Thursday, 5 July 2012

Recycling gadgets at school is easy WEEE-sy

Top: Councillor Mark Dobson and the Green Team at Whitecote Primary School get ready to use their new WEEE bank for the first time.

Below: Councillor Mark Dobson helps Green Team members (l to r) Lauren Popple, Madison Fearnley and Lillie Tomkinson recycle their unwanted gadgets and cables.

To make recycling across the city even easier, recycling banks for unwanted gizmos and gadgets are being placed in a number of Leeds schools.

The bottle-bank style containers will be appearing in fifteen playgrounds before the end of term so parents and carers can drop off their broken or unwanted small electrical items when they drop the kids off at school.

Another fifteen will go into schools after the summer break.

Everything from clapped out computer keyboards, toasted toasters, wrecked radios, out of order irons, has-been hair straighteners and busted battery powered toys can be left in the new WEEE (Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment) banks.

1,247 tonnes of small electrical gizmos were recycled in Leeds in 2011/12. The banks will help Leeds residents recycle even more electronic items and support the ever-increasing network of Leeds schools striving to become more sustainable.

It’s estimated that one million tonnes of electrical items are thrown away in the UK each year and this type of waste is growing three times faster than any other type of waste.

The items will be collected by the council’s partner Weeelink, and broken down so that the valuable metals and plastics can go on to become car parts, pipe, wire and new mobile phones.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment said:

“We’ve got to make it as easy as possible for people to recycle so combining the walk to school with an opportunity to recycle makes perfect sense.

“Gadgets go out of fashion so quickly or simply break but we have to ensure that the valuable resources they contain can be recycled. That way, we can reap the environmental and financial benefits.

“I know our schools are really embracing a green ethos and the WEEE banks will allow school staff, pupils and parents to go that little bit further while caring for the environment.”

The first of the new WEEE banks has been installed at Whitecote Primary School in Moorside to coincide with the celebratory Green Day.

Headteacher Karen Allan said:

“Staff and pupils from all year groups have been getting their teeth stuck into projects geared towards making us a cleaner, greener school. Having our own electronics recycling bank is just another way for us to demonstrate to the community that our actions do count.

“It will be a real focal point for us in the run up to the end of term and will give us lots of opportunities to discuss recycling, the environment and climate change on an ongoing basis. I know the whole school community will be keen to fill the bank as quickly as possible and showcase our green credentials.”

To kick start electronics recycling, all schools that fill their WEEE bank before the end of term will receive a £50 reward from Weeelink.

Once all 30 WEEE banks have been placed in schools, an incentive scheme will be introduced to reward the highest performing schools. Schools that collect the most waste electronics will receive cash prizes that they can invest in other green projects.

The WEEE banks have been funded through the WEEE Local Authority Project Fund, a fund established for new projects seeking to increase the re-use and recycling of household waste electronics in their area.

The funding was provided by VALPAK, appointed by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) to operate the WEEE Distributor Takeback Scheme. This scheme is supported by retailers and provides arrangements for customers to recycle unwanted electricals.


Notes to editors:

Items that can be placed in the WEEE banks include: battery operated toys, CD players, chargers, clocks and watches, computer keyboards, electrical DIY and gardening tools, DVD players, cables, electric toothbrushes, electric toys, hairdryers, hair straighteners, internet boxes, irons, kettles, phones, radios, remote controls, shavers, small electric fans, small kitchen appliances, toasters and video cameras.

The first fifteen WEEE banks are being placed in: Whitecote Primary School, Five Lanes Primary School, Stanningley Primary School, Guiseley School, Weetwood Primary School, Bramhope Primary School, Horsforth Newlaithes Primary School, Yeadon Westfield Infant School, Rawdon Littlemore, Broadgate Primary School, Kippax North Junior, Infant and Nursery School, Alwoodley Primary School, Westerton Primary School, Cottingley Primary School, Rothwell C of E Primary School and Drighlington Primary School.

