Thursday, 20 October 2011

Russian divers make a splash at Aquatics Centre in Leeds

Captions: Russia's senior diving squad trained at the Aquatics Centre at the John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds today after the announcement they will be based in the city in the build-up to the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Images from top:

Victor Minibaev (left) and Ilya Zakharov (right) in action in 10m platform synchro

Double world championship silver medallist Ilya Zakharov on springboard

Nadezda Bazhina (left) and Svetlana Philippova (right) on 3m synchro springboard

Bazhina and Philippova synchronised as they prepare to hit the water

Group shot of the squad outside the Aquatics Centre

Eight members of the senior squad and their support staff are in Leeds this week to familiarise themselves with the city and the Aquatics Centre at the John Charles Centre for Sport, which will be their UK training base in the run-up to the Games in London next summer.

As part of the agreement signed between the Russian Diving Federation and Leeds City Council, the squad will return to Leeds in February before the London 2012 diving test event, and will then hold a final pre-Games training camp in July.

During their visit to Leeds this week, the squad will get to meet local young people as pupils from the Leeds West Academy, Cockburn High School and pupils studying Russian at Lawnswood High School will watch them train.


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, senior communications officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email:

Headingley residents urged to join environmental clean-up campaign

A six-week campaign to clean up the streets of Headingley and Hyde Park is being launched as students and other residents are urged to help improve their neighbourhood.

Littering, poor parking and other anti-social acts are being targeted as Leeds City Council begins a sustained operation to clean up, educate residents and then take action against anyone ignoring their responsibilities.

It is part of an on-going push by the council to improve the environment in Headingley and Hyde Park and will be followed up with further efforts throughout the year.

Over the next few weeks council officers, working with partner organisations, will be out and about targeting bad habits with bins and other inconsiderate behaviour such as noise nuisance and irresponsible parking, as well advising on safety in the community.

The campaign begins with an intense focus on the bins belonging to 3,400 households. Addresses will be stencilled on them and letters will be posted through doors with reminders about how the local environment could be improved.

Included in the letters are details about:
• putting bins out on time and bringing them back in again when emptied;
• how to contact the bulky waste collection service;
• information about local recycling points;
• how to report littering and the potential £75 fixed penalty cost of dropping it;
• advice on parking sensibly and safely;
• a reminder to lock doors and windows and leave lights on as nights get darker.

This will be followed by a fortnight-long education campaign where council staff will be knocking on doors to offer direct advice to residents.

After making sure that the message has been given loud and clear, the campaign will then move into an enforcement phase where fixed penalty or other legal notices are handed out.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for environmental services, Leeds City Council, said:
“We know that many residents of Headingley and Hyde Park are students who may not be familiar with how to use local services, so this is why we are focusing first on education.

“No matter how small-scale you might think dropping a piece of litter might be, it all adds up to a poorer neighbourhood for everybody. We want to empower residents to do their bit to help keep their neighbourhood nice.

“However, after ensuring everyone has the appropriate advice and information, we will then move on to making sure this message is brought home with enforcement action including fixed penalty notices.”

During the build-up to the campaign, plenty of work has been going on over the past few months in the area. Communal bin points are being introduced in areas where space is tight, the probation service has been helping with binyard clearances and a sustained programme of graffiti removal has been taking place.

A variety of partner websites are also being used to host year-round messages to back up the themes of the campaign.

For media enquiries please contact:
Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335


Cleaner, greener vehicles net council national award

A pioneering Leeds City Council scheme to reduce carbon emissions has won a prestigious national award.

A pilot launched last year which saw the council purchase two refuse collection vehicles running on biomethane gas rather than conventional fuel has proven a roaring success, with emissions from these two vehicles up to 60% lower than traditional refuse trucks. The vehicles are also quieter than standard trucks.

The results were so impressive that in March this year the council became the first local authority in the country to open its own biomethane fuel station. In time, the council hopes to enable more of its fleet to run on the clean fuel and open up its new fuel station to other vehicle operators. This could not only help other organisations reduce their emissions but could also cut the Council’s vehicle fuel bill by £350,000 a year.

The environmental credentials of the project have now been recognised with a Green Apple award from the Green Organisation. The council will also now be considered to represent Britain in the European Business Awards for the Environment.

Cllr Mark Dobson, executive board member for environmental services, said:
“We are extremely committed to reducing our carbon emissions in any way we can, so it is great news that this innovative and groundbreaking scheme has received national recognition.

“Our vehicles make a significant contribution to the council’s CO2 emissions, but the two biomethane trucks have been a huge early success in combating this. They are much better for the environment and also hold their own on performance against the current fleet, collecting a thousand bins a day, six days a week.

“The opening in Leeds of the first council-run biomethane filling station in the country indicates that we intend to continue to lead the way in the fight against climate change. Hopefully in the near future we will be able to operate more vehicles on this fuel and open the facility up to other organisations, which will help our efforts to make Leeds a greener city.”

Notes to editors
The Green Apple Awards began in 1994 and have become established as the country’s major recognition for environmental endeavour among companies, councils, communities and countries. The awards are organised by The Green Organisation, an independent, non-political, non-activist, non-profit environment group dedicated to recognising and promoting environmental best practice.

Judges for the Green Apple Awards are drawn from the Environment Agency, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the Chartered Institution for Wastes Management and other independent bodies.

Biomethane is a natural gas produced during the breakdown of organic materials such as food waste, manure or agricultural waste

The majority of funding for the new £150,000 fuelling station has come from Cenex, (Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell technologies) under the Department for Transport Alternative Fuels Infrastructure grant programme as well as the Local Transport Fund. Leeds City Council has also contributed to the cost.


For media enquiries, please contact;
James Hopton, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577

Essential repair work to start on Stanningley Road

Road resurfacing work will start next week on Monday 24 October on Stanningley Road, Armley.

The work will take place between Eyres Terrace and Pasture Mount and is restricted to 9.30am to 3.30pm Monday to Friday and 7am to 7pm Saturday and Sunday.

During these times the road will be closed to traffic travelling westbound and appropriate diversions will be in place.

The work is to replace the upper layers of the existing road. It is expected to be completed by 4 November.

Advance information boards have been placed on site advising motorists of the road works and possible delays.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive member responsible for city development, said:

“This is essential maintenance work which we will endeavour to complete as quickly as possible. In the meantime we apologise for any inconvenience to motorists and advise them to please plan ahead and allow extra time for their journey as delays are expected.”


For media enquiries please contact:

Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office tel: (0113) 224 3602