Thursday, 16 September 2010

Councillors put the spokes in motion for new cycle route

The first of a series of cycle routes, which will form the Leeds Core Cycle Network will be officially opened on Monday 20 September.

The route is designed to conveniently connect Middleton, Belle Isle, Hunslet, Cross Green and the city centre for commuting cyclists . It also provides a safe route to school for pupils of South Leeds High School and numerous primary schools in the area.

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All media are invited to the ribbon cutting ceremony, on 20 September at 12.30pm, at Middleton Circus which will mark the official launch of the cycle route. Cllr Wakefield will be cutting the ribbon, and will be available for interview, as well as council officers from transport policy who have been involved in the project.

Media are also invited to the cycle safety session on Victoria Gardens on Wednesday 22 September from 11am to 2pm. Cyclists will get the chance to sit in the drivers seat of a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) fitted with extra mirrors to see where the danger areas lie when cycling round such large vehicles.
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The event on Victoria Gardens will provide a cycle safety near HGV demonstration, and the opportunity to get your bicycle security marked for free, and road safety advice.

Cyclists are particularly vulnerable near HGVs, so the council has teamed up with Cemex UK Ltd to raise the awareness of cycle safety near HGVs.

Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Keith Wakefield said:“This new cycle route between Middleton and the city centre is a fantastic idea. It allows people of all cycling abilities the chance to travel in and out from south Leeds on a route that is mainly traffic-free and that avoids busy roads. Choosing to use the route regularly will help people save a bit of cash and get fit at the same time.

“The event on Victoria Gardens will give cyclists the perfect opportunity to meet with the HGV driver and pick up some safety advice about cycling, especially near these large vehicles.”

Some minor work is still needed to complete the cycle route, including improvements to the subway under the M621 and its approaches, but it is now usable by bicycle all the way from Thorpe Lane in Middleton to the Cycle Point storage and hire facility at Leeds City Station.

The route also provides possibilities for cycling for fun and fitness. It links to the Aire Valley Towpath and Trans Pennine Trail National Cycle Network routes and also passes Middleton Park, The John Charles Centre for Sport, Middleton Railway, The Royal Armouries and The Works Skatepark. It uses mainly off road tracks and quiet roads and is suitable for novice cyclists.

Copies of the route map are in preparation and will be available to download from www.leeds.gov.uk/cyclemaps, or in hard copy by emailing travelwise@leeds.co.uk.


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For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk

The future’s green

Following a commitment by 11 local authorities and other partners, the Leeds City Region has moved a step closer to achieving its vision of a greener future.

The Leeds City Region Green Infrastructure Strategy has been prepared by the local authorities and their partners, including Natural England, the Forestry Commission and Environment Agency, using consultants LDA Design, to offer a clear blueprint to guide environmental investment to underpin economic vitality and environmental health.

The strategy identifies a series of projects and programmes to align future investment in green infrastructure by the private, public and civic sectors with the city region’s wider economic regeneration objectives and plans. Priority projects include ‘Fresh Aire’, a major initiative to co-ordinate green infrastructure actions with development proposals in the Aire Valley, and ‘Urban Green Adaptation’, to enable the city region’s urban areas to become more resilient to the effects of climate change.

Cllr Gardner, chair of the Leeds City Region Economic Drivers and Innovation Panel said:
“Our mission is to develop a competitive, internationally recognised city region. Our green infrastructure assets are crucial to delivering on this mission – encouraging and promoting economic growth, healthier communities and supporting climate change adaptation and mitigation.”

Peter Nottage, regional director at Natural England said:
“The creation and careful management of attractive green spaces can bring a number of benefits to local businesses, people and environment. Our natural environment is not a by-product of economic growth, but a fundamental driver and shaper of that growth. Transport and utility networks are planned and coordinated - our green spaces should be managed in the same way.”

The Leeds City Region is home to nearly 3m residents and covers over 5,000km² including York, Bradford, Wakefield and Harrogate. Investment in a high quality environment has been proven to attract new businesses and enable governments to meet tough targets on climate change and halting biodiversity loss. Similar strategies have been a success in other urban areas throughout Europe.
The Leeds City Region Green Infrastructure Strategy can be downloaded from www.leedscityregion.gov.uk

Notes for editors
For further information, contact Melanie Taylor at Leeds City Council on 0113 395 0382 melanie.taylor@leeds.gov.uk or Emma Lusby at Natural England on 0300 060 4231 emma.lusby@naturalengland.org.u

Green infrastructure includes semi-natural habitats such as woodlands and river corridors; nature reserves and other outdoor destinations; and cultural and historic sites such as parks and buildings. In urban areas, green infrastructure assets include open spaces such as allotments, public parks and cemeteries.

Traditionally, environmental planning has looked at the functions of these assets in isolation, such as biodiversity, open space provision or public realm design. A green infrastructure approach considers how together these assets form an overall ‘system’. In particular, green infrastructure planning embraces the full range of social, economic and environmental benefits that green infrastructure assets can provide when considered together.
The Leeds City Region includes Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, Wakefield, Barnsley, York, Craven, Harrogate, and Selby and parts of North Yorkshire.

Natural England is the government’s advisor on the natural environment. We work for people, places and nature to conserve and enhance biodiversity, landscapes and wildlife in rural, urban, coastal and marine areas. We conserve and enhance the natural environment for its intrinsic value, the wellbeing and enjoyment of people, and the economic prosperity it brings www.naturalengland.org.uk

Founded in 1979, LDA Design is a renowned independent design and environment business driven by a commitment to shape the world for the better. We help our clients regenerate communities, create special places, manage resources and realise their development and commercial goals. For more information visit the website: www.lda-design.co.uk
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For press/media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, press and media manager
Leeds City Council Press Office Tel: 0113 224 3602

Leeds volunteering awards - nominations needed by 30 September





There are just two weeks left for people to get their nominations in for the Leeds volunteering awards.

There are armies of unsung heroes in Leeds who give their time and energy for free to help charitable organisations, improve the lives of vulnerable people and put something back into the community. If you know a person or a group of people that have made a real difference to you or your local community through voluntary work, why not let them know how much their efforts are appreciated by nominating them for a volunteering award?

But don’t delay…the closing date for nominations is 30 September. So make your nomination today by visiting www.leedsyearofvolunteering.co.uk or pick up a form from Volunteer Centre Leeds.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive member with responsibility for the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering said:
“There are loads of volunteers in Leeds, who freely give their time and energy to make other people’s lives better and improve the environment that we all live in. Some of our volunteers don’t even consider themselves to be that; they’re just ordinary people that want to help others that might be going through difficult times, or charitable organisations that need help to provide a service.

“We think that all volunteers are special, and its time for their contribution to our city to be recognised. 2010 is the Leeds Year of Volunteering and a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the contribution that all our volunteers make as well as encourage more people to get involved.

“The volunteering awards are your chance to speak up about the people that make a difference to you. I would strongly urge you to take a few minutes out to nominate anyone that you feel makes a real difference to local lives and communities, so that we can acknowledge the vital contribution they make.”

Leeds City Council and Voluntary Action Leeds introduced the Leeds Volunteering Awards as part of the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering. Its an awards scheme that allows any resident of Leeds to nominate a volunteer or group of volunteers that they feel deserve a pat on the back for the unpaid work they have done to the benefit of others. Volunteers can also nominate themselves or the group that they work with if they wish to.

The awards will be presented at an event at Leeds Civic Hall in December. There will be an award for each of the 10 volunteering themes taking place throughout the year, which are:
February - volunteering for health and wellbeing
March - volunteering in every neighbourhood
April - volunteering across the generations
May - volunteering in literacy and learning
June - valuing volunteering in Leeds
July - volunteering for leisure- sports, arts and culture
August - volunteering and environment, parks and wildlife
September - volunteering for a safer Leeds
October - volunteering for all
November - children and young people’s volunteering month

In addition to this, there will be awards in six additional categories:
Transform - recognises an individual who has continuously worked to make a difference and change things for the better.
Group - recognises volunteers who by supporting each other and using team work accomplish great things.
Inspiration - recognises an individual who has used creativity and passion to engage and inspire others to volunteer and get involved in a community.
Committed - recognises an individual who has regularly volunteered, devoting their time and energy to one or several projects and has made a lasting impact.
Newcomer - recognises an individual who is new to volunteering and in a small space of time has had a big impact.
Corporate - recognises people who volunteer through their work.

The closing date for nominations is 30 September 2010. Everyone who is nominated for an award will receive a letter of thanks. Shortlisted finalists will be invited to the awards evening on 1 December at Leeds Civic Hall.

Anyone can make a nomination by visiting the year of volunteering website: http://www.leedsyearofvolunteering.co.uk and completing an online form. Alternatively, forms are available from Volunteer Centre Leeds, Enterprise House, 12 St Pauls Street, LS1 2LE.

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