Currently over a third of all schools are registered with the Leeds sustainable schools framework working to improve their environmental performance across a range of areas including energy, waste, building, grounds and global links.

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


Poster winners help to make Leeds bloom

Winners of the Leeds In Bloom design a poster competition (left to right) Andeep Ghataure, Max Burley, India Claybourn, Jenna Giles, Abbie Bellwood at Temple Newsam (top image) and the design by 10-year-old India Claybourn (lower image).

The competition sponsored by Evans Property Group was open to all four to 14-year-olds in Leeds, with the winners receiving bug kits to encourage wildlife in gardens.


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Senior communications officer,
Leeds City Council, Tel 0113 247 5472

Council unites to fight closure of children’s heart unit

Following the announcement to close the children’s heart unit in Leeds, a motion confirming the council’s support for an appeal to the Secretary of State will be put to full council next week.

The motion will seek support across the political spectrum to press ahead with a referral of the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trust’s decision to the Secretary of State for Health.

In a joint statement, the leaders of all the political parties at Leeds City Council - Councillor Keith Wakefield, Councillor Andrew Carter, Councillor Stewart Golton, Councillor Robert Finnegan and Councillor Ann Blackburn - said:

“This is a devastating blow to families who will be faced with additional, unnecessary stress at a time when their sole concern is the well being of their children.

“The outpouring of disappointment, anger and frustration at yesterday’s decision is a clear signal that the unit is viewed as vital by people across the region.

“Without a gold standard specialist heart service for children in Leeds, too many people will be disadvantaged. We cannot allow the lives and health of these children and families to be determined by this flawed decision.

“We are totally committed to fighting this decision on behalf of the 14 million people living within a two hour drive of Leeds and will be referring it immediately to the Secretary of State.”

The meeting of the council takes place on Wednesday 11 July at 1.30pm at Civic Hall.

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


Can you solve the royal mystery at Lotherton Hall ?

Caption: The portrait by Willem Key of the unnamed woman and the royal 'CR' brand belonging to King Charles I which can be seen in the oak panelling

A portrait painting at the centre of a royal mystery from one of the most dramatic periods in English history is the latest attraction to go on display at Lotherton Hall in Leeds.

The painting of an unknown woman by the Flemish artist Willem Key dated 1559 is now on show at the Leeds City Council-managed visitor attraction near Aberford. The mystery is not only the identity of the lady herself, but also why not one but two kings of England chose to own the painting.

King Charles I was the first to own the painting, which is of the unidentified lady dressed in black with a starched lace cap on her head and a ruff round her neck. Around her waist is a gold chain and on her fingers are five gold rings, one of them set with a black stone.

Proof of the monarch’s possession can be seen on the oak panelling, which features the unmistakeable ‘CR’ brand indicating ownership by Charles I. The king was a renowned collector of Old Master paintings, and following his execution for treason in 1649 after his defeat in the English Civil War the painting like most of the collection was sold.

For the next 11 years England was under republican rule, before the Restoration saw Charles’ son Charles II take the throne as King of England in 1660. The new monarch set about recovering his father’s possessions, which saw the mystery painting returned to royal ownership.

In the 1700s it was purchased by the famous collector and connoisseur Horace Walpole who sold it in 1770 and it was not seen again until the early 1900s when it was bought by Leonard Cunliffe, the brother-in-law of Mrs Gwendolen Gascoigne of Lotherton Hall.

The painting went on to be owned by a private collector in Yorkshire, who has now loaned it back to Lotherton where it is on show until the end of the year.

Curator of collections at Lotherton Hall Adam White said:

“We are delighted to have this portrait on display at Lotherton Hall as it contains a genuine royal mystery which throws up lots of fascinating questions.

“Who was the woman in the painting ? Why did King Charles I claim it for the royal collection ? And why did his son Charles II make sure it was then returned to the crown more than a decade later – was it purely because his father had previously owned it, or was there something more to it in terms of their relationship with her ? We may never find out, but if anyone can shed any light on her identity we’d love to know.”

For more information on Lotherton Hall, visit the website at


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Senior communications officer,
Leeds City Council, Tel 0113 247 5472

Leeds to get UK's first modern trolleybus network

Go-ahead for Leeds to have the UK's first modern trolleybus network will deliver a massive boost for the region's economic recovery.

“I’m delighted to announce that Metro and Leeds City Council have been given approval for their job-creating, economy-boosting, environment-improving, time-saving, carbon-reducing, congestion-busting NGT trolleybus scheme,” said Metro Chairman Cllr James Lewis responding to the government’s announcement of £173.5m funding to enable the Leeds New Generation Transport (NGT) trolleybus network, the first modern trolleybus network in the UK, to go ahead.

“This is great news for our region, by speeding up journeys into and around Leeds, improving local connectivity and preventing the growth of congestion, NGT will provide a £160m per annum boost to the local economy and the creation of 4,000 permanent jobs.

“Transport is a key driver of productivity and investment in local transport infrastructure is investment in the long-term economic future of the Leeds City Region,” he continued. “NGT will speed up our recovery from recession, boost our economy and enhance our ability to compete on the national and international stage,”

Cllr Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s Executive Member for Development & the Economy said,
“This is a huge injection of cash to the City Region, which will finally enable us to deliver a high-quality rapid transit network that is essential for a city of Leeds’ calibre. It will mean that Leeds becomes the first city in the UK to join the growing number of cities across Europe adopting this technology which is vital for our future economic growth and for the needs of our growing population.”

Having now gained ‘Programme Entry Approval’ Metro and Leeds City Council can now begin the formal process for obtaining the legal powers needed to operate a modern trolleybus network. These powers will be sought through a 'Transport and Works Act Order' this autumn, followed by a Public Inquiry in 2013, and construction could then begin in 2016 with the UK’s first new trolleybuses operating by 2018.

Details of the planned NGT trolleybus network can be found at


For further information and CGI images of modern trolleybuses, contact Metro’s PR Office on 0113 251 7419 or

Notes to Editors
Known as NGT, which stands for New Generation Transport, the proposed trolleybus network would link two new park-and-ride sites at the north and south edges of Leeds with the city centre, and would also connect the city’s universities And General Infirmary.

This would speed up journey times for people commuting to the city from across West Yorkshire and the Leeds City Region. It is also predicted that it could create 4,000 new jobs as well as other business opportunities.

Current designs are for approximately 63% of the route segregated from general traffic, with 40% of the overall route being for NGT vehicles only;

Approximately 3,000 park and ride spaces are planned; 2,200 of them at Stourton to the south of the city and 800 at Bodington to the north

The total length of the network would be 14km.

European cities such as Lyon, Zurich and Rome as well as others are already using modern trolleybuses, which deliver fast, smooth and quiet acceleration, without polluting the local environment. In Leeds, modern trolleybuses, which are easily accessible for wheelchair users and people with buggies, would use dedicated lanes wherever possible to help avoid congestion, making journeys quicker and more reliable.

Why NGT for Leeds and its City Region?Metro and Leeds City Council developed plans for a trolleybus network to provide a greener solution to growing traffic levels in the city after Leeds was told by the Government to develop a bus based transport scheme when its plans for a Supertram network were turned down in 2005.

What are trolleybuses?Modern Trolleybuses are buses that run on electricity from overhead wires. With better acceleration and braking performance, trolleybuses can outperform traditional diesel buses on flat stretches as well as on hills.

Like other electric vehicles, trolleybuses are quiet and do not pollute the local environment.

Modern trolleybuses usually have a small auxiliary engine or power source to enable them to travel independently from the overhead wires if required which means they can travel round obstacles.

Some cities across Europe refer to modern trolleybus as “ebus”. Further information relating to ebus can be found at the following link.

