Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Leeds on its marks as Olympic countdown reaches 100 days

A celebration event will be held in Leeds tomorrow to mark 100 days to the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

A hundred pupils from schools across Leeds will make a human figure of 100 on Millennium Square to acknowledge the symbolic milestone as the countdown continues to the world’s greatest sporting event coming to the United Kingdom later this summer.

The celebration will also announce the city centre square as being a ‘Live Site’ which will feature events and activities happening throughout the summer. This includes BBC coverage and special content of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Euro 2012 football championship, Wimbledon tennis and a series of live relays from the Royal Opera House on the big screen.

******************** Media opportunity ********************

All media are welcome to attend the photocall to mark 100 days to go to the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games. The photocall will take place at 10:30am in Millennium Square in Leeds city centre, with 100 Leeds schoolchildren marking out a human figure of '100'. Representatives from Leeds City Council will also be available for interview.
******************** Media opportunity ********************


As a city Leeds is playing a significant role in the London 2012 Olympic Games, hosting pre-Games training camps for some of the world’s leading athletes including those from China, Australia, the Netherlands and Canada.

The iconic symbol of the Games, the Olympic Torch, will also be spending three days in the city on June 19, June 24 and 25 – the only city outside London to host the torch on three separate days.

One of the highlights of the Torch Relay in Leeds will be a major free celebration event at Temple Newsam Park on Sunday 24 June, headlined by Friendly Fires and organised by Coca-Cola, a Presenting Partner of the Olympic Torch Relay, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and Leeds City Council.

Over 200 schools in Leeds are also engaged in the Olympics project ‘Spirit Alive’, which gives pupils the chance to lead, manage and deliver a mini-Olympic experience in their schools.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:

“The anticipation and excitement around the Olympics coming to the UK is starting to really build now and this is another milestone day as we get nearer to the opening ceremony at the end of July.

“Having been designated as a Live Site Millennium Square is going to be a focal point for a wide range of fantastic events and activities in the months to come as the country enjoys an incredible summer of celebration.”

Local communities along the torch relay route are being encouraged to host their own celebration events to mark the flame passing. Any group wishing to host or get involved in any celebrations along the route can contact Jon.price@leeds.gov.uk for more information.

For more information on Leeds and its work towards the London 2012 Olympic Games, visit www.leedsgold.co.uk

Notes to editors:

Leeds is one of 22 towns and cities across the UK to have official ‘Live Sites’. The sites, run in partnership between London 2012, the BBC and local authorities, and supported by the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor, partners BT and Lloyds TSB, and supporters Cisco and Cadbury, will be transformed from May with the screens being surrounded by London 2012 branding and seating provided at special events so crowds can watch the coverage in style.

The Olympic Torch Relay is being managed by The London 2012 Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) along with Presenting Partners Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung.

Leeds Gold is the city’s official brand to support the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. It has been developed to be used by individuals and organisations in the city in connection with any projects, events or activities that contribute to, and capitalise on, all the opportunities that the hosting of the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games present. It will provide an ‘umbrella’ brand that will link projects and events together and make a clear association with, and help celebrate, the London 2012 Games. For further information please go to www.leedsgold.co.uk

The Yorkshire region’s activities around the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games are being co-ordinated by Yorkshire Gold which is supported by key stakeholders from across the region. For further information visit www.yorkshire-gold.com

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Senior communications officer,
Leeds City Council, Tel 0113 247 5472
Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk

Persistent Blue Badge abuser prosecuted

A Leeds woman has become the first person in the city to be prosecuted for abusing the Blue Badge scheme that allows disabled people to park for free.

Charlotte Rank of Morley pleaded guilty under Section 117 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (Wrongful Use of a Disabled Persons Badge) at Leeds Magistrates Court last week.

She was ordered to pay £140 plus a £15 surcharge and £85 in costs.

Ms Rank was initially seen using a Blue Badge, issued to a disabled relative, while in the car on her own last year to avoid paying parking charges. Blue Badges can only be used when the person it has been issued to is driving or is a passenger in the vehicle.

Parking enforcement officers chose not to give Ms Rank a parking ticket on this occasion, instead advising her of when and how the badge should be used.

Despite assurances that she wouldn’t misuse the badge again, Ms Rank failed to listen to the guidance and warnings of the council’s parking enforcement officers and was subsequently issued with three parking tickets for exploiting the badge; twice for illegally using the badge to park for free and once for not displaying the badge or proper permit while parked in a resident’s only parking area.

The cost of parking tickets takes the total price of abusing the badge to £325.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive board member for environmental services, said:

“The rules on the use of Blue Badges are very clear. If you are found to be flouting these rules then we will take action.

“The system helps disabled people get to where they need to be easily. It’s our role to ensure that the system is being used properly and fairly otherwise tax payers foot the bill for fraud committed by other people and disabled people can end up being disadvantaged.

“If you have a genuine need for and are using the badge appropriately then you need not worry. But, if you take the abuse of Blue Badges lightly you really need to consider if it’s worth a fine and a criminal record.”

Ms Rank is just one of over 650 people caught abusing the Blue Badge scheme since October 2010. Ms Rank, along with other drivers identified and all badge holders have received a reminder that any abuse of the free parking system could see them end up in court.

If someone knows of fraudulent use of a Blue Badge, they should call 0113 247 4645 or email concerns@leeds.gov.uk. This service is confidential and calls can be made anonymously.

They should provide as many details as possible – such as the badge's serial number, the vehicle colour, make, model and registration number, where the vehicle displaying the badge usually parks, the name and address of the badge holder, the name and address of the person misusing the badge.

For more information, go to www.dft.gov.uk/transportforyou/access/bluebadge


Notes to editors:

Blue Badges are only for the use of the registered holder and illegal users of badges face fines of up to £1,000 and prosecution if they are caught.

Badges must not be loaned to family or friends or they can be withdrawn. They should be returned to the council if they are badly faded or damaged, expired, no longer being used by the badge holder, if the holder has died or if the holder’s condition changes and they are no longer eligible.

ENDS
For media enquiries please contact:
Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577
e-mail: amanda.l.burns@leeds.gov.uk