Thursday, 27 June 2013

Be on yellow alert as Sky Ride Leeds is coming

Caption: Sky Ride Leeds Ambassador Kimberley Walsh (centre) promoting the event in Leeds city centre (Getty Images)

Organisers of the first-ever Sky Ride event in Leeds are calling on those taking part to turn the city centre into a sea of yellow next week.

From 10am to 4pm on Sunday 7 July, riders will be able to take advantage of traffic-free streets as they take part in a free city ride hosted by Leeds City Council, Sky, British Cycling and West Yorkshire Metro’s go:cycling project.

As the event forms part of the one year to go celebrations to Leeds hosting the Grand Départ of the Tour de France, the organisers are calling on as many people as possible attending to dress in the race leader’s iconic yellow to help mark the occasion.

The spirit of Le Tour will form a major theme of Sky Ride, with a range of street entertainment and activities happening around the full 5.2-kilometre route. There will be major ‘activation’ zones at the startline on Victoria Gardens and Woodhouse Moor, as well as activities hosted by the University of Leeds where the route passes through the campus.

Some of the sights and sounds of the Tour de France will also be prominent, with the approach to Woodhouse Moor being turned into a ‘fan zone’ featuring some of Le Tour’s famous temporary road markings encouraging the riders on. The spirit of the fanatical supporters on the legendary slopes of the Alps and the Pyrenees will also be seen with the colour of national flags and banners as well as heard with cow bells, drums and horns.

Pop star and Sky Ride Leeds Ambassador Kimberley Walsh will be on hand helping to start the event from Victoria Gardens, which will also be the first ‘activation zone’ featuring a range of cycling stalls and activities including free bike decorations, a Wattbike challenge, Team Sky Area, bike maintenance, cycling information and advice from British Cycling, a bike café and a big screen relaying images from the Tour de France.

Free bike hire including adapted cycles will also be available, while Victoria Gardens will also host a special winners’ podium for participants to have their photo taken in front of the iconic Arc de Triomphe backdrop complete with flowers and cuddly lion echoing the winner’s experience of the world’s greatest cycle race.

With the full route at 5.2km, riders will be able to start at any point around the course and also at any time throughout the event, covering as much distance or as many laps as they wish. Aside from the full route, there will also be a shorter 500 metre loop on offer around Victoria Gardens and a 750m route at Woodhouse Moor, which is the second of the ‘activation zones’.

This zone will feature regular BMX displays by riders from The Works Skate Park, free bike maintenance, virtual bike racing simulator, go:ride skills circuit, Breeze inflatables and information on cycling.

The final element of the full route takes riders through the campus of the University of Leeds, where a special marquee will feature a range of refreshments including bike smoothies plus a bike simulator challenge, while staff from the university’s state-of-the-art sports facility The Edge will also be on hand offering free health and fitness checks.

Looking ahead to the event, Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield said:

“Sky Ride is going to be a fantastic day out for families and people of all ages in Leeds. Apart from the fun of riding there will be something for everyone to enjoy so it would be great to see thousands of people taking part and supporting the event, and if everyone is dressed in yellow in honour of the Tour de France it will look absolutely amazing.”

Sky Ride Leeds is part of a new agreement between Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Metro and British Cycling to help promote and develop cycling in the city and wider region. Aside from the mass-participation city centre event, there are also a range of Sky Ride Local rides available, including those for women-only. These rides are led by a British Cycling-trained Ride Leader, and give participants the chance to get out and explore their local area also as improve their cycling ability.

British Cycling Recreation Manager for Yorkshire Dan Goodey said:

“Sky Ride Leeds is a fantastic opportunity for people in the city to dust off their bikes and take to the streets on two wheels. The range of entertainment will make for a great family day out and the route is perfect for all ages and abilities.

“The added excitement of it being one year until the Grand Départ of the Tour de France will make this event extra special. We are looking forward to seeing Leeds out on their bikes on 7 July and also on all the other local guided rides that we are delivering every week around the city through the summer.”

For more information on these rides and also for the latest details on Sky Ride Leeds visit

Organisers are also looking for volunteers to help with the running of Sky Ride on Sunday 7 July. Please contact or call 0113 224 3406 for more information or to register.

Notes to editors:

About Sky RideSky Ride Leeds is one of sixteen Sky Ride city events taking place across the UK this summer on traffic-free streets, enabling cyclists to enjoy a day of bike-based entertainment and to explore their city on two wheels with family and friends. The free events aim to encourage thousands of people, of all ages and abilities, to get on their bikes.