KPMG proposes to lease new city centre offices

CGS: an artist's impression of KPMG's new offices on Sovereign Street, Leeds

KPMG has agreed terms to occupy a new 60,000 sq ft office development, which will be the first of three buildings proposed around a new area of green public space on Sovereign Street, the site of the former Queen’s Hall adjacent to Bibi’s restaurant.

Sovereign Leeds Ltd (SLL) has exchanged an agreement for lease with Leeds City Council in relation to the first plot of the Sovereign Street development site which will be occupied by KPMG.

Muse Developments Ltd will provide SLL with the funding and development platform to progress the KPMG office development which will be the first new build office in Leeds city centre since 2006.

London-based architect, Scott Brownrigg, has been appointed to design the building and the initial visuals are released today. These are being presented to Leeds City Centre Plans Panel members. Leeds City Council will also be presenting to Plans Panel their proposals for the public greenspace and a detailed planning application for this area will also be submitted later this year.

David Wells, Development Director, Muse Developments said: "We are very excited about the opportunity for Muse to undertake its first major office development in Leeds city centre and we look forward to working closely with our partners to deliver one of the few pre-let, Grade A, office buildings to be proposed in the city over the next few years. Our already good relationship with the Council and experience elsewhere in Yorkshire will help to deliver Sovereign Square as a significant new space within the city."

Mike Heydecke of Sovereign Leeds Limited said:"The detailed planning application for this development will be submitted in August. This deal with Muse provides the company with sufficient financial resource and a development platform to embark upon this major office development which is a significant landmark for the city of Leeds and the regeneration of this area of the city."

Cllr Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for city development and the economy said: "The Sovereign Street development provides a really exciting opportunity to create an high profile business and leisure environment in the heart of Leeds City Centre which will bring investment as well as employment opportunities.

“This development shows that Leeds is bucking the economic trend and is really pressing ahead with plans to encourage development and economic growth with the aim of making Leeds the best city in the UK to live in.”

Construction of KPMG’s building is programmed to commence in summer 2013 and for KPMG’s relocation to be completed by autumn 2015. The completion of the public greenspace is targeted to complete spring 2015.

Chris Hearld KPMG Senior Office Partner Leeds said:
“Sovereign Street has the potential to offer KPMG an exciting relocation opportunity. We are looking forward to seeing the proposals for the building and the public realm progress over the next few months.”

Sovereign Street has been a council-owned car park since the Queen’s Hall was demolished in 1989. In close proximity to the city’s vibrant waterfront area, railway station, city centre and retail core it forms a key part of the council’s plans to enhance and regenerate the southern part of the city centre.

Plans for the site include two further new buildings and public green space - the first in this area of the city, as set out in the council’s adopted Informal Planning Statement of July 2011 - and will be near to the new southern station entrance, also due to commence next year.

As well as the Sovereign Street redevelopment scheme Leeds City Council is working with the private sector across the city to deliver and support several major development projects to facilitate economic growth. These include the Arena which will be delivered by 2013, the Trinity retail and leisure scheme also due to open in 2013 and the Eastgate retail scheme.

Muse Developments will now work in partnership with SLL, KPMG and Leeds City Council to bring development forward.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Annie Goodyear, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3937

City Deal heralds new era for the north

The leader of Leeds City Council hailed today’s government announcement of a City Deal transferring powers and spending to the City Region as a “hugely significant step” which marks the beginning of a new era for the north of England.

The deal, announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg today, features a number of initiatives to support growth, including:
• the creation of the country’s first apprenticeship academy in Leeds for 14-24 year olds
• a £1bn local fund for investment in public transport and highways and
• a further £400m fund to modernise infrastructure across the region.

The deal will allow the 11 local authorities that make up the City Region to have a much bigger say in decisions on investment and skills. They will be able to take decisions more quickly in line with local priorities and coordinate funds directly. The deal will also help businesses grow their export markets.

