Thursday, 13 August 2009

Summer recycling rates reach record levels

Green Leeds residents are recycling and composting more than ever according to latest figures recorded by Leeds City Council.

Householders recycling rates have reached record levels peaking at 38.15% in June – an increase of 5.6% and 2,100 tonnes of recycling compared with this time last year.

Council chiefs have set targets to recycle an average of 34% of household waste during this year and over 50% by 2020 in order to reduce the city’s dependency on landfill which creates greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

Latest figures also show that rates have been boosted by the amount of new garden waste recycled since the new roll out of brown bins. Now more than 188,000 homes in the city are receiving the garden waste service, which is collected fortnightly from February to October and every four weeks in December, January and February.

Cllr James Monaghan, executive board member for environmental services, said:
"It’s fantastic to see residents are recycling more of their waste and I would like to thank all everyone for their continued efforts. Each year we set ourselves tough targets to improve on, and this year with the help of residents, we are on course to hit them if we maintain this level.

“We can see that residents are using more of the council recycling services available to them, such as kerbside collections, local household waste sort site and bring sites. It is important that we all do our bit to reduce, reuse and recycle the waste each of our homes produces so we can reduce how much rubbish is buried in the ground and help protect the environment."

A range of materials can be recycled in Leeds: householders can recycle paper, plastics, card and cans in their green bin or bag, use around 480 bring sites with banks for glass bottles and clothing and access 11 household waste sort sites across the city to recycle a huge range of different materials and unwanted second-hand white goods.

Residents can now find out more about recycling in Leeds by visiting website www.leeds.gov.uk/recycleforleeds where they can search for their bin collection days, use an A-Z search to find out where to take their recycling, and use Google maps to find their nearest household waste sort site.

ENDS

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

Plans to accelerate economic recovery in the Leeds City Region take a step forward

Plans to accelerate economic recovery and growth across the Leeds City Region have taken a step forward.

The Leeds City Region Partnership has announced its intention to sign off proposals for new spending freedoms and flexibilities with the Government in autumn this year.

The Leeds City Region proposals include greater powers over funding for areas such as housing, regeneration, innovation and skills and support to businesses as well as flexible financing systems for the funding of infrastructure to unlock the potential for regeneration in areas like the Aire Valley in Leeds.

As part of the Government’s plans to give more spending powers to city regions, earlier this year, Leeds City Region was jointly awarded ‘pilot’ status with Greater Manchester. Being a ‘pilot’ city region brings forward new spending powers aimed at encouraging growth within the city region economy.

Councillor Andrew Carter, Chair of the Leeds City Region Leaders Board, said:“The Leeds City Region Partnership put forward some ambitious and innovative proposals in its bid for pilot status earlier this year and we now look forward to signing off an agreement on these proposals in the autumn with the Government and our partners.

“If we are able to achieve the full extent of powers and responsibilities put forward in our original proposals, the plans will kick-start work to accelerate economic growth and provide a better business environment for enterprise to thrive and drive the city region economy to a quicker recovery.”

Following April’s announcement of the two pilot city regions, the eleven Leeds City Region local authorities have been working with relevant government departments to secure the detail of the responsibilities and funding that will be devolved to the partnership.

These negotiations will continue over the summer in order to reach final agreement on the pilot programme by the autumn. The Partnership aims to meet with Ministers in September to agree the details, and then to launch the programme at the Leeds City Region Summit taking place in November.

Ends

Notes to editors:
1. The pilot programme 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 pilot city regions. Interested city regions were invited to submit bids in a competitive process by 6 March.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. The Leeds City Region Partnership bid for pilot programme can be downloaded from our website on the homepage under Publications: www.leedscityregion.gov.uk.

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

Lives saved thanks to HMO landlord’s fire safety measures

The importance of having up-to-date fire safety measures in houses in multiple occupation (HMO) has been highlighted after a fire at a property in Holbeck.

The fire broke out in a ground floor flat at Recreation Place, Holbeck, at the end of last month when a tenant went out leaving a chip pan on the stove which then set alight.

The smoke set off the fire alarm which alerted the house’s other occupants who managed to escape to safety. The fire was contained in the room by a ‘30 minute fire door’ - which are required to be fitted to every room in HMO properties - and was put out by the fire service soon after.

The bedsit type accommodation was recently inspected by Leeds City Council to ensure it met all the conditions of its HMO Licence - which includes conditions relating specifically to fire safety measures.

Councillor Les Carter, executive board member responsible for HMO licensing, said:
“The landlord is accredited by Leeds City Council which means the property meets all current HMO legislation. As the fire broke out when many of the occupants were at home it’s likely that without the fire safety measures in place lives would have been at risk.

“HMO licensing ensures that all relevant properties meet certain standards. It guarantees that tenants are living in safe conditions and are protected against a range of issues which they may not be if their landlord isn’t officially licensed.”

The Housing Act 2004 introduced a legal requirement for shared houses and bedsits with more than four occupiers and over more than two storeys to be licensed by the council as House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). The licence conditions set standards for fire safety and amenities.

Following the introduction of HMO Licensing in 2006, Leeds City Council widely publicised the new legal requirement amongst landlords and managing agents and has processed more than 2,600 applications for HMO licences, which represents 18 per cent of the total number for all the councils in England.

Further information on HMO Licensing can be found at www.leeds.gov.uk.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577
Email: jon.crampton@leeds.gov.uk