Sky Ride Local rides are free small, weekly community bikes rides that give participants the chance to get out and explore their local area. Led by a British Cycling trained leader, who is on hand to provide support and tips on how to improve for people of any age or ability they will be taking place across the country this summer.

In 2012 Sixteen Sky Ride City events and 1,000 Sky Ride Local rides which saw over 146,000 participants take part in Sky Ride City events and over 17,000 participants take part in Sky Ride Locals. Last year British Cycling and Sky beat their goal of getting one million more Britons on their bikes and cycling regularly (once a month) by 2013.

About British CyclingBritish Cycling is the national governing body for cycling as recognised by the UCI - the international federation for the sport. Based in Manchester at the National Cycling Centre, British Cycling works across all levels and six disciplines of the sport, from providing the support and encouragement people need to get riding their bikes for the first time, to being home to the hugely successful Great Britain Cycling Team.

Continued success at the highest level is inspiring a boom in participation across the nation. There have never been more opportunities to ride a bike, be it for fun or sport, and British Cycling is at the heart of this growth. British Cycling also works hard to represent cyclists' interests at all levels, including campaigning on important issues including road safety. As a membership organisation, British Cycling provides a suite of benefits and support to its members who currently number over 70,000. All membership revenue is invested back into cycling.

About Sky in LeedsSky is a leading employer in Leeds which has grown fourfold since 2006 and now employs over 1,200 people in jobs ranging from IT and marketing to customer service and journalism.

About SkySky is the UK and Ireland’s leading home entertainment and Communications Company. Around 40% of all homes have a direct relationship with Sky through its range of TV, broadband and home telephony services.

Sky is the UK’s biggest investor in television content, investing more than £2.3 billion a year in channels such as Sky 1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Living, Sky Arts, Sky Sports, Sky Movies and Sky News. Around two-thirds of Sky’s content spend is invested in the UK and Sky is the fastest-growing source of investment in original British programmes. More than 30 million people watch Sky content each week.

Alongside its commitment to offering customers a greater choice of high-quality content, Sky is a leading innovator. Customers enjoy total control and flexibility over their favourite TV through Sky+, watch TV on the move through Sky Go, and enjoy the best quality TV experience at home through High Definition and 3D.

Sky distributes its content broadly over several platforms, including satellite, cable, IPTV, mobile and WiFi. NOW TV, Sky’s second consumer brand, builds on the company’s leadership in internet TV. Sky is also the UK's fastest-growing home communications company and favourite ‘triple-play’ provider of TV, broadband and home phone.

Sky believes in making a wider contribution to the communities in which it operates by taking positive action on the environment, supporting grassroots sport, opening up the arts to more people and raising the aspiration of young people in schools. Sky employs 23,500 people, has annual revenues of £6.8 billion and is estimated to support a £5.4 billion contribution to UK GDP. Sky is listed on the London Stock Exchange (BSY).

go:cyclinggo:cycling promotes cycling across West Yorkshire through free adult cycle training, free bike maintenance sessions and working with employers to encourage cycling to, and for, work. go:cycling is co-ordinated by Metro and is being provided in partnership with West Yorkshire’s five district authorities and CTC (the national cycling charity), and is supported by the Department for Transport through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund. For more information go to


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde,
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472

Council holds illegal waste transporter to account

A driver claiming to be a licensed waste carrier has been caught out by environmental action officers.

Andrew Jarrett, of Low Grange Crescent, Belle Isle, was unable to provide the waste carrier’s licence he claimed he had that would allow him to profit from legally transporting scrap metal for disposal.

Nor was he able to produce the waste transfer note for items he said he regularly took to a specialist recycling facility, when required to by council environmental action officers.

As Jarrett could not produce any documentation to back his claims, he’d committed one offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and another under the Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act 1989. Fixed penalty notices were issued so Jarrett could avoid a court appearance. Failure to pay these resulted in Jarrett being summoned to appear before magistrates.

Having pleaded guilty, magistrates fined Jarrett a total of £300 and ordered him to pay costs of £200 and a victim surcharge of £15.

Jarrett was originally pulled over as part of a stop and search operation run by the council and West Yorkshire Police in August 2012 when his van was found to contain a number of scrap metal items.

