Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Rothwell residents recycle seven buses-worth of food waste

It is a vast amount of unwanted food scraps with the combined weight of seven double-decker buses which would normally have gone straight into landfill.

But thanks to a new pilot scheme currently under way in Rothwell, an incredible 48.02 tonnes of food waste in the first few weeks alone is now being recycled into compost instead.

That is the total amount of kitchen scraps and leftover food placed in special kitchen caddies by householders before being transferred to a larger food waste bin outside since the scheme started on February 22.

Around 8,500 homes in the Rothwell area are taking part in the six-month trial to see whether recycling rates could be boosted by the introduction of a new scheme that includes food waste collections and more frequent green bin collections

Residents have been putting out their kitchen waste bins every week, the green bin recycling collections have doubled to fortnightly, while garden waste brown bins are emptied fortnightly, as usual for this time of year. This has allowed the black general waste bins to be collected fortnightly instead.

Cllr James Monaghan, executive member with responsibility for recycling and refuse, said:
“It is still very much early days but this is a very encouraging start for the first three weeks of the scheme as people get used to the new system. This is a significant amount of waste that would otherwise have simply rotted in the ground and given off harmful greenhouse gases which instead will be put to further use as compost.

“I’d like to thank the people of Rothwell for both their patience as the trial gets under way and their enthusiasm in giving it a go. It bodes well for our aim of recycling over half of all waste in the city by the year 2020.”

Householders have help on hand from a group of “waste doctors” in the first month or so of the trial- they have been advising residents about what to put in each bin and giving them assistance with any issues they may have. Detailed information packs were also provided for everybody taking part in the scheme.

Plenty of feedback has come from residents so far, with the vast majority being positive. While a few people said they preferred the original collection dates, one resident who was reluctant to use the new food waste bin is now trying the system after help from the waste doctors.

Overall, most people said they liked the new service, with many pointing out that the increased recycling opportunities relieve pressure on their black bin use.

One householder even reported that they were loving getting the whole family involved in the recycling process, while many more said they were “very happy” with the service.

Council research has shown that around 30% of the total weight of what Leeds people put in their black bins is food waste- which could be as much as 40,000 tonnes a year. Currently this is sent to landfill sites where it rots, releasing harmful greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.


For media enquiries please contact:
Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335
e-mail: donna.cox@leeds.gov.uk

ENDS

Landlord receives hefty fine for not installing fire alarms

A landlord has been fined £5,000 and ordered to pay almost £1,000 in costs for failing to install fire alarms in one of their houses.

Azra Raza of 4 Fitzroy Drive, Roundhay, did not attend Leeds Magistrates Court yesterday but an application to prove the matter in her absence was successful.

She received a £5,000 fine for failing to install an Automatic Fire Detection system at 1 Burley Lodge Terrace, Burley, Leeds, which is a condition of her House in Multiple Occupation (“HMO”) licence. Costs of £979 were also awarded to Leeds City Council, along with a Victims Surcharge of £15.

Other charges included letting the property in a manner other than permitted on her licence, not displaying the HMO licence within the property, failing to attend a landlord training course, failing to provide a protected route of escape and failing to keep the route of escape clear of obstruction.

Mrs Raza was granted an HMO licence for the property by the council on 30 July 2007 but an inspection on 8 September last year found that the conditions of the licence had not been complied with.

Mandatory licensing of certain HMO’s, those comprised of 3 or more storeys and which are occupied by five or more people, was introduced by the Housing Act 2004. It came in to force in 2006 and so far around 2,800 licences have been issued by the council for properties across the city. The licences contain conditions relating to matters including fire safety, heating and kitchen and bathroom facilities. They also restrict the occupancy level of a property. Not complying with any licence condition is liable on conviction to a fine.

Councillor Les Carter, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for housing, said:
“We have these HMO licences for a reason – to ensure that these large rented properties are fit for people to live in.
“Licence conditions must be complied with in the timescales stated otherwise the council will come down hard on anyone who thinks the rules do not apply to them”.

ENDS
For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council (0113) 224 3937
e-mail: michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk

Help on hand to recruit volunteers

Are you an organisation that is thinking about using volunteers or already does but needs help to recruit more? Do you already have volunteers but could use some advice on how to get the most out of them? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, Volunteer Centre Leeds can help!

Volunteer Centre Leeds promotes volunteering opportunities in the Leeds area, and deals with hundreds of enquiries every week from people who want to get involved. As well as advertising opportunities, we offer advice, support and training to organisations who need or use volunteers, and our service is completely free.

Volunteer Centre Leeds opened its doors in January at the new, central location of 12 St Paul’s Street, Leeds 1, with the aim of making it easier to match organisations with people who are keen to offer a helping hand.

To make it even easier to see the services that are available, there will be an open day at the centre on Thursday, 25 March, 12 noon to 2pm. Organisations are welcome to send representatives along to find out more about how we can help you recruit, train and manage volunteers. Volunteer centre staff will be on hand to offer advice and take details of your specific needs. Refreshments will be available.

Natasha Mort, manager of Volunteer Centre Leeds said:
“We offer a free service and are keen that as many organisations as possible know about the help we can offer. We are already working with lots of companies but are keen to engage with more, particularly as we have seen a four-fold increase in the number of people that we are interviewing to become volunteers since the start of the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering. So the more opportunities we have on our system, the better!”

Councillor Richard Brett, joint leader and executive member with responsibility for the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering said:
“The year of volunteering is already having a positive impact on the numbers of people coming forward to offer their time for the good of the city and their local communities.

“The new volunteer centre is at the heart of this success, and by inviting organisations to this event we hope to increase the number of volunteering opportunities that we can offer, and help charities and businesses get the extra support they need.”

2010 is the Leeds Year of Volunteering, an initiative led by the council and Voluntary Action Leeds. Its aim is to engage every citizen in a volunteering activity during the year.

ENDS

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578
Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk

Leeds branching out for new trees

Visitors to three green spaces in Leeds soon won’t be able to see the wood for the trees as a series of special tree plantings are taking place this month.

Over the coming weeks the three areas in Wetherby, Farsley and Woodhouse will see over 2,500 new trees planted by Leeds City Council’s Parks and Countryside Service as a result of its successful partnership with national environmental charity Trees for Cities.

The plantings are being partly funded through sponsorship raised by those who have taken part in the annual Tree-Athlon event held at Temple Newsam, which since it began in 2007 has resulted in almost 19,000 new trees being planted in Leeds. Local businesses including The Leeds Festival, TD Waterhouse, Yorkshire Bank and Caird Bardon Limited have also given financial support.

This year’s plantings will see 2,500 oak, birch, ash, field maple and hazel trees added to redundant agricultural land next to Wetherby Leisure Centre overlooking the Ings. The plantings are to be carefully planned to include areas of open space to attract as great a variety of wildlife as possible. As the woodland matures a picnic area, seating and improved footpaths around the wood will be installed.

In Farsley, 40 semi-mature oak trees will be planted along the boundary of Farfield Recreation Ground which as well as providing a fantastic wildlife habitat in years to come will also help provide screening for a playground, primary school and other properties from the busy A6120 Ring Road.

The third planting at Hanover Square in Woodhouse will see semi-mature hawthorn and rowan trees planted to enhance its atmospheric Edwardian city centre setting.

In all three cases, local school children and corporate volunteers will join members of the local community and Parks and Countryside staff to carry out the plantings.

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

“Trees for Cities is a wonderful national charity which we are delighted to work with to help improve green spaces and the environment in Leeds. It has already enabled us to plant thousands of new trees across the city and we look forward to carrying out this year’s plantings and watching these woodland areas develop over the coming years.”

