Thursday, 29 April 2010

VIDEO: Man fined over deadly asbestos dumping

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A man who pleaded guilty to flytipping deadly asbestos waste is facing a bill of more than £2,300.

Shaun O’Neil was fined £200 and ordered to pay £2,117 costs with a £15 victim surcharge, after admitting to flytipping at Leeds Magistrates Court.

Charged under Section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, which involves the Illegal disposal of controlled waste, the 42-year-old from 20 Topcliffe Court, Morley, Leeds, admitted dumping five large bags containing asbestos waste on 16th September last year at Royds Lane, in the Lower Wortley area of Leeds.

Local businesses in the area have been regularly affected by flytipping over a number of years and prior to September 2009, council enforcement officers installed CCTV cameras that led to the this and other fly tippers being brought before the courts.

Shaun O’Neil was seen to flytip five large canvas builders bags filled with his Asbestos garage from his home at around 6.30am. He was spotted in his employer’s white open-back vehicle unloading the waste next to a business premises.

Thanks to their vehicle tracking software, Mr O’Neil’s employers confirmed to officials that their vehicle was at the flytipping site at that time and confirmed that the driver was Mr O’Neil. His employers had no involvement in his actions and did not condone the offence in anyway.

The hazardous nature of the waste meant the council’s specialist asbestos team had to properly dispose of it.

Councillor Colin Campbell, Leeds City Council’s lead member for environmental health, said:
“Cleaning up flytipping costs the council tens of thousands of pounds every year and is a blight on our neighbourhoods and communities.
“It is worrying that asbestos was being dumped, putting people’s health at risk, and we will always take action against those who seek to dump their rubbish on the streets.”

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

Helping students and neighbourhoods to get along

A groundbreaking partnership to raise students’ awareness of their responsibilities towards the neighbourhoods they live in is celebrating its first anniversary and expanding to cover even more of the city’s students.

As National Noise Action Week begins, the scheme to help alleviate waste, recycling and noise problems in areas of Leeds heavily populated by students has expanded to include another university and two of the city’s largest colleges – Leeds Trinity, Leeds College of Music and Leeds City College.

The partnership, believed to have been the first of its kind in the country, was forged between Leeds City Council, The University of Leeds, Leeds Metropolitan University and West Yorkshire Police.

University life for many students involves moving into the communities of Leeds and running a household for the first time. With the move comes new responsibilities and learning to live harmoniously with their neighbours and the communities they will be calling home.

The partnership aims to advise, guide and educate students on the impact which they have on their host communities and support their integration with the wider community.

On the rare occasion that this fails, the partnership will collectively take action against persistent offenders utilising the different sanctions at our disposal to ensure a timely resolution. Ultimately this could result in legal proceedings, seizure of equipment and action through the Universities’ disciplinary proceedings.

If anyone is troubled by noise they can contact Leeds City Council on 0113 222 4406 by day and 0113 2425841 Out of Hours. The Universities’ Neighbourhood Helpline can be contacted on 0113 343 1064 or

Helen Freeman, chief officer of Leeds City Council's Health & Environmental Action Service, said:
“Leeds has a very large student population and of course they play a major role in the city’s prosperity and diversity.
However, it’s important that the council, universities, colleges and also the communities of Leeds work together to resolve problems should they arise.
“This scheme aims to help alleviate waste, recycling and noise problems in areas of Leeds heavily populated by students.
“We want to encourage students coming to live in Leeds to live harmoniously with their neighbours and the communities they will be calling home.”

Notes for Editors
Neighbourhood Helpline

The Universities recognise the impact that a high student population has on our local communities and that tensions inevitably arise in those areas of the city most densely populated by students. To resolve any tensions which may occur, the universities Neighbourhood Helpline service has operated since 2000 to mediate and provide information on the agencies available to tackle individual problems.

The Neighbourhood Helpline is a 24-hour dedicated voicemail and email service operated by the University of Leeds in partnership with Leeds Metropolitan University. It is available to both students and local residents, to raise issues of concern regarding their surrounding environment and the communities in which they live. Helpline staff work with complainants, in a mediation role, to resolve any disputes which involve our students living in the community.

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

Vehicles given the once over in North Leeds

Taxis and private hire vehicles were given the once over and subject to full inspections in an operation in north Leeds recently.

Leeds City Council in partnership with the police ran a successful operation in the Hyde Park and Burley areas of the city on Friday 16th April, checking taxis and private hire vehicles for defects or breaches of their licences.

A total of 39 drivers were issued with notices to attend a further inspection, of which all vehicles attended, and 25 vehicles were identified as having defects or breaches of conditions.

Nine out of the 25 vehicles identified with defects, were suspended with breaches ranging from faulty exhausts to worn tyres and headlamps not working to no valid insurance.

The other 16 vehicles were issued with notices that required they repair defects on their vehicles within seven days. The remaining 14 vehicles that were examined were found to be fully in order.

