Thursday, 21 October 2010

Put bin out on right day for new Leeds routes

Leeds will have completely new bin collection routes from Monday 25 October and people in the city are being reminded to put their bins out on their new days.

By the end of this week all residents affected by the changes should have received information and stickers detailing their new collection days under a system that will save Leeds £2.4 million a year.

Getting the collection days right is vital as crews across the city get used to new routes and collection systems.

Cllr Tom Murray, Leeds City Council executive member for environmental services, said:

“We have sent letters out to all residents who will be affected by these changes, so if you have received any post from the council please read it carefully as it may contain very important information on your new bin collection days.

“It’s really important that people make the effort to remember to put their bins out by 7am on the right days- that is the key to making our more efficient new routes work.

“We do appreciate that it will require residents to change their habits and there are bound to be teething problems, but bear with us and the new system will pay big dividends in making the service better and saving the city a considerable amount of money.”

Leeds City Council has been working closely with staff and trade unions to agree the more efficient routes and revised working practices. The crews have been helping in planning and testing out the new routes.

Crews currently collect only from their specified route. However, from 25 October, refuse collectors and drivers will work together in teams to ensure that all households in a particular area or zone have their bins emptied that day.

The new zone-style working will mean that if one crew is held up for any reason other crews in the area can help them once their streets are completed. Reports of missed bins will also be able to be dealt with more rapidly.

Householders will also benefit from revisions to routes which will mean that black and green bins will be collected on the same day of the week in nearly all cases. Currently in some areas these days differ.

Information about the new-look services will be posted on the council’s website at www.leeds.gov.uk . Residents can search for their current bin collection days by putting their postcode into a search box on the website. This will be updated with the new days as the new routes go live, but clearly not until then to avoid confusion. If you have not received your recycling and waste update newsletter containing your calendars by Monday 25 October email refusecollection@leeds.gov.uk or telephone 0113 222 4406 and the information will be sent out again. People living in multi-storey flats will not receive the mailings as their bins do not need to be put out for collection on specific days.

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

£380,000 announced for play areas in Leeds

Leeds City Council has today received the long-awaited decision on how much funding it will receive from the Department of Education to improve play facilities in the city.

The DfE has allocated £379,445 to Leeds to create new or refurbished play areas in the city. However the council was originally promised £607,000 as part of the Playbuilder funding, which was withdrawn earlier in the year.

Although disappointed that the allocation has been cut by nearly half the executive member responsible for children’s services Councillor Judith Blake is relieved that the decision has finally been made. She said:
“This is good news in that we now know how much we can spend on some great new play facilities for children across the city but we are now faced with some very difficult decisions as to which schemes will still be able to go ahead. Undoubtedly there will be some disappointed communities, but improving play facilities remains a priority for the council.”

In addition to the reduction, the grant allocation is no longer ring-fenced to only provide play facilities, so the council now needs to make the decision if this money would be better spent elsewhere. The council has already secured ‘match-funding’ for some of the proposed play areas which could be accessed if these schemes go ahead as planned.

The original Playbuilder budget was £1.1m to help pay for 22 new or refurbished play areas across Leeds. So far, 11 have been completed and one more is due to open soon.

The council will make a decision on the remaining sites shortly. These are:
Grove Road, Halton; Temple Newsam; Roundhay Park; Sandford Road, Kirkstall; Armley Moor; Victoria Park, Calverley; Windmill Road, Belle Isle; Seacroft Gardens; Naburn Close Park, Whinmoor and Butcher Hill Area, Kirkstall

ENDS
For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713
Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk

Leeds social care chief warns of tough decisions ahead

The councillor in charge of adult social care in Leeds has warned that tough decisions lie ahead for her department following the comprehensive spending review.

Chancellor George Osborne’s speech included a reference to increased funding for adult social care of £2bn by 2014/15. However, in the context of a 28% cut to overall council budgets, Councillor Lucinda Yeadon says this still leaves a huge pressure on the adult social care department’s budget.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon (executive member for adult health and social care) said:
“The £2bn announcement is welcome funding, but gets nowhere near to making up for what we will lose through the 28% cut to the council’s overall budget.

“Added to this, early indications are that around half of the £2bn will not be allocated to council adult social care budgets, but will instead be allocated to the NHS.

“The cuts to supporting people funding and the mobility element of disability living allowance for people in residential homes will also place extra pressure on our budget.

“People need to be aware that this funding doesn’t mean that everything is now rosy in terms of adult social care funding. We still have to take some very difficult decisions that will impact on the lives of many vulnerable people in Leeds, but as a council we are committed to doing all we can to ensure that we protect those people.”

Ends

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