Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Bid to help people secure best energy deal

People in Leeds could switch energy suppliers and save hundreds on their energy bills if a new bulk fuel switching project gets off the ground.

Leeds City Council, working with Community Energy Direct and other Yorkshire local authorities, is bidding for money from the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s ‘Cheaper Energy Together’ fund.

Senior councillors will hear about the £280,000 bid when the council’s executive board meets tomorrow (Wednesday 12 December).

If successful, the money would be used to set up and promote an energy switching scheme, known as an energysmart club.

Although the club will look to target those households who are suffering the most from the economic squeeze, membership of the club will be open to any resident in Leeds.

Once people are registered, the club will help people get access to the best energy deals in the market. It’s estimated that people could save an average of £115 by switching.

Existing community groups, carers, residents associations, charities, housing organisations and social groups will be key partners in the programme, helping to ensure people vulnerable to fuel poverty can benefit.

Community Energy Direct, a cooperative which has been working to help vulnerable households to get the best energy deal since 2009, is supported by Yorkshire based social enterprise, CO2Sense.

Any fees which are received by Community Energy Direct would be recycled to members through their local energysmart club to help them reduce their energy bills further, for example: by installing smart meters to monitor energy use; providing powerdown devices to cut energy use from everyday appliances; help people access renewable energy technology; and pay for assessments for further improvements available through the Green Deal.

Similar clubs are expected to be set up in Kirklees, Rochdale, Wakefield and York.

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

“Helping people access cheaper fuel prices in the face of spiralling energy costs is important. However, the crucial part of our proposed scheme is to help people cut the amount of energy they use in the first place so they pay less.

“By residents clubbing together in this way, and by working with our partners, we can negotiate a better deal and offer a service that will save money, cut energy use and ultimately help slash carbon emissions.

“It’s a win-win project all round and we hope for a positive outcome from our bid to ensure we can support some of our most vulnerable residents whilst making Leeds cleaner and greener.”


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

People asked for their views on city centre parking in Leeds

A consultation about parking in the city centre of Leeds begins this week.

Leeds City Council has conducted a comprehensive review of city centre car parking and wants to hear if people think its approach to parking is appropriate and sustainable for the future.

The review identified how many car parking spaces there are currently and how future developments in the city will impact on this. It also looked at occupancy trends, pricing and income generated by parking charges.

The initial budget proposals, to be discussed by executive board on Wednesday 12 December reference ideas for income generation, with proposals for charging for Sunday parking in the city centre, along with the extension of evening parking charges.

People are now being asked for their thoughts on the review, including how charges can be used more creatively to support the city centre’s economy. An example could be using different charging structures to encourage specific lengths of stay at particular times.

The consultation is available at
https://consult.leeds.gov.uk/leeds/KMS/elab.aspx?noip=1&CampaignId=471&SessionId=H8SUWY5GDX or people can contact Parking Consultation, Parking Services , PO Box 139, Leeds, LS9 1AA .

The consultation will close on 20 January 2013.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk

Replacement locks see burglars left out in the cold

Burglars in east Leeds are being securely bolted out as the 10,000th new secure lock has been fitted to a tenant’s house.

As part of a programme across the city to make council tenant homes safe and secure, East North East Homes Leeds are funding a change of all council tenant locks from a standard Eurolock cylinder to a Sold Secure Diamond Level (SSDL) lock which resists drilling and snapping to ensure the best security for tenants homes.

Safer Leeds are also providing funding for CASAC to change locks for vulnerable owner occupiers and private tenants in burglary ‘hot spot’ areas.

The Eurolock cylinder which is fitted as standard to most UPVC doors is known to be a weak point and susceptible to attack as a point of entry for burglars.

********* Media opportunity ********
Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board will be installing the 10,000th lock on 13 December 2012 at 10:15am in Seacroft. Please call the press office on 0113 2474450 to arrange attendance and for the full address details
********* Media opportunity ********

Already in the twelve months up to September 2012 burglary rates have dropped by 36% across the city with 3276 fewer victims, and as the lock replacement programme continues it is hoped this number will continue to fall.

Councillor Peter Gruen, chair of Safer Leeds and Leeds City Council executive board member for neighbourhoods, planning and support services said:

“I am pleased we are making very significant progress and ensuring tenants are safe in their homes.

“We started the lock replacement programme in 2010 and we have now changed 10000 locks across the city. This is a great achievement. We know burglars like the easy option and we need to make it as difficult as possible for them.”

This diamond standard lock is now fitted as a replacement on all properties as they become void and where keys are lost or a burglary has occurred.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk