Thursday, 9 May 2013

Ministerial visit highlights early Green Deal success

ISSUED ON BEHALF OF LEEDS CITY REGION



(Left to right): Cllr Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment, Leeds City Council, Cllr Mehboob Khan, leader of Kirklees Council and Leeds City Region lead on the Green Deal, Rt Hon Greg Barker, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change meet local residents Mr and Mrs Cuss who have benefitted from external wall insulation.


(Left to right): Rt Hon Greg Barker views properties with Cllr Mark Dobson and Cllr Mehboob Khan in Leeds that have been updgraded thanks to Green Deal go early projects.


The visit shows the external wall insulation work in progress.

The Rt Hon Greg Barker, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change is joining Leeds City Region representatives today to see how the region’s Green Deal go early pilots are benefitting Yorkshire’s residents and businesses.

Residents, providers, installers along with members of the Leeds City Region Partnership and Leeds City Council are meeting the Minister at homes currently undergoing an energy efficient makeover in Leeds.

£2.5million funding is allowing the works at the Baildon Place homes, along with projects in Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and York, to test out different aspects of the Green Deal prior to a region-wide scheme being launched next year.

As well as the direct benefits of warmer homes and reduced fuel bills for residents, the Leeds City Region Green Deal offer will ensure that carbon emissions from domestic properties will be reduced and that local businesses can play their part in securing a low carbon economy.

The Leeds City Region Partnership is about to commence procurement of a partner to manage and deliver the Green Deal. Feedback and lessons learned from the pilot projects will be key to ensuring as many homes as possible can be made warmer and more cost-efficient through this scheme.

The Rt Hon Greg Barker, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change said:
“Seeing the results of these go early pilots is a clear demonstration that the Green Deal is helping people stay warmer for less.

“Homes across the country are needlessly wasting energy, costing residents money they can sometimes ill afford. Examples like this in the Leeds City Region show that this is a sustainable way to help people keep their energy bills low while supporting the green economy.”

Councillor Mehboob Khan, leader of Kirklees Council and Leeds City Region lead on the Green Deal said:
“These pilot projects are a clear example of how we’re putting our vision for a dynamic, sustainable low carbon economy that balances economic growth with high quality of life into action.

“The regional pilots have allowed us to look at the Green Deal process as a whole, and ensure we have the supply chain and skills needed to realise its huge potential in our area.

“Taking these experiences on board will help us to work collectively to roll out the largest Green Deal offer in the country for the benefit of Leeds City Region residents and businesses.”

Councillor Mark Dobson, Leeds City Council’s executive member for the environment said:
“The successes we’ve seen from local schemes to tackle inefficient homes and fuel poverty in Leeds has only strengthened our resolve; improving hard-to-treat properties is a priority for us.

“Our experiences and those of our neighbouring authorities tell us there is a real appetite for energy efficient home improvements. We’ll be able to continue to support residents with the economies of scale offered by the city region’s Green Deal scheme.”

The 11 local authorities across the city region have agreed to work together to deliver the Government’s Green Deal initiative, enabling more than 12,000 homes to make energy saving home improvements reducing bills and carbon emissions in the first few years of operation.

The £100million Leeds City Region scheme could create over 600 new jobs in the three years and support up to 24,000 direct and supply chain jobs over the next 25 years.

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Notes to editors:

Green Deal go early pilots in Leeds City Region

  1. Pilot projects in Bradford, Calderdale, Leeds, Kirklees and York are offering a variety of improvements including: health professionals referring patients with chronic ill health conditions exacerbated by cold living condition for heating and other energy efficient improvements; improvements to hard-to-treat properties with loans and local incentives supported by behaviour change work; works to individual homes and entire streets regardless of tenure with a mixture of loans and grants offered.

Green Deal

  1. Fuel poverty is prevalent across the whole of the city region, ranging from around 15% to 22% of households in the City Region. With ever increasing fuel bills, fuel poverty levels will also rise unless the significant and sustained energy efficiency improvements, such as through the Green Deal are delivered.
  2. The Green Deal is a new way of enabling any householder (landlords, tenants, owner occupiers) to access up-front funding to carry out works to their property to improve the insulation, heating, glazing, lighting, heating controls and install renewable sources of heat and micro-generation.
  3. The Leeds City Region scheme would seek to ensure that the majority of the jobs are created locally, particularly SMEs, and would provide a catalyst for growing the Low Carbon Sector.

The Leeds City Region Partnership

  1. The Leeds City Region (LCR) Partnership brings together a group of 11 local authorities (Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield, York and North Yorkshire County Council), its local enterprise partnership (LEP) and partners to support economic growth and a better quality of life for our communities.
  2. To achieve this vision the Partnership is working to deliver a city region wide economic strategy, “The Plan”. The Plan’s objectives are to support business and enterprise, enable a skilled and flexible workforce, foster a low carbon, sustainable economy and create the infrastructure for growth.
  3. To ensure effective delivery of these priorities the Partnership was one of the first to agree a ‘city deal’, securing Government support to deliver its flagship initiatives.
The Leeds City Region economy
  1. The Leeds City Region is the largest city region economy and financial centre in the country outside London. With a £54billion economy representing 5% of England’s economy, over 100,000 businesses and a 3 million population, the city region continues to be at the forefront in driving the economy of the North and accelerating national economic prosperity.
  2. For more information on the Leeds City Region Partnership please visit www.leedscityregion.gov.uk.
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For press/media enquiries please contact:
amanda.l.burns@leeds.gov.uk
Senior communications officer
Leeds City Council
Tel: 0113 395 1577

Proposal for improving housing management services in Leeds

After extensive consultation about how housing management services should be run in Leeds, a report will be taken to the council’s executive board in June making a number of recommendations for ensuring the provision of improved and more efficient housing management services.


As part of an eight week process, all 70,000 council tenants received consultation packs as well as being given the opportunity to attend public meetings and road shows about the possible future for housing management services in Leeds.


Just over 60% of the returned responses expressed a preference for all housing services to be provided by the council, compared to 20.9% preferring a single ALMO option and 18.2% who were undecided. Over 82% felt that it is important that they can be involved in how their housing is run.

The review covered all aspects of housing management arrangements and how the council can look to meet rapidly changing housing needs and investment challenges to give tenants high quality, efficient and value for money services.

A report will be presented to the June executive board recommending to approve the proposal of moving forward with the plans and logistics around bringing the services in-house.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council said:

“We wanted to make sure we consulted widely on this topic before moving ahead with any proposals.

“We have had a good response from tenants and other stakeholders, and will continue to work with them through these next stages of implementation. I would like to thank all those who took part in the various roadshows and workshops for their input.

“We want our tenants to feel they are getting a quality service whilst realising savings at a time of economic pressure, which has been one of the key focuses of the consultation. These savings can then be reinvested in housing stock and delivering frontline support for tenants.”

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for neighbourhoods, planning and support services said:

“We have consulted widely with tenants and other key stakeholders to ensure we make the right decision moving forward about how housing services are provided.

“As a council, it’s our responsibility to continually review everything we do to make sure we’re giving the people of Leeds high quality, value for money services. This proposal will build on the very good work undertaken by the ALMOs and seek to provide even better and more efficient services for tenants.

“Since the last review of the ALMOs in 2010, there have been major changes and challenges to the delivery of public services and if the council is to continue to ensure high quality frontline services for tenants then we need to look at where savings can be realised elsewhere in housing management arrangements.

“It is clear both from the public meetings and the consultation results that tenants value locally delivered services and that this must be protected in any future model. We are also committed to tenants continuing to have a significant role in how housing management services are provided and will establish a board with tenant representation to make sure this happens.

“I want to assure staff and tenants that we will continue to work closely with them following consideration and agreement by executive board on the way forward.”


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


First prosecutions brought against shisha bars

Two café owners are the first in the city to be prosecuted for flouting the well-established smoking ban by allowing shisha to be smoked.