Trees for Cities Chief Executive Sharon Johnson said:

“We’d like to thank everyone who took part in this year’s Tree-Athlon, and all the local people and businesses who have dug deep to make these Leeds tree plantings possible. We hope it inspires even more people to find out about Trees for Cities and how they can support tree planting across the city.”

For further information on Trees for Cities, visit the website at www.treesforcities.org

Notes to editors:

Trees for Cities is an award-winning charity that plants trees and re-landscapes public spaces in urban areas. The charity’s vision is to stimulate a greening renaissance in cities around the world that will impact on global warming and beautify the urban landscape, as well as encouraging greater social cohesion through the active participation of local people. A special effort is made to involve children and young people in all Trees for Cities projects.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Learning and Leisure Media Relations Officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472,Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk

Over 3000 years’ service to Leeds honoured at awards ceremony

Over 130 members of staff who work for schools throughout Leeds will receive awards to recognise their commitment to the city’s children and young people.

Long Service Awards will be presented to staff who have worked in education in the city for over 25 years at a ceremony on 17 March at the Civic Hall.

**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********
Media are invited to the Long Service Awards at Leeds Civic Hall from 6.30pm on Wednesday 17 March with awards presented at 7.35pm. To confirm attendance please call 0113 3951577 or email jon.crampton@leeds.gov.uk
**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********

Staff including headteachers, support staff, administrators and cleaners will attend the celebration event in honour of their achievements. They will receive their awards and enjoy a meal as well as entertainment from the Leeds Youth Jazz Rock Orchestra.
The leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Andrew Carter will thank staff for their years of commitment and hard work while Councillor Richard Harker, Leeds City Council executive board member for education and Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds will present the awards. All staff will receive an engraved silver clock and a certificate to recognise their contribution to improving the lives of children and young people in Leeds.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for education at Leeds City Council, said:
“I am delighted to attend this event to thank such dedicated and committed people, each one of them is an inspiration. Their contribution to the city is invaluable and very much appreciated.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“These talented and hard working colleagues have made, and continue to make, a real difference to the children and young people of Leeds. I am privileged to have worked with them and proud to present them with these well-deserved awards. We are achieving brilliant things in Leeds schools and simply could not do this without such exceptional people”

First introduced in September 2002, the Long Service Awards are jointly presented by Leeds City Council and Education Leeds to celebrate the contribution of colleagues in all areas of school life.

ENDS

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

Leeds Arena – new images unveiled









Stunning new images showing the internal layout and configuration of the Leeds Arena have been unveiled today.

The new images give a hint of the atmosphere of the fan shaped Leeds Arena with a full audience and show updated images of the bowl. The 'super theatre' design, which guarantees every seat in the house enjoys perfect sightlines is a first for the UK and will see the 13,500 capacity arena set a new benchmark in arena design

Detailed design work on the internal configuration of the arena is already at an advanced stage and features a unique 'super theatre' where the seats fan out from the stage. This guarantees that every seat enjoys perfect sightlines of centre stage with 68m the longest distance from the stage as opposed to 90-95m at a conventional arena.

The release of new internal images heralds the start of a busy period for the project. An outline planning application was submitted in November 2009, and determination of this is expected on 22 March. In a significant boost to the local construction sector, the council is also close to announcing the preferred contractor to build the arena with construction on course to start by the end of the year.

Councillor Andrew Carter, leader of Leeds City Council and executive member responsible for the Leeds Arena project said:
"These images are very exciting and show how the Leeds Arena will lead the way forward in the next generation of arena design. The atmosphere will be unrivalled with the fan shape creating something really special.

“The venue will have a huge impact in raising the profile of Leeds and the surrounding city region both nationally and on the European stage. Studies show there is massive untapped demand for a facility of this kind and it will be a significant boost to the economy and physical regeneration of the Leeds and the wider city region."

According to economic impact assessments, development of the arena will provide a boost of up to £25 million a year for the economy and create up to 500 new jobs once it opens in addition to 500 construction jobs. The city centre arena is expected to generate over one million visitors a year.

Ends

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