Friday, 4 December 2009

Community volunteers honoured at thank you event

People who have given their time to help make their community a better place to live in will be honoured during a special ‘thank you’ event next week.

Voluntary groups from north east Leeds will join the Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Andrew Barker, and members of the North East Inner Area Committee at a special evening held in the Banqueting Suite at Leeds Civic Hall on Thursday 10 December.

The event, being held between 6.30pm and 8.30pm, has been organised by the committee to thank people who give their time and goodwill in the Chapel Allerton, Moortown and Roundhay areas of the city.

This is the sixth year a ‘thank you’ event has been held to recognise the work of voluntary groups in the inner north east area of Leeds, where there are over 150 groups operating.

Many of these groups will be attending including Meanwood Valley Partnership, Moortown Community Group, Chapeltown Development Trust and Gledhow Valley Conservation Area Group. Entertainment on the night will be provided by the New World Steel Orchestra, who are based in Chapeltown.

There will also be a special presentation by Voluntary Action Leeds to launch the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering in inner north east Leeds, which will let volunteers and voluntary groups know how they can get involved in the activities that are planned.

The Deputy Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Andrew Barker, said:“These people have made a real difference in their local communities, and they should be proud of the contribution they have made.

“What they do on a regular basis and what they have achieved is an example to us all and they thoroughly deserve this praise and recognition for their hard work.”

Councillor Matthew Lobley, chair of the Inner North East area committee, said:“Its really important that we let people know that we appreciate the voluntary work they do in our local communities, and this event is our way of saying thank you.

“Its also a great opportunity for the voluntary groups to meet each other and share their experiences and common interests.”


For media enquiries please contact:
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951578

City’s major organisations sign up to tackle climate change

Caption: Members of the Leeds Climate Change Partnership sign up to the city's Climate Charter.

As world leaders prepare to meet in Copenhagen to agree a deal to tackle climate change, top Leeds organisations have signed up to their own climate busting deal.

Leeds City Council along with the following organisations has vowed to take action to reduce their own carbon emissions by signing the Leeds Climate Charter.

Those signing up include:
University of Leeds,
Leeds Metropolitan University,
NHS Leeds,
Partnership Foundation Trust,
Leeds Chamber of Commerce,
Financial Leeds, Connect Housing,
Environment Agency,
British Trust for Conservation Volunteers,
Natural England,

In return they will get help to reduce their carbon footprint.

Each new signatory is a member of the Leeds Climate Change Partnership. The partnership members have already agreed the city’s climate change strategy to address the causes and impacts of climate change and the steps needed to cut the city’s emissions by 80% between now and 2050.

With each organisation doing its bit to reduce emissions, and sharing what they’ve learned with each other, the partnership has shown that it’s committed to leading the way in tackling climate change across Leeds.

And with the combined workforce of tens of thousands of people and budgets totalling billions of pounds, the charter signing is a major signal that Leeds is serious about climate change.

Councillor James Monaghan, chair of the Climate Change Partnership and the council’s executive member for environmental services said:
“By signing the charter today the partnership are reaffirming their commitment to creating a better environment for future generations.

"Leeds has a great deal to offer in addressing the challenges of climate change, but the scale of the issue requires a joined-up response. By coming together to make this promise, we’ll ensure that as a city we’re focussed towards the same goals."


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

Van’s lethal load taken off the road by council sweep

Caption: the van seized on the A1 yesterday, with its deadly cargo.

A vanload of deadly asbestos, discovered on a routine stop-and-search operation on the A1, was more than likely destined to be illegally dumped, council officials have said.

A van was stopped on the A1 at Boston Spa as part of a multi-agency operation, which included officers from Leeds City Council’s Highways and Environmental Enforcement Team.

The driver claimed he had just been to a tip in the North East and the van was empty. But when council officials opened the back, they found it was not only filled with loose and broken asbestos panels but a man was sitting on top of them without any protective equipment at all.

When questioned, the driver could not explain where it had come from or how they planned to get rid of it legally, leading officers to suspect it was going to be dumped illegally. One of the occupants claimed there was six months’ worth of asbestos work in the back of the van.

Further checks showed the company may not be registered to transport controlled waste and despite the driver telling the officer that he had just tipped part of his load, he could not produce a waste transfer document for the tip he had visited that day.

Because of its hazard to the public and the environment, the waste was seized. Unfortunately for the four occupants of the vehicle, this meant the van had to be taken to contain the asbestos so it could be properly disposed of. They had to leave the vehicle and walk to nearby Collingham to arrange alternate transport.

The driver was interviewed regarding waste offences and the company will also be invited in to answer questions. The police were also became involved because the driver had no proper driving license and the vehicle had no tax, insurance or MOT.

West Yorkshire Police organised the stop and search called operation Mermaid to identify vehicle related crime or similar contraventions relating to vehicles using the A1 Motorway systems. Other agencies in attendance were West Yorkshire Joint Services (Trading Standards), Customs and the Highways and Environmental Enforcement Team from Leeds City Council. Customs checked for the use of red diesel, Trading Standards and the police checked for vehicles overloaded and construction and use infringements.

The council officers were specifically looking for vehicles that were transporting waste as part of their business or commercial-related vehicles whose companies produce waste at their premises. Checks are carried out to ensure they could all document how they handle and transport commercial waste.

Councillor James Monaghan, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for environmental services, said:
“Having asbestos in a vehicle and allowing an employee to sit with this extremely hazardous material just beggars belief.
"We believe it may have been on its way to being fly-tipped somewhere, putting people’s health and the environment at risk. Preventing fly-tipping of commercial waste is what our Highways and Environmental Enforcement Team is looking for when it is involved in these operations.
“This company appears to have failed in its duty of care for the waste it handles as well as its employees’ safety. Our team acted correctly and quickly to protect the environment and prevent harm to human health."

For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council (0113) 229 3937