Monday, 20 July 2009

All welcome to witness homecoming parade

The public are invited to a homecoming parade for the 1st Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment, which will take place in Leeds on Friday, 24 July.

The Battalion will step off on Millennium Square at 1100 hours with the Band of the King's Division leading the parade. The salute will be taken by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Judith Elliott, accompanied by the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire. This will be the first time that the Battalion has exercised its Freedom of the City since September 2007.

The Battalion returned to its home barracks, in Munster, Germany, a short time ago having recently served in Iraq and Kosovo. During the parade each guard of soldiers will be dressed in either temperate (Kosovo) or desert uniform (Iraq) to reflect the Battalion’s roles during the last nine months. Parading soldiers will also display their recently awarded operational medals, presented at a medal parade in Munster on 17 July 2009. The Battalion's Regimental Pets - Imphal and Quebec - will also be in attendance.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Judith Elliott said:
“I am delighted that the 1st Battalion is exercising its privilege to freely enter the city, especially in view of the vital roles it has played this year in Iraq and Kosovo.

“I am very much looking forward to the occasion and can promise the military personnel and their guests a warm welcome from the people of Leeds.”

The Lord-Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Doctor Ingrid Roscoe said:
“I regard it as a personal privilege to be present when the 1st Battalion exercises its right to parade through the city of Leeds, and hope to have the opportunity to meet as many of our heroes as possible after the parade. The courage of our soldiers fills us all with pride and gratitude, and this event is a fitting opportunity to celebrate their service to their country.”

Battalion Headquarters, C Company and Support Company returned from southern Iraq in early May, where they carried out various training and security roles. They were amongst the last combat troops to withdraw from southern Iraq (Operation TELIC 13).

A Company were the very last unit from 20 Armoured Brigade to return from Iraq (Operation TELIC). They were based in Baghdad, well away from the Battalion, and carried out important security roles as Protection Force (PROFOR) Company. They handed over to Alma Company of the 3rd Battalion in late May.

B Company were the first to go on operation in September 2008 and first to return to Munster in March 2009. They spent six months as the UK Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Task Force (ISR TF)) monitoring and policing the peace in Kosovo (Operation OCULUS).


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

New ‘green’ refuse truck drives forward climate change action plan

Caption: Councillor James Monaghan with the biomethane refuse collection truck which is being trialled by Leeds City Council.

A new refuse collection truck powered by ‘green’ fuel is helping the council cut its carbon footprint.

The bin truck runs on biomethane fuel, could reduce CO2 emissions by up to 60% compared with conventional diesel fuel.

It’s thought that Leeds City Council is the first UK local authority to trial the use of biomethane fuel for refuse collections vehicles.

The decision to trial the new vehicle comes as the council launches an action plan to improve the city’s environmental record and reduce its carbon footprint.

The blueprint ‘The Leeds Climate Change Strategy: Vision for Action’ sets out the action that the council, along with other organisations across the city, will take over the next two years to address the causes and impacts of climate change and the steps necessary to cut the city’s emissions by 80% between now and 2050.

In 2006, Leeds produced almost 6.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, a harmful ‘greenhouse gas’ that contributes to climate change. A key priority of the strategy is to reduce emissions from transport, specifically through the use of low carbon vehicles.

Councillor James Monaghan, Leeds City Council’s executive member for Environmental Services and chair of the Climate Change Partnership said:
"We’ve made a commitment to reduce carbon emissions from our activities by at least 3.4% over the next two years and we’re keen to see how we can reduce pollutants from transport, which accounts for around a third of total emissions. By testing low carbon vehicle technologies we hope to see what a positive difference we can make to improve our own environmental record and see how we can reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.”

Some of the biggest priorities identified in the strategy include greater support of home energy efficiency such as reduced price insulation; developing a more sustainable transport infrastructure and better public transport options; improved waste efficiency; development of renewable energy and community heating plans.

Cllr Monaghan, added:

“The climate change strategy is wide-reaching, setting out practical action that everyone in Leeds can take. This plan is the beginning of a long-term process but, with the support of residents and organisations across Leeds, we believe we can create a better environment for future generations.”

The Mercedes-Benz vehicle, which will be trialled and monitored for six months, claims to have low impact on the environment with benefits to air quality and quieter engine noise.

The council may trial a second low carbon refuse truck by Dennis Eagle, running on a mixture of bio-diesel and biomethane.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Laura Ferris, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335

Silver success for junior Leeds divers

Caption: Hannah Starling (left) and Saffron Sutcliffe (right) celebrate with their medals and coach Edwin Jongejans (centre)

Two young athletes from Leeds are starting to make a big splash in the world of diving after claiming silver medals in the recent European Junior Diving Championships.

Fourteen-year-old Hannah Starling and 15-year-old Saffron Sutcliffe teamed up superbly in the three metre synchronised category in the 14-18s section of the event held in Budapest to take a battling second place.

In a closely-fought contest the Leeds pair started very strongly and were second after the first two compulsory dives, just behind the Russian duo of Natalia Zamyatina and Diana Chaplieva. In the next two rounds the Russians moved comfortably clear but a four-way battle between the Great Britain pair, Ukraine, Sweden and Greece developed for second place with positions changing after each dive.

Going into the final round Starling and Sutcliffe were sitting in fifth place, but they saved their best for last performing their highest-scoring dive of the competition when they needed it most to move ahead of their rivals and clinch a superb silver medal.

The duo are part of Leeds City Council’s Diving Training Scheme based at The Aquatics Centre at the John Charles Centre for Sport, and are coached by Edwin Jongejans, who is himself a former world champion.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:

“Congratulations to Hannah and Saffron for their fantastic achievement of winning the silver medal. We are all very proud of their achievement, and look forward to them and the rest of the City of Leeds juniors enjoying even more success as their diving careers develop.

“At all levels the City of Leeds squad is enjoying amazing success at the moment, and that is great credit to all the divers and the efforts of the coaching staff who are clearly making the most of having the wonderful Aquatics Centre to use for their training.”

This latest success continues a fantastic run of form by Alwoodley diver Starling, who shot to prominence by beating a host of Britain’s best senior-level divers on her way to fourth place in the Women’s 3m Springboard event at the British Championships in February at the age of just 13.

Her impact there caught the eye of National Performance Director Alexei Evangulov, who selected Starling to take part in the Senior European Championships held in Turin in April, were she finished in a creditable 14th place in her first international appearance at senior level.

Starling will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of fellow City of Leeds divers Charles Calvert and Rebecca Gallantree, who will be representing Great Britain at the World Diving Championships which take place in Rome this week. Fellow City of Leeds diver Sarah Barrow had also qualified to compete in Italy, but a back injury has unfortunately ruled her out.

Notes to editors:

Leeds City Council’s Leeds Diving Training Scheme is managed by Adrian Hinchliffe and has been running since 1986. The scheme provides opportunities in the sport of diving for all ages and from recreational to elite level. In total there are over 300 people taking part in the scheme on a daily and weekly basis, making it one of the biggest diving programmes in Britain.

For further information about the scheme contact Adrian Hinchliffe at, Edwin Jongejans at or call 0113 395 7363.


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Learning and Leisure Media Relations Officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email: