Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Watt a great idea for greener street cleaning


Councillor Mark Dobson gets a demonstration of the latest all-electric vehicle with crew member Yanek Krysiak.

Street cleaning crews have switched on to the benefits of green transport with their newest van.

The diminutive all-electric tipper vehicle can now be seen around the city centre.

Crews can collect up to five tonnes of rubbish from the city centre in 24 hours, and despite its size, crews can load over 100 bags of waste and litter into the back the of van.

In fact, its smaller size is a big advantage – it makes it ideal for accessing narrow alleyways that the usual, larger vehicles can’t.

The electric vehicle has no emissions and is more manoeuvrable, so is well suited to being used in pedestrian areas to empty bins.

As well as helping the crews offer an efficient service, the vehicle is helping the council improve its environmental performance.

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

“We’re aiming to cut emissions in the city by 40% by 2020, so we’re constantly looking at ways to make our services greener.

“Our city centre street cleaning team provide a high profile service in some of our busiest streets around the clock and all year long. The new van is a great addition and is already proving to be effective in helping the team maintain the excellent standards of cleanliness people expect.

“As well as the operational benefits, the new vehicle demonstrates our commitment to making carbon and financial savings.”

The electric tipper van joins a 40-strong fleet of electric, hybrid and gas fuelled vans and refuse collection vehicles.

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

ENDS

Council to act as payday loans hit record levels

Leeds City Council is continuing its fight against the payday loan industry in the city as news that the level of borrowing from payday lenders in the UK has shot up by 80% in the last year.

The national debt charity Step Change has just released its latest figures which show that the number of their clients coming for help after taking payday loans was 67,000 in 2013 compared with 36,000 in the previous year.

As part of the council’s strategy to tackle this problem, a new website is being launched to signpost people across the city to free independent, financial and debt advice and more affordable credit facilities.

As part of an ongoing campaign to tackle the high cost lending market in the city, the council are building on the ‘Take a Stand’ campaign which launched in 2013 and continuing to direct people to better, more affordable financial alternatives.

The Money Information Centre (MIC) website (www.leedsmic.org.uk) will bring together all the alternatives in an easy to understand and accessible manner and provide signposting to better, independent money advice and information about benefits, debt, loans and savings, affordable credit and household budgeting. The campaign will also see support being provided through many locations across the city including, the Council’s One Stop Centres, Libraries and Housing Offices and all the cities advice agencies and credit union outlets.

Primarily the website is aimed at those who are thinking of taking a loan or who need signposting to specific financial or debt advice - but really it is an open resource for anyone to use. The estimated High Cost Lending market in Leeds is now worth £90m and if everyone used more affordable credit instead this would give households an extra £60m to spend on their families and in the city’s economy.


Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council said:

“In Leeds we are proud of our growing city, but there are increasingly more vulnerable people struggling to pay for everyday expenses and we are concerned about the impact High Cost Lenders are having on our residents and local economy.

“The Money Information Centre will bring together the debt advice agencies we have in the city and also responsible lenders to offer people the best advice and signpost them in the right direction to alternative options.

“As a city we want everyone to come together to pledge their support in making our city free of high cost lenders and spread the word about the viable, cost effective alternatives.

“As a council we are already tackling this issue head on, working with employers in the city to gather support towards this challenge and help to spread the message. A key element of this work is to encourage responsible budgeting and access to responsible lending”

Follow the Money Information Centre on Twitter @Leedsmic or on Facebook.com/Leedsmic.

Notes to editors:

As part of the ‘Take a Stand’ campaign which was launched in 2013, a video was produced to remind people of the impact of high cost lenders in the city, and remind people that there are alternatives. Along with the video - www.leeds.gov.uk/takeastand - individuals and businesses were asked to sign up to a pledge to help make Leeds a pay day loan free city.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council, 07712214224
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk