Monday, 26 November 2012

Council committed to recycling plans despite funding blow

Leeds City Council is reaffirming its commitment to revolutionising bin collections despite being unsuccessful in its funding bid to introduce weekly food waste collections city-wide within the next two years.

The council’s bid for £13.9 million to Department of Communities and Local Government’s (DCLG) Weekly Collection Support Fund was turned down last week.

The council had planned to use the funds to pick up kitchen scraps from 254,000 Leeds homes once a week. This would complement the planned move to fortnightly green and black bin collections to increase recycling, save money and cut carbon emissions.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment, said:

“We’re very disappointed by DCLG’s decision as weekly food waste collections are a key part of our plans to enable us to recycle more of our waste in the future.

“Councils that were awarded money will have some form of weekly collection service retained or introduced. Our bid would have seen the introduction of a new weekly food waste collection city-wide, so we’re seeking detailed feedback from DCLG to understand why we were unsuccessful.

“In an ideal world we would be introducing weekly food waste collections in tandem with alternate weekly green and black bin collections and be able to use the food we collect to make bio-fuel for our new fleet of gas powered bin wagons.

“Despite this blow, city-wide weekly food waste collections remains part of our long-term strategy and we’re still committed to launching this service.”

The DCLG funding was to be invested in the kit and staff needed to deliver the service until 2014/15. Money saved beyond 2014/15 by moving to fortnightly black and green bin collections, and from sending waste to the proposed incinerator instead of landfill, was to be re-invested and allow food waste collection services to continue after this time.

The council will now need to review the timetable for the introduction of weekly food waste collections. This will be determined by the availability of funding and resources.

The planned move to fortnightly pick ups of green and black bins is going ahead as planned.

40,000 homes in Kippax and Methley, Garforth and Swillington, Morley North, Morley South and Ardsley and Robin Hood wards will be some of the first to move to the alternate weekly bin collection system next spring.

Residents in these areas will be contacted in the new year about the changes.

ENDS

Information about bins, recycling and clean streets can be found at www.leeds.gov.uk

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

Get ready to make your bed with new Leeds gardening competition

Caption: Leeds City Council support executive member for the environment Councillor Jack Dunn launching the competition with pupils from Middleton St Mary's Primary School

Creative gardeners in Leeds are to have the chance to have their ideas brought to life outside one of the most famous buildings in the city as part of a new competition.

Leeds City Council has launched a ‘design an edible flowerbed’ competition, which is open to all and will see the winning four entries turned into reality outside the Civic Hall in the city centre.

The competition being run by the council’s parks and countryside service and the Leeds Floral Initiative is part of the new ‘Feed Leeds’ project, which aims to bring individuals, groups and organisations together to promote and support local food growing in the city.

Open to any individual, organisation or school to enter, the aim of the competition is to produce flowerbeds which look attractive, complement the city centre surroundings and inspire people to grow their own food.

The rules are that more than half the plants in each entry must be edible in terms producing food such as fruit, vegetables, cereals and herbs. The beds will need to look attractive from April to September and must be easy to maintain with no structures included.

The designs must be able to fit into rectangular plots measuring six metres by four metres in size. The competition is open until Friday 15 February, and for an entry pack email parks@leeds.gov.uk or they can also be picked up from Farnley Hall at Farnley Park, Hall Lane, Leeds LS12 5HA.

A panel of judges will assess the entries in February, with each of the four winners claiming garden vouchers worth up to £250 and seeing their designs made into reality outside the Civic Hall.

Each flowerbed will feature a sign with the winner’s name on, while each winner will also receive a certificate and have their photo taken next to their completed design. They will also be invited as special guests to the 2013 Leeds in Bloom ceremony celebrating gardening and horticulture excellence in the city which is held each year at Civic Hall.

Leeds City Council support executive member for the environment Councillor Jack Dunn said:

“This competition is a fantastic way of not only spreading awareness about the Feed Leeds initiative but also to fire the imagination of gardeners and creative people of all ages across the city.

“To see your flowerbed proudly on show outside Civic Hall in the city centre knowing thousands of people are going to see it will hopefully inspire lots of people to take part so we are very much looking forward to it.”

If you require any more information, please contact Emma Trickett, parks and countryside outreach manager on 0113 395 7400 or email parks@leeds.gov.uk

ENDS

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