Taken together, the measures are expected to create thousands of jobs and business opportunities across the city with the potential for an additional 15,000 apprenticeships by 2016.

Cllr Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, said:
“ Today’s announcement is hugely significant for Leeds, for the eleven local authorities that make up the City Region and for the north as a whole.

“ This deal spells the beginning of a fundamental shift in the relationship between Whitehall and the regions. It marks the first steps of a new era which will allow the north to truly control its own destiny.

“For a long time we have suffered from under investment and over-centralised decision-making.

“This deal will allow us to create thousand of new apprenticeships, offering a much needed boost to the local economy in a very difficult time and providing young people with the skills and training they need to survive in the workplace.

“It also gives us the opportunity and the means to transform our transport system so that travel to other city regions becomes easier and faster. A better transport system will mean high productivity, lower costs and more jobs. It will also enable us to create a single economy across the Pennines.

“ I’m looking forward to working with the other local authorities in the city region to attract investment, exploit exports and create a thriving economy which will bring real benefits and exciting opportunities to the people of Leeds and to local businesses. “

Peter Roberts, chief executive of Leeds City College said:
“The City Deal will enable us to transform the skills and training opportunities available to young people in the Leeds City Region.

Apprenticeships have been one of the city’s great success stories in recent years.
The creation of an specialist academy – the first of its kind in the country -along with training agencies and the apprenticeship hub mean we can build on that success to create a more skilled workforce geared to the needs of the local economy and more job opportunities for young people.”

Lurene Joseph, chief executive of Marketing Leeds, said: “This deal is tremendous news. It will help put Leeds on the map internationally and will make a huge difference to the city’s attractiveness as a location for business and investment.

“New decision making powers and control of major funding streams will allow Leeds and the wider city region to develop the twenty-first century infrastructure and skilled workforce that all great cities need to compete in today’s global economy.”

Notes to editors:
The Leeds City Region Deal

In December 2011, the government announced that cities are ‘the economic powerhouses of our country’ and will play a crucial role in the economic recovery. As such, the government announced that it would like to negotiate a menu of powers with the cities, that will form the basis of a series of bespoke ‘City Deals’.

The first wave of deals are with the eight largest cities and their wider city region areas. The city deal provides a transfer of powers and funding from national to local government. It gives local government greater control over spending and decision making so that we can take decisions in line with our key priorities for growth in the city region.
The city deal will help to:
- Create thousands of new apprenticeships, jobs and opportunities for the young.
- Ensure faster, reliable transport connections.
- Increase investment to modernise our infrastructure.
- Boost exports and attract more international companies to the city region.
The areas which we have focussed on in this first city deal are skills, transport, investment funds, trade and inward investment as well as new robust governance arrangements to help with the efficient delivery of our objectives.

For further information please download the Leeds City Region Deal Brief here:


For media enquiries, please contact;
Annie Goodyear, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3937

Proceeds from vehicle sale used to cut grime crime

A vehicle seized after being used to illegally dump waste has been sold with the money being used to buy extra equipment to combat environmental crime.

The van was dumped on land next to Holbeck Moor in March this year and with owners failing to claim it, ownership passed to the council.

The vehicle was sold at auction in May and netted the council in excess of £4,000.

Some of the funds have been used to cover the costs of cleaning up the site with the bulk of the money being used to buy extra CCTV cameras.

The mobile cameras are an essential tool in the environmental enforcement team’s fight against grime crime.

The cameras will be used to secretly monitor fly tipping hotspots and catch people illegally dumping rubbish.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment said:

“This is a great outcome. Not only have we been able to put one dumb dumper out of action, we’ve been able to buy extra kit that will help us deter and potentially catch others.

“Cleaning up after people who selfishly and illegally dump waste costs us thousands, so it’s very gratifying to be able to recoup some of those costs and reinvest it.”

Residents who witness any instances of fly tipping or have any information that will help identify individuals involved in environment crime can call 0113 222 4406.

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