Monday, 26 March 2012

Unwanted appliances find a good home

Household appliances destined for disposal are being given a new lease of life thanks to a new agreement between Leeds City Council and local community reuse groups.

Unwanted, large electrical items left at Leeds’ household waste sorting sites are being tested and repaired so the local community groups can sell them on to local people that need them.

The new deal will see refurbished vacuum cleaners, fridges and freezers, microwaves, televisions, cookers, washing machines and driers put to good use by SLATE, Sidney Bridge, Emmaus and Safe Haven.

Normally, the items would be broken up for recycling. Now, their life will be extended, making sure that valuable resources are reused. The scheme is being supported by Weee Link, the company responsible for collecting waste electronic and electrical equipment from Leeds’ household waste sorting sites.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for environmental services said:

“This agreement is a win-win situation for all involved; we make sure that items that would otherwise go to waste are repaired and reused while local community reuse groups can help people with household goods that they might otherwise not be able to afford.

“This is another practical demonstration of our commitment to reusing household items wherever possible, reducing our impact on the environment.”

Items left at Leeds’ nine household waste sorting sites are checked to see if they can be salvaged. If they can, they are tested and repaired.

Under the new agreement, SLATE, Sidney Bridge, Emmaus and Safe Haven will be able to sell items on, safe in the knowledge they have been fully tested, helping to raise money for their cause.


For media enquiries please contact:
Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577


New hygiene scoring system for Leeds’ restaurants

Caption: Businesses are being encouraged to display new hygiene scoring stickers and certificates.

Diners across Leeds will soon see a new scoring system that tells them how clean their chosen eatery is.

The popular Scores on the Doors scheme for restaurants, cafés, sandwich shops, takeaways and other businesses selling food across the city is being replaced by the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme from 1 April.

Rigorous inspections will still be carried out by food hygiene inspectors from Leeds City Council. Businesses will be encouraged to display the result of their inspection with a new green rating sticker and certificate based on a scoring system run by the Food Standards Agency.

Scores will be awarded on a scale of zero to five, with zero meaning ‘’urgent improvement necessary’ through to five, which shows the venue is ‘very good’.

As well as businesses displaying their rating sticker and certificates, ratings can be viewed at, giving diners a glimpse into what happens in the kitchen before they book a table or place an order.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for environmental services said:

“Scores on the Doors has been run very successfully in Leeds for a number of years. The changeover to the new system will still give consumers the confidence that where they choose to eat is clean and safe. It will also continue to encourage businesses to improve their standards and promote a bit of healthy competition”.

Cities across England are adopting the Food Standard Agency’s national scheme, bringing consistency and giving diners a simple, easy to use system regardless of where they are eating out.

The ratings give diners an overview of how well businesses are complying with food hygiene regulations. Inspectors check how food is prepared, cooked, cooled and stored; the layout, lighting, ventilation and cleanliness of the equipment and how the business manages and records what it does to keep food safe.

Notes to editors:
• From 1 April, food businesses in Leeds will be issued with a new Food Hygiene Rating Scheme score based on their previous Scores on the Doors rating.

For media enquiries please contact:
Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577


Leeds women prosecuted over garden mess

Failing to clear up gardens in Whinmoor (top) and Beeston (below) land residents in court.

Leeds residents are counting the cost of ignoring advice and warnings on how to deal with their household waste.

Despite numerous reminders, Leanne Foyle of Ash Tree Approach, Whinmoor and Chelsea Blankhorn of Normanton Grove, Beeston were found guilty of failing to clear domestic waste and household items from their gardens.

Both women were handed a £350 fine each from Leeds Magistrates Court. Ms Foyle was told to pay £428 costs to Leeds City Council and a £15 victim surcharge while Ms Blankhorn was also told to pay costs of £379.43 and a £15 victim surcharge.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for environmental services said:

“Why anyone would allow household rubbish and furniture to pile up on their own doorstep is beyond me and I can only imagine what it must have been like for neighbours and the wider community. We’re always willing to work with people and to provide advice if they need it. But, when you repeatedly ignore that advice and your responsibilities we can and will take action.”

Problems at Ms Foyle’s Whinmoor property became apparent in December 2011 when an officer from the council’s locality team spotted around 20 bags of rubbish piled up in the back garden along with a mattress.

Ms Foyle was repeatedly advised to dispose of the waste appropriately, but she continued to let the mound of black bags, food and other household rubbish, grow and fester in her garden.

Leeds City Council has now cleared the garden and will be recovering these costs from Ms Foyle too.

A sofa was left abandoned in Ms Blankhorn’s Beeston garden. She too ignored numerous warning to remove the furniture.

The council used it’s powers under Section 92 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to require both residents to clean up their gardens within 28 days. They ignored these final legal notices and ended up in court.

For media enquiries please contact:
Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577


Leeds accepts national call to be dementia-friendly city

Leeds City Council will formally commit to becoming a dementia-friendly community at a conference organised by the Alzheimer’s Society today (Monday).

This is part of a nationwide bid by the Alzheimer’s Society and the Department of Health to create dementia-friendly communities right across the country.

People with dementia and their families are at high risk of social isolation, and this programme of work is aimed at improving public awareness and understanding of the condition.

The Alzheimer's Society and the Dementia Action Alliance will create a formal process, accountable to people with dementia and families through local Dementia Action Alliances. Evidence and standards will be published in summer 2013. There will be three stages: Ambition - signing up and making the commitment; Planning – which includes defining what makes a place dementia-friendly; Working – making changes locally and submitting evidence to the Dementia Action Alliance. The award of dementia-friendly community will be reviewed annually.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for adult health and social care said:
"Dementia is one of the greatest challenges facing our ageing society. People are living for longer, which is really good news, but it also means that more people and their families are faced with trying to cope with the effects of diseases like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

“People with dementia often feel very vulnerable; and the same can be said for their carers. However, it is still possible that, with the right information and services, people can live well with the condition. Its vitally important that support networks are in place to help people feel more able to cope with their condition, and get reassurance about some of the changes that they are going through.

"Leeds is striving to be the best city in the UK, and we want to take that a step further by being the best city for living well with dementia. Our commitment to becoming a dementia-friendly community will help us to focus on raising public awareness of the condition, and start addressing some of the attitudes and lack of understanding that exist and create unnecessary barriers for vulnerable people and their families.”

The Alzheimer’s Society will announce the initiative at its annual ‘State of the Nation’ conference on 26 March 2012, including those places which are prepared to make a public commitment. Places and organisations making the commitment by 23 March will be included in this initial announcement.

Additional info

A local event called ‘Better lives for people with dementia in Leeds’ will take place on 23 May as part of National Dementia Awareness Week.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578

Trio fined for burning cable

Caught in the act: burning cable is a criminal offence.

Three men have been fined for unlawfully burning the plastic from cables to get at the copper wires inside.

Mark Davies of Cottingley Heights, Paul Newbury and Ellis Hirsch, both from Cardinal Avenue, were found guilty under Section 33 of the Clean Air Act 1993 at Leeds Magistrates Court earlier this month.

Each was fined £525, ordered to pay £282 costs to Leeds City Council and a £15 victim surcharge.

Leeds City Council’s locality team brought the case to court after the trio were caught red handed by Environment Agency officers. The three men were photographed setting fire to cable on derelict land at Crows Nest Lane, Beeston on 9 September last year when Environment Agency officers attended the site.

Burning cable removes the plastic or other covering and reveals the copper or other materials inside. As the cable is burned, it gives off highly polluting and toxic smoke and is a criminal offence.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for environmental services said:

“It doesn’t matter where you got the cable from, burning it is an environmental crime. These men put themselves and others at risk and by working with our partners we’ll do whatever we can to stamp out irresponsible behaviour that threatens to pollute our local environment.”

Steven Robinson, environment officer with the Environment Agency said:

“I was on my way to work when I spotted black smoke coming from the site. I knew cable burning had taken place at this location before but no-one had ever been caught. Our work with Leeds City Council’s locality team has meant these men have been prosecuted for a crime against the environment.”

For media enquiries please contact:
Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577