Friday, 13 January 2012

Clean sweep as retailers join forces with city centre dirt-busters

A complete overhaul of Leeds city centre cleansing to more intensely target the busiest areas and keep the streets smart has gained the support of local retailers.

Leeds City Council’s city centre street cleansing squad was reorganised several months ago and provides a round-the-clock service that focuses more intensely on the areas that need it most and at the key times.

And their work is paying dividends as retailers are noticing the high standards of cleanliness in busy footfall areas. The council is also working with businesses to see what they can do to play their part to keep the environment clean, such as tackling the issue of trade waste left for collection so it is out for as short a time as possible.

David Laycock, chair of the Leeds Retail Association and centre director of the new Trinity Leeds development said:
“I think the cleansing service in the city centre is very good- I’m very impressed with the council’s commitment to raising standards. It’s an excellent idea to engage with the business community so they make a contribution and it becomes a partnership.

“We’re really behind helping the council’s ambition for Leeds to be the UK’s best city and with Trinity Leeds and the arena due to open in 2013 it’s our chance to celebrate and really make the city shine.”

Key to the new way of working for the city centre cleansing team is a priority system where the busiest areas such as Briggate receive a much more intense focus so litter is never allowed to build up.

Teams also begin cleaning the main city centre streets much earlier to clear litter left behind from night-time visitors in time for retail deliveries and day-time shoppers. They are also staggering lunch breaks so that litter bins are constantly emptied, especially at the busiest times.

Newer ways of working are also being examined, such as providing mechanical sweepers through the day rather than just during the night and new equipment is being trialled.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for environmental services at Leeds City Council, said:
“This is a fantastic example of the council focusing its work intelligently where it is most needed. We aren’t in a position to put any more cash into the service but we are making the best of our existing resources.

“I’m delighted at the feedback from David and am very encouraged by the willingness of retailers to work with us to keep the city as clean as it can be. I’m also very pleased at the enthusiasm and efforts of our cleansing team in making our new systems work.”

The teams communicate through a radio system so staff can respond quickly to any reports of problems. Between them the 50-strong cleansing team and their managers and supervisors now provide a 24-hour service 365 days a year.

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


Media opportunity - Leaders of the future needed to represent Leeds nationally

Leeds is calling for candidates to represent the young people of the city at the United Kingdom Youth Parliament.

The Youth Association and Leeds City Council are currently holding elections for Members of Youth Parliament (MYP) for Leeds and are looking for applications from any young person who lives or goes to school in Leeds and is aged between 11 and 18 years old.

Members of Youth Parliament (MYPs) are elected in every part of the UK and represent the views of the young people in their constituency. In Leeds there are four MYP positions available and two deputy MYPs.

Once elected, the successful candidates will regularly meet with MPs and local councillors, organise events, run campaigns, make speeches, hold debates and ensure the views of young people are listened to by decision makers.

Media opportunity:
When: Saturday 14 January at 2pm
Where: Leeds Civic Hall
Members of the Leeds Youth Council will be holding their regular meeting, at which former members of the Youth Parliament will be attending, who will be able to talk about their experiences as MYPs.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services, said:

“In Leeds we have set ourselves the challenge to become a Child Friendly City, and the only way we can do this is by giving the children and young people of our city a voice. Being a member of the Youth Parliament is a great opportunity to represent the views and needs of all young people in Leeds.

“This is a chance for young people to get their voices heard, and develop some vital skills for their own personal growth and development at the same time.

“So if you want the opportunity to influence national government decisions on important issues for children and young people and you can commit to one to five hours a week then I really recommend becoming a candidate in these elections.”

Kirsty Beeston, Operations Manager for the Youth Association, said:
“This is the first time that we have opened up the elections to all young people in Leeds, so we’re hoping to receive a record number of nominations from young people who are really passionate about having their voices heard and want to make a positive difference for all young people in Leeds. We also want a record number of young people to vote for their preferred candidate in the elections on 1st March. Expect to see a polling station at a school or youth group near you! Or log onto Breeze and make sure your vote is counted.

“Its more important than ever for young people to have a say about what’s important to them and stand up to save services that matter to them. Having elected representatives from Leeds on the United Kingdom Youth Parliament will really strengthen young people’s voice and influence and help Leeds to achieve its ambition to become the best city in the UK for children and young people.”

Any young person who is a resident of the UK, and aged between 11 and 18 years old (inclusive) has the right to stand for election as an MYP and the right to vote for their MYP.

The MYPs will need to find out the concerns and needs of other young people in their constituency, and represent these views to decision makers on a local, regional and national level. Becoming a MYP would mean having regular meetings at the House of Commons and in the constituency.

Each MYP’s experience is likely to be different from the next, but it provides an opportunity to develop a combination of the following skills:
• Communication
• Public speaking
• Greater knowledge of politics and current affairs
• The ability to look at an issue from someone else's perspective
• Debating
• Teamwork
• Leadership
• Organisational
• Negotiation

To apply visit the Breeze website at The deadline for applications is Monday 23 January.

For more information about UKYP please visit the following website, call 01924 333 400 or send an email to

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