In Rothwell which recycling bin can you now put more items in?

Lots of us are really keen to recycle as much as we can and will be really pleased that we can now put lots more stuff in our green bins than we could previously, with the new scheme brought in by the Labour council to help us recycle better and to be more ambitious with our recycling as a city in a bid to tackle the causes of climate change.

We love to do our bit in Rothwell, Woodlesford, Oulton and Carlton and have been proud to be the only ward in the city with food recycling. So we certainly welcome that we get a chance to do even more of our bit for the environment through our council bin collections.

People are still asking what the new extra items are. These are the extra things you can now put in your green bin for recycling – plastic drinks bottles, Tetra Pak cartons, the type used for some types of milk and fruit juice, yogurt pots, margarine tubs, plastic trays and certain kinds of  ice cream tubs couldn’t previously be recycled through our green bins but now they can.  We will of course continue to be able to recycle items such as paper, cardboard, metal cans, aluminium aerosols, foil and certain plastics types 1 (PET/PETE) 2 (HDPE/PE-HD), 4 (LDPE/PE-LD) and some 5 (PTTC) plastics. These numbers are usually shown in a triangle on plastic packaging. Some examples are see-through plastic milk containers, plastic bags and plastic food containers.

Items we still can’t put into our green bins are – wet items, black bin bags, syringes/needles, kitchen food waste, garden waste (put