Thursday, 7 March 2013

Top gadget recyclers rewarded during Climate WEEE-k

Caption: Vikki Law (Weee Link) and Councillor Mark Dobson present Ireland Wood 
PS headteacher Ian Blackburn and pupils Immanuel Nkomo (10), Chelsey Robinson (5) and Damian Robinson (9) with their gadget recycling reward.

Three schools in Leeds are celebrating having been named the city’s top gadget recyclers.

Cheques for the schools that have recycled the most electrical items have been presented at a special celebration during Climate Week.

Climate Week is the UK’s biggest environmental occasion with businesses, schools, charities and individuals taking part in activities that showcase practical solutions to environmental issues.

Pupils from thirty schools across the city have been collecting dud DVD players, random remote controls and conked-out cables in Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) banks placed in school grounds.

The council’s partner, Weee Link, collects the items to be broken down and recycled. Each term Weee Link reward the schools that have recycled the most with a cash prize to be invested in other green projects.

Climate Week and the prize-giving underlines the importance of recycling electronics – recycling gadgets saves significant energy and resources as it takes four times more energy to produce steel from raw iron ore than to produce it from recycled materials.

Horsforth Newlaithes primary school have retained their top spot and received a cheque for £500, having recycled 175kg of old electronic items. Westerton primary school received £200 for recycling 160kg of items, narrowly missing out on the second place prize of £300 which went to Ireland Wood primary school for recycling 168kg of items.

Much like bottle-banks, WEEE banks allow pupils, their families and school staff to get rid of their unwanted electrical items safely, ensuring the resources and materials they contain can be reused.

Councillor Mark Dobson, Leeds City Council’s executive member for the environment and Vikki Law, scheme manager at Weee Link, were on hand to present the second place prize during a Climate Week-themed event at Ireland Wood primary school today.

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

“Yet again, the pupils from all the schools involved have out-done themselves, but special congratulations go to Horsforth Newlaithes, Ireland Wood and Westerton primary schools for recycling so much.

“Climate Week is a great opportunity for us to all consider our impact on the environment in our everyday lives. Placing the WEEE banks in playgrounds is an ideal way to let people recycle at a place where it’s most convenient for them and importantly, let them recycle things they might otherwise throw away.

“The WEEE banks in schools have been a great success so far and with the continuing element of competition, I’m sure other schools will be vying for the coveted top spots and prizes.”

Ian Blackburn, headteacher at Ireland Wood primary school, said:

“We’re delighted that the pupils, their families and staff got so involved and that their efforts have been recognised.

“The WEEE bank has been a real talking point and has given us many opportunities to discuss recycling and our impact on the environment.

“In discussion with the pupils we’ve invested the money in additional resources for our organic garden and chicken coop.”

Vikki Law, scheme manager at at Weee Link, said:

“We would like to thank all 30 schools that have chosen to take part in the scheme and promote Leeds as a trailblazer in electrical waste recycling.

“Congratulations to Horsforth Newlaithes, Ireland Wood and Westerton primary schools whose collections have exceeded our expectations and who have set an extremely high benchmark for WEEE recycling in schools.”

Throughout the autumn 2012 term all 30 schools with WEEE banks recycled a total of 2253kg of electrical items.

As well as electronics, a range of items can be recycled at the council's nine household waste sorting sites.

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 schools with WEEE banks are: Bramhope Primary, Bramley Primary, Broadgate Primary, Colton Primary, Cottingley Primary, Drighlington Primary, East Garforth Primary, Five Lanes Primary, Guiseley Infants, Guiseley School, Horsforth Newlaithes Primary, Ireland Wood Primary, Kippax North J and I School, Little London Primary, Meadowfield Primary, Morley Newlands Primary, Moortown Primary, Ninelands Primary, Otley the Whartons Primary, Lowtown Primary, Rawdon Littlemoor Primary, Rawdon St Peters Primary, Rothwell C of E Primary, Stanningley Primary, Swillington Primary, Templemoor High School, Thorner C of E Primary, Westerton Primary, Whitecote Primary and Yeadon Westfield Infants.

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


Statement regarding high court ruling re children’s heart surgery in Leeds

A High Court challenge regarding the controversial decision to move children's heart surgery services from Leeds General Infirmary has been successful.

Chair of the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) for Yorkshire and the Humber, Councillor John Illingworth said:
"Today's ruling is a huge boost to the campaign to keep the children's heart surgery unit in Leeds open.

"It confirms what we already knew; that the consultation process used in the decision-making process was flawed. Today’s judgment supports the view of the Joint Committee, as stated in its report in October 2011, that the detail of the Kennedy sub-scores should have been made available during the initial public consultation. The Joint Committee asked for this information during the public consultation and was refused access by the Safe and Sustainable review team

"We now look forward to the Remedy Hearing on 27 March, which will provide us with information about what will happen as a result of today's ruling.

"Despite this positive step, we are still also awaiting the outcome of the IRP’s review and the recommendations that they will present to the Secretary of State regarding the future of the unit.