Tahir Tufail, owner of Rendezvous Café on Clarendon Road, and Kamran Tarik, owner of Roundhay Road Snooker and Sheesha Café, failed to appear before Leeds Magistrates yesterday. The cases were tried in their absence.

Both were found guilty of allowing shisha to be smoked in an enclosed public space, made illegal in 2007 under smoke-free legislation.

Tufail was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £3,387.54 costs and a £120 victim surcharge while a £2,500 fine, costs totalling £2789.22 and a £120 victim surcharge must be paid by Tarik.

The cases are the first to be brought against shisha café owners by Leeds City Council.

Both premises were the subject of various complaints about shisha which involves inhaling smoke from flavoured tobaccos through a waterpipe. Tufail and Tarik received advice and several warnings from the council to ensure they complied with the law.

Environmental health officers, along with police and HM Revenue and Customs officers visited Rendezvous Café in October 2012 where they witnessed people smoking shisha pipes.

A similar visit to Roundhay Snooker and Shisha Café in August 2012 by environmental health officers and police found noone smoking at the time. However, police witnessed shisha smoking during a subsequent visit in October 2012.

Despite the level of advice and warnings both café owners had been given by various officers of the council and other enforcement agencies over a prolonged period of time, they deliberately flouted the law.

With the number of shisha bars operating in the city increasing, the council is keen to ensure they comply with the law and hopes to educate people about the effects of smoking with a waterpipe.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment said:

“People are well aware of the smoking ban, but might not appreciate that it also applies to shisha smoking.

“With an apparent growth in the number of these cafés operating in Leeds we want to be satisfied that businesses are operating within the law.

“Of even greater concern, is that many people aren’t aware of the harm shisha can cause. It is not a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes and poses a serious health risk to shisha smokers and those who inhale it as second hand smoke.

“We will continue to pursue and prosecute those who fail to comply with the legislation.”

Advice issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) states that smoking a shisha pipe for one hour involves inhaling 100 to 200 times the amount of smoke inhaled with just one cigarette.

The WHO advice also dispels the myth that smoking through water renders it safe – even after passing through water, the smoke produced by the pipes contain high levels of toxins.

In reality shisha smoke contains carcinogens in similar levels to ordinary tobacco smoke but, as a consequence of the way the tobacco is burnt, the level of carbon monoxide is much higher.
Notes to editors:

The Health Act 2006 and its associated Smoke-free (Premises and Enforcement) regulations 2006 came into effect on 1 July 2007. The legislation prohibits smoking (including shisha smoking) in enclosed and substantially enclosed workplaces and public places.

The World Health Organisation advises that:

  1. Using a waterpipe to smoke tobacco poses a serious potential health hazard to smokers and others exposed to the smoke emitted.
  2. Using a waterpipe to smoke is not a safe alternative to cigarette smoking.
  3. A typical one hour water pipe smoking session involves inhaling 100 – 200 times the volume of smoke inhaled with one cigarette.
  4. Even after passing through water, smoke produced by a waterpipe contains high levels of toxic compounds including carbon monoxide, heavy metals and carcinogenic chemicals.
  5. Commonly used heat sources such as wood cinders or charcoal are likely to increase health risks because their combustion produces their own toxicants including carbon monoxide, heavy metals and carcinogenic chemicals.
  6. Pregnant women and the foetus are particularly vulnerable when exposed either actively or involuntarily to waterpipe smoke toxicants.
  7. Second-hand smoke from waterpipes is a mixture of tobacco smoke and smoke from the fuel therefore poses a serious risk for non-smokers.
  8. There is no proof that any device or accessory can make waterpipe smoking safer.
  9. Sharing a waterpipe mouthpiece poses a serious risk of transmission of communicable diseases including tuberculosis and hepatitis.
  10. Waterpipe tobacco is often sweetened and flavoured, making it appealing; the sweet smell and taste attracts people, particularly the young, to use waterpipes where they would not otherwise use tobacco.
For media enquiries please contact:
Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577
email: amanda.l.burns@leeds.gov.uk


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