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

“If you don’t have the correct waste carrier’s licence you’re probably not going to be too concerned about disposing of waste properly and safely.

“Unsuspecting customers may employ these people and think they are getting a cheap service but this only ends up costing the council – and the environment – as the waste is often found dumped illegally. Flytipping costs us hundreds of thousands of pounds each year to clean up.

“If you want to employ someone to dispose of your waste, you need to ensure they have the correct licences to do so.

“And if you are unscrupulous enough to try to transport and dispose of waste illegally then we won’t hesitate to take action against you.”


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

Statement from the leader of Leeds City Council re the OFT referring payday lenders to Competition Commission

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, said:
“I am relieved that the Office of Fair Trading has decided to refer payday lenders to the Competition Commission. The OFT itself has said that these lenders cause ‘misery and hardship for borrowers’ and, as we are all too aware in Leeds, this is a growing problem for big cities like ours.

“I welcome the Competition Commission’s investigation and am hopeful they will see to put a cap on the interest rates charged by these companies. I think it is vital they put a stop to the phenomenally high rates they currently charge which often result in spiralling debts and the many related problems this can cause, like stress, health issues and relationship problems.

“In Leeds we have recently announced a raft of measures to tackle poverty and its wider effects, which includes developing a high profile campaign to raise the issue of pay-day lenders, high cost loans and illegal money lenders.

“We want to make sure everyone knows these aren’t the only option, so we will be increasing our support for credit unions, and lower-cost borrowing options like Leeds City Credit Union and the Headrow Money Line, as well as making sure people can get easy access to good financial advice.

“Poverty is the biggest challenge our city is facing so in order to tackle this head on we have also taken the dramatic step of rearranging our services to create a new directorate which brings together services to support people to get out of poverty.

“As well as making our services more accessible to those most in need, we’ll also be joining up with partners from voluntary and advice organisations to make sure that the support we provide together can lift people out of poverty.

“With the right support we are confident people will stop turning to high cost lenders in times of need.”

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Permit scheme to be introduced at recycling sites

In a bid to stamp out trade waste being left at household recycling sites, a new permit scheme for vans is being introduced.

From August 1 2013, residents who genuinely own and drive commercial type vehicles will need a permit to take their vehicle on to a council recycling site.

The permit scheme will also apply to people who have a car with a trailer.

Currently, householders using commercial vehicles are allowed into recycling sites but only on a Wednesday or Saturday. However, the system is open to abuse and the majority of vehicles using the sites on these days are actually commercial, leaving council tax payers footing the bill for the disposal of their waste.

Anyone who wants to dispose of trade waste must do so, paying the appropriate fees, at the council’s Kirkstall Road and Seacroft recycling sites or by using official commercial waste disposal companies.

It’s hoped the permit scheme will help up recycling rates at household recycling sites and save the council money.

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

“We’re totally committed to increasing how much the city recycles so that we can reap the environmental and financial benefits. So, it’s wholly inappropriate for businesses to leave the council and residents to pay for the disposal of their waste.

“The new permit scheme will ensure that people who want to do the right thing and recycle their household rubbish can do so.

“Our Kirkstall and Seacroft sites are the only council-run sites that are permitted to accept trade waste. We’d gladly help businesses recycle their waste at these sites for the relevant fees, or they can go to another appropriate waste disposal facility of their choice.”

Residents who drive a commercial type vehicle or use a trailer will need to apply for a permit which allows them to visit any of the council’s household recycling sites 12 times a year.

To apply, residents will need to provide proof of a Leeds address and vehicle ownership or use.

Residents who hire or borrow a van for a short period can also apply for a temporary permit.

Signs will be put up at all household waste sorting sites to let people know about the new arrangements.

In the run up to the 1 August start date, staff at each site will be handing out information and application forms.

An application form can be downloaded from

From 1 August only commercial type vehicles or car with trailer with a valid permit will be allowed on to council household recycling sites.

Anyone in a commercial vehicle trying to use household recycling sites after this date will be redirected to the Kirkstall Road or Seacroft (East Leeds) sites which can accept trade waste for the appropriate fee. Alternatively, people can hire a skip or the services of an appropriately licensed waste carrier.



Certain vehicles have been excluded from household waste sorting sites since 2005 and this will continue. These are: luton box vans, flat beds, pick-ups, twin-axled vehicles, agricultural vehicles, long wheelbase transits and horse boxes.

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