I am really proud to see the Leeds crest on the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, and delighted that the recycling facilities we provide are helping to keep it flying.

“Recycling plays a vital part in the sustainable future of the planet, and can also support local good causes.”

Paul Gowland, Director of Fundraising for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance commented:
“The Yorkshire Air Ambulance would like to sincerely thank Leeds Council for hosting our textile banks on many of their sites throughout the city and we would also like to thank the people of Leeds for donated their unwanted textiles. Recycling is a fantastic sustainable income stream for the charity and to have generated over £136,000 through recycling in the Leeds area is a fantastic achievement. As it costs the charity £7200 each day to keep our life-saving helicopters in the air, the people of Leeds have helped us to keep flying for nearly 19 more days.”

Recycling banks for glass, paper, cardboard, cans and textiles can be found at 440 bring sites across Leeds including supermarkets and car parks. A wide range of materials, including textiles can be recycled at 11 household waste sites in Leeds.

It is estimated that more than one million tonnes of textiles are thrown away every year, with most of this coming from household sources. Textiles make up about 3% by weight of a household bin. Textiles made from both natural and man-made fibres can be recycled. Good quality items can be sold in charity shops. Anything left over is sorted and shredded. The reclaimed fibres can be used to make new garments or stuffing for furniture.

If textiles are not recycled then they will be buried in a landfill site. Textiles present particular problems in landfill as man-made fibres will not decompose, while woollen garments do decompose but produce methane, which contributes to global warming.

• The Yorkshire Aire Ambulance provides a life saving rapid response emergency service to 5 million people across 4 million acres of Yorkshire.
• YAA operates two helicopters, G-SASH and G-CEMS from Leeds Bradford International Airport and Sheffield Business Park
• The service is operational 365 days a year.
• Patients are transferred to the most relevant treatment centre, flying at speeds of up to 160mph.
• The Yorkshire Air Ambulance was the first air ambulance in the UK to have a dedicated air desk for dispatch of the helicopters
• To date (wc 29.06.09) 2619 patients have been carried to relevant treatment centres.
• YAA is an independent Charity needing to raise £7,200 per day to keep both of Yorkshire’s air ambulances in the air and maintained. This is equivalent to £2.65million each year.
• For further information regarding the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, please contact Abby McClymont, Marketing and Communications Coordinator on 01422 280122 or 07825 458 600 or email her at a.mcclymont@yaa.org.uk


For media enquiries please contact:
John Donegan, Leeds City Council Press Office (0113) 247 4450
email John.Donegan@leeds.gov.uk