Inspector Simon Jessup, of the North West Inner Neighbourhood Policing Team, said:
“This operation was designed to help ensure the safety of passengers and other road users. It is obviously a cause for concern that so many of the vehicles checked had defects.

“We will keep working with the council and the drivers to make sure their vehicles are kept roadworthy and are operating within the conditions of their licences.

“This type of operation will be continuing over the coming weeks and months and I would like to remind taxi and private hire drivers that they need to meet the required standards.”

This operation is part of a rolling programme of partnership working with other Neighbourhood Policing Teams throughout the city such as the recent one in the city centre tackling the congestion, over ranking and plying for hire issues on a weekend.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450

South Leeds residents discover the Hub

Picture caption: Local residents take a look at the plans for the new South Leeds Youth Hub

Residents from across south Leeds enjoyed a day of fun and discovery on Saturday, at the site of the new South Leeds Youth Hub.

Local residents were invited to come along and find out more about what activities and services will be on offer when the hub opens its doors later this year and see how the new building is progressing.

The hub, which is being built on the site of the old Merlyn Rees high school in Belle Isle, is on course to open in November and is set to become the centre of youth activity for south Leeds.

The hub’s project team was on hand at the fun day to answer any questions local residents had about the ongoing building work, and what the future holds for this state of the art youth centre.

Satbinder Soor, senior youth officer for south Leeds, said:
“This was a fantastic opportunity not only for residents to discover what will be available but also for us to meet local people, find out their interests, answer their concerns and get them involved in the future of the hub.

“We are really excited that work is progressing so well and we have had loads of support from local young people, some of whom have joined together to create a management group, to ensure the hub is exactly what young people need.”

The builders, Wates, even challenged young people to become bricklayers for the day, in an exciting ‘Brickwork Challenge’ competition. After a bricklaying master class from Wates, residents put their building skills to the test and were challenged to build a wall along one side of the site.

Satbinder added:
“It’s great to see many local residents really showing their support for this project, we even had a number of residents sign up to be youth hub volunteers at the fun day.”

As well as being a great place for young people to take part in activities and meet their friends the hub will also be a base for supporting vulnerable young people facing challenging relationships, emotions, schoolwork, health issues, career decisions etc. Advice, counselling and guidance in these areas will be a key part of the hub’s services.

The 11 zones which will make up the South Leeds Youth Hub are:
Music and media (recording, performing, animation, film-making etc)
Performance and dance (big screen cinema, theatre etc)
Chill out and kitchen
Hair and beauty
Outdoor (allotment garden/plaza)
Sport (multi-use games area)
Workshop (pushbike/motorbike/go-kart mechanics and maintenance)
IT and teaching
Talk (counselling, advice, job shops, health clinics etc)
Adult area/ office space

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council Press Office, on (0113) 2474713

Big cats of the business world come to town

Leeds is hosting one of the biggest events for a number of years over the bank holiday weekend as the Lions come to town.

Business men and woman who work together as part of the Lions group to answer the needs that challenge communities across the world, will be descending on Leeds from Thursday 27 April to Sunday 2 May at various locations across the city. Up to 1,000 delegates are expected to attend, generating an estimated £1.3m for the local economy.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds will be attending the various celebration events including officially opening the convention which is taking place at Saviles Hall, Royal Armouries International on Saturday and Sunday.

The main events of the weekend will involve a diamond jubilee dinner at the Queens Hotel on Thursday, the international show at the Town Hall on Friday and the annual convention which takes place at the Royal Armouries from Saturday to Sunday . Entertainment will be provided by Irish dancers, a brass quintet, male voice choir and pipe band.

******************** Media opportunity ********************

What: The opening ceremony for the Lions Diamond Jubilee Convention (am) and/or the Banquet and Ball (pm)
Where: Royal Armouries
When: Saturday 1 May at 8:30am or 6.30pm
Details: Please call 0845 833 8479 or 07801 811857 if you plan to attend
******************** Media opportunity ********************

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Judith Elliott said:

“This event is the largest of its kind in Leeds for a number of years and is bringing together a group of people who use their business skills to help communities across the world for a number of good causes.

“I look forward to meeting them all and celebrating their work in the diamond jubilee year of the organisation.”

Lion Andy Pemberton, Lions Council Chairman said:
“This is a notable milestone in our history and we are delighted to be coming to Leeds and have been made to feel very welcome in this magnificent city. We have an exciting four days of activities planned with the convention taking centre stage.

Notes to editors:

For further information about the Lions please contact Andy Pemberton, chairman of the Lions, who will be available for interviews. Mobile no: 07831 558 810.

More information about the events below:

The diamond jubilee dinner is being held at the Queens Hotel on Thursday 29 April

The International Show at the Town Hall will start at 2pm on Friday 30 April, with the annual convention taking place at the Royal Armouries on Saturday 1 May and Sunday 2 May. The opening ceremony takes place at 9am on Saturday morning.

The Diamond Jubilee Gala Dinner will be held at the Royal Armouries on Saturday 1 May from 6.30pm.