Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Blue Badge court case highlights rules

Another Leeds man has been called before magistrates for using a Blue Badge without the badge holder being present.

Having pleaded guilty, Lee McCaulsky of Newton Park View was given a conditional discharge at Leeds Magistrates Court today. He was also ordered to pay £400 costs and a victim surcharge of £15.

McCaulsky is the latest person to be prosecuted for mis-using the scheme intended to help disabled people park nearer to where they’re going.

McCaulskey parked in a pay and display bay located 10 yards from a ticket machine. Having displayed a Blue Badge – genuinely issued to a female – he got out of the car and crossed the road. Officers questioned McCaulskey when he returned to his car, again on his own.

It was clear to officers that McCaulsky had used the Blue Badge without the badge holder being present to get round parking rules.

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

“The rules on using Blue Badges are very clear – the badge holder must be present when it’s being used.

“We need to ensure that the system is being used fairly by only those who are entitled to so they aren’t disadvantaged by cheats. We’ll continue to crack down on people abusing the system and hope that this case help get that message across.”

People could have their Blue Badges revoked or renewal refused if they or others persistently abuse them.

They also face a maximum £1,000 fine if prosecuted and found guilty of abusing the system.

See www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/pages/blue-badge-parking.aspx and www.gov.uk/browse/driving/blue-badge-parking for more information.

ENDS

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

IT suite set to open at east Leeds community centre

A new IT suite will be officially opened in an east Leeds community centre this week thanks to support provided by the local area committee.

As part of the refurbishment, ten new computers will be available for use by local residents at Ebor Gardens Community Centre, which will support job search activities and the delivery of English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) sessions.

Funded by the inner east area committee and the GMB union through their community organising project, the new computers will play an important part in also supplementing and improving existing sessions already delivered at the centre.

These include the parent support programme delivered by Ebor Gardens Primary School and youth inclusion project by a crime reduction charity that provides activities for young people every Tuesday night.

The official opening of the IT suite on Thursday 24 October will begin at 2.15pm, and local residents are invited to join the chair of the area committee Councillor Asghar Khan, local councillors and representatives of the GMB for the event and to also find out more about the services on offer at the centre.

Councillor Asghar Khan, chair of the inner east area committee said:

“We were delighted to provide funding through our area committee towards 10 computers which will be included in a new IT suite at Ebor Gardens Community Centre.

"This equipment will play a very important part in providing local people with the chance to access and find out more about training and job opportunities.

"I would also like to thank the GMB for the funding they have also provided to this project at the community centre, which plays a very important role in the area for people of all ages."

Notes to editors:

£11,065 of funding was provided towards the initiative by the inner east area committee, with £6,000 from the GMB union.

For further details about the event or community centre, please contact Sarah May, BRH Neighbourhood Manager on (0113) 3367681 or sarah.may@leeds.gov.uk

For media enquiries, please contact;
Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578
Email: colin.dickinson@leeds.gov.uk

City breaks recycling record with all-time high

For the first time, Leeds residents have recycled more than half their rubbish.

The 50% barrier was broken in June when recycling rates hit an all-time high.

By making the most of green recycling bins, brown garden bins and recycling points and centres, 52% of waste from across the city was recycled; the highest ever for a single month.

The record-busting performance takes the city’s overall recycling rate for 2013/14 so far to just over 47%.

This means that an awesome 7,000 tonnes less waste has been sent to landfill so far compared to the previous year.

The news follows a recent report to the council’s executive board which highlights the success of the first phase of the new bin service.

With more frequent green bin collections, over 56,000 residents recycled 43% more than in the same period in the previous year.

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

“We’re over the moon with these recycling figures. It shows that our strategy and the services we’ve put in place to help people recycle as much as possible are paying off.

“Breaking the 50% threshold is a clear indication that we’re on the right track to reach our target of recycling 55% by 2016.

“It wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of residents and our staff so a huge thanks to everyone for their continued efforts and support.”

ENDS

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

Wyke Beck Valley now the home to three local nature reserves

Caption: The Wyke Beck Valley Pride project has achieved a range of positive results.

Three green spaces in a popular east Leeds conservation valley have achieved Local Nature Reserve status.

Following work with Natural England, Wyke Beck Woods, Killingbeck Fields and Primrose Valley in the Wyke Beck Valley have been granted the award, which will provide further protection to these important sites. A key aim of the new designation is also to encourage more people to visit, enjoy and learn more about the greenspaces and play their part in looking after them.

This follows a wide range of successful initiatives undertaken through the Wyke Beck Valley Pride project, which included partners from Leeds City Council, the Wyke Beck Valley Community Forum and voluntary groups working in the area.

Funded by Natural England over a three-year period, the Wyke Beck Valley Pride project has now come to an end, and leaves behind it a lasting legacy of improvements to the area and a new Valley Friends Group.

To find out more information regarding the nature reserves and how people can get involved in the life of the Wyke Beck Valley, please contact Leeds City Council’s parks & countryside ranger service on: Tel: 0113 3957400 or by e-mail: parks@leeds.gov.uk.

Councillor Mark Dobson, Leeds City Council’s executive member for the environment said:

"I am delighted that three of the areas which make up Wyke Beck Valley have been granted Local Nature Reserve Status.

"This is fantastic recognition of the wildlife and geological features of these sites, and also the initiatives undertaken by the Wyke Beck Valley Pride project which has made a wide range of improvements to the Wyke Beck Valley as a whole.

"It is great news that we now have a new Valley Friends Group, and I really hope more people will sign up and get involved in their work. This can help ensure that progress continues to be made in the future as we explore the possibilities of two other areas in the Wyke Beck Valley also acquiring Local Nature Reserve status."

Notes to editors:

Wyke Beck Valley Pride www.wykebeckvalleypride.org.uk has been a three year, £500,000 programme to protect and enhance 82 hectares of the Wyke Beck Valley in east Leeds, including a range of partners.

The Wyke Beck Valley Community Forum was the community partnership supporting improvements in the Wyke Beck Valley.

Parks & Countryside Service is a Leeds City Council department with responsibility for the management of the city’s parks & green spaces which includes a further 156 nature conservation sites.
Contact: Parks & Countryside Service on Leeds 0113 3957400 or parks@leeds.gov.uk

Access to Nature was run by Natural England as part of The Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme launched in November 2005 to help communities enjoy and improve their local environments.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578
Email: colin.dickinson@leeds.gov.uk