Friday, 18 September 2009

Fresh advice to Leeds residents over city bin collections

Households across Leeds are being given fresh advice about what they should do with their bins for collection while the strike action continues to disrupt the service.

Council chiefs are carefully planning refuse collections and street cleaning services to try to maintain and improve on the current level.

By the end of this week (Friday 18 September) 26 refuse crews were working, which is well over half of the normal service. Plans are being made to continually improve this during next week.

Letters have been posted to households across the city and the first will arrive tomorrow (Saturday 19 September).

They tell householders that priority will now be given to areas of the city which have not had a refuse collection since the strike began on Monday 7 September.

Due to the unions’ refusal to agree to the council exemptions request, critical services such as medical and clinical waste collections and refuse collections in high rise properties have also been prioritised.

The advice given to residents is:
·      Please put your bin(s) out on your normal collection day.

·      If your bin(s) have not been emptied by 8pm (previously 6pm) on the day they should have been, put them back in your garden, yard or place where you keep them until your next scheduled collection day.

·      If your bin(s) are full, put any extra rubbish into bags, store them safely and put them out with your bin(s) on your next scheduled collection day.

·      You can also take any excess recycling or waste to your nearest household waste sorting site where extra large containers are being provided.

Regrettably, some of the city’s 11 household waste sites are being disrupted by the ongoing action by the GMB and Unison trade unions. Information about which ones are open is being posted on the council’s website 

There are also 480 bring sites across the city providing collection of a range of materials where residents are able to recycle range of material locally including glass, paper, cans, textiles (clothing), plastic bottled and plastic bags.

Councillor James Monaghan, executive board member for environmental service, said:

“This fresh advice to residents is vital if we’re to try and minimise the effects of this completely unnecessary strike action.


“Even though we’re now managing to operate well over half of the normal service; there is an inevitable backlog which we’re working hard to reduce. We hope to see an improving situation over the coming days by arranging as many collection services as we can.


“I’m sorry that there is disruption to these important services and I thank the people of Leeds for their patience, co-operation and understanding at this difficult time.”



Posted via web from Leeds City Council

Man sentenced for calculating £617,000 council compo claim

Caption: Ryan Kirk leaves Leeds Crown Court after the judgement

Caption: Video of Cllr Richard Brett commenting on Kirk's sentencing

Caption: audio of Cllr Richard Brett commenting on Kirk's sentencing

A man who tried to con taxpayers out of £617,000 by claiming he’d damaged his knee when tripping on a pavement has been handed a suspended sentence after his claim was struck out by the court.

Ryan Kirk, 24, of Ramshead Drive, Seacroft, claimed he dislocated his knee by smashing it against a BT junction box after tripping on a broken paving stone on 9 May 2002, putting in a massive compensation claim to Leeds City Council.

But investigators discovered that he’d caused his own injury in his frustration after being involved in a fight – kicking the box when his opponent ran off.

Today at Leeds Crown Court he was given a 12 month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 240 hours of unpaid work. He still has to pay the council’s legal costs of dealing with his false claim – which totalled £10,832 – after the council made a civil claim earlier this year.

Judge Kerry McGill told Kirk his injury has been “caused purely and clearly by your own stupidity” and that when the truth had been uncovered “it quite literally blew your account out of the water”.

He said he took into account Kirk’s learning difficulties and stated that if Kirk’s father had been before the court he would have been facing a substantial period behind bars for complicity in the fraud – the court had heard he had been present at hospital when Kirk had told the doctor what had really happened, but had encouraged Kirk to continue his claim.

He commented on false compensation claims:
“These claims are a blight on the public purse. They can cause all sorts of problems.
“You were a stupid boy … consider yourself an extremely fortunate young man. And a word of warning to any parent who is blind to what is going on – be careful in future.”

Councillor Richard Brett, leader of Leeds City Council, said:
“I am delighted that we have been able to bring this man to court – for him to injure himself through his own foolish actions and then attempt to defraud the taxpayer of such a huge sum leaves me aghast.
"Ongoing investment, inspection and maintenance of pavements, coupled with an increase in our defence of claims in court, means we have seen a significant downward trend in the number and value of compensation claims over the last eight years.
“The council is not a ‘cash cow’ to be milked by people who think it is easy money to put a false claim in, this is money that has to come out of budgets providing vital services for the people of Leeds.”

Back in June, Kirk pleaded guilty to a charge of attempting to obtain property by deception after his massive personal injury claim had been struck out by the court.

Solicitors representing Kirk first wrote to Leeds City Council on in October 2002, alleging that he had sustained the injury by tripping on a missing flagstone. They said that as he fell his knee hit the BT box. The dislocation was a serious injury and they filed a compensation claim totalling £617,000.

However, investigators from the council spotted a curious reference to the police being involved with the incident. They discovered that the police had two witnesses who watched Kirk deliberately kick the BT box and dislocate his knee.

The investigators also obtained a copy of the recording of the 999 call – in which he is clearly heard telling the operator that he kicked the box. After the 999 recording was obtained, Kirk’s solicitors told him they would no longer act for him yet despite being played the recording Kirk continued to pursue the claim. The claim was eventually struck out by the court as he failed to comply with a Court Order to serve their witness evidence on Leeds City Council by a particular date.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3937

John Prescott to speak at Leeds school about climate change

A Leeds school has been chosen as one of just four venues for John Prescott to deliver a unique presentation on climate change.

Pudsey Grangefield School will host the former deputy prime minister on Tuesday 22 September as part of his New Earth Deal school tour ahead of the UN Copenhagen Climate Change Conference.

**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********
Media are invited to Pudsey Grangefield School for the presentation. However, if you wish to interview John Prescott you must contact Victoria Roberts at Game Changer, in advance, on 02033937390 to arrange a slot.
**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********

Mr Prescott, who helped negotiate the 1997 Kyoto climate change agreement, is the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s (PACE) delegate on climate change and will be gathering opinions from young people in Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and London before the UN conference in December.

The hour-long presentation will focus on the causes of climate change, his experience of the Kyoto treaty and his view that the Copenhagen agreement should be efficient and effective. Mr Prescott will also field questions from the audience which will be made up of students from Pudsey Grangefield School.

Ken Cornforth, headteacher at Pudsey Grangefield School, said:
“Our students are very much looking forward to learning what John Prescott has to say on the enormous issue of climate change.

“They recognise they will be representing the voice of young people from across the country and will be offering their own views on the message that he should carry to Copenhagen.”

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for education at Leeds City Council, said:
“Climate change is an important issue for everyone. As a council we are constantly working to reduce our CO2 emissions and are encouraging everyone in the city to do the same.

“Our schools are educating our young people about the effects of climate change and what they can do to help reduce their impact on the environment. I am sure John Prescott’s presentation will reinforce this message.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“It’s a huge boost for our young people that a high profile public figure like John Prescott is to visit Pudsey Grangefield School to speak about such an important global issue.

“All of our schools are committed to becoming ‘sustainable schools’ and reducing their carbon and environmental footprints. We recognise that our young people understand the importance of respecting and looking after the planet and John Prescott’s visit can only help strengthen the brilliant work that is already happening in so many schools here in Leeds.”

The PowerPoint presentation will be similar to environmental activist and former American vice-president Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. A 20 minute clip of the ‘Age of Stupid’ - a film set in the future about climate change - will also be shown.


For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577