"We will continue to highlight the flaws of this ill thought out proposal which has huge implications for sick children and their families across the Yorkshire and Humber region.”


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

Council to take public health lead

From 1 April 2013, public health staff and funding will transfer from the former Leeds Primary Care Trust, which will cease to exist, to Leeds City Council.

A report to the council’s executive board next week (13 March) provides an update on the transfer of around 80 public health employees and approximately 102 contracts covering a range of functions, to Leeds City Council.

As part of seismic changes in the NHS, the government announced in May 2010 that Primary Care Trusts would be abolished and replaced with Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), the NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB) supported by local area teams, Public Health England (PHE) and that public health functions would be delivered by local authorities.

Local authorities will receive a ring fenced public health grant, which is intended to address health inequalities and improve the health and wellbeing of local residents. Councils will work with their local CCGs, representatives of the NHSCB and PHE to perform their public health duties.

In January this year, the Department of Health announced the two year public health allocation for Leeds; £36,854,900 for 2013/14, and £40,540,400 for 2014/15.

Leeds City Council has been working closely with the former Leeds Primary Care Trust to ensure that the transfer of responsibilities is managed well and delivered effectively on the transfer date.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, executive board member with responsibility for health and wellbeing said:
“Transferring responsibility for public health to the council provides an exciting opportunity for us to take the lead in improving health outcomes for people in the city and tackling health inequalities in Leeds.

"We are determined to do everything we can to close the shocking health divide in the city, and some of the public health functions that are transferring across are key to this. A good example of this are smoking cessation programmes, which help to tackle the single biggest cause of health inequalities in the city affecting both smokers and non-smokers, including children.

The council is in a very strong position, through our existing range of services, to influence some of the wider determinants that affect people’s health including, increasing physical activity, improving quality of housing or ensuring children get the best start in life.

“Bringing public health and local authority functions back together creates the opportunity to make real progress in tackling the 12 year life expectancy gap for men, and the eight year life expectancy gap for women between the best off and worst off parts of our city.

“We are committed to working with local people and partner organisations to promote health, prevent disease and prolong life, prioritising the most vulnerable people first.”

The mandatory public health functions transferring to the council from 1 April 2013 are:
• Sexual health services
• NHS health check programme (for those aged 40-74)
• Health promotion
• Public health advice
• National Child Measurement Programme

Discretionary public health functions transferring to the council from 1 April 2013 are:
• Obesity
• Physical activity
• Substance misuse (drugs and alcohol)
• Stop smoking services and interventions
• Children 5-19 public health programmes
• Nutrition initiatives
• Health at work
• Programmes to prevent accidents
• Public mental health
• General prevention activities
• Community safety, violence prevention and social exclusion
• Dental public health
• Fluoridation
• Local authority role in surveillance and control of infectious disease
• Information and intelligence
• Any public health spend on environmental hazards protection
• Local initiatives to reduce deaths from seasonal mortality
• Population level interventions to reduce and prevent birth defects (supporting role)
• Wider determinants


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

Council committed to meeting housing priorities

Following the agreement of the budget last week, Leeds City Council is reaffirming its commitment to improving housing across the city.

Measures agreed in the budget will see an extra £5.258 million invested in council housing to build on the success of the decency standard programme. This 10% increase takes the total for investment in council homes to £58.363 million for 2013/14.

A total of £9.5 million from the housing revenue account is being spent on new council homes over the next three years.

The council is continuing to work with partners to provide affordable housing. For example, Chevin Housing Association Ltd, a member of the Together Housing Group working in partnership with Leeds City Council, started construction of 13 two-bedroom and eight three-bedroom houses in the St Hildas area of Cross Green last year. The scheme will be completed in Autumn 2013.

Taking a proactive approach to helping people maintain their tenancy is also paying dividends with more people than ever being given advice and support to stay in their existing home.

The council will also continue to work with all housing providers – private landlords, housing associations and the voluntary sector – to ensure that people have access to quality, affordable housing.

With the private rented sector playing an increasingly important role for people who want to get a foot a property ladder, the council is establishing teams to work with landlords to improve the quality of these homes.

Leeds is also continuing with its drive to turn round empty homes to provide more housing in the city. Funding is being used to allow more owners to help themselves leaving the council free to concentrate its resources on properties where the owner is not willing to bring it back into occupation without intervention.

Councillor Peter Gruen, executive member for neighbourhoods, planning and support services said:

“We don’t just need new homes in the city, we need good, quality homes of all tenures that are affordable to meet the various needs of our residents.

“Spending £9.5 million from the housing revenue account to build new council homes means that as well as providing housing, the council is taking a lead role in developing growth and jobs.

“While we continue to plough investment into our own housing stock and start the first major investment in new council homes in the city for many years, we will continue to work with a range of organisations and lead projects that will see the quality of privately rented homes improve and empty properties becoming family homes once more.

“Houses are so much more than bricks and mortar. With our ongoing commitment to increasing opportunities for people to access quality housing we can support the regeneration of neighbourhoods and help drive growth while benefitting communities as a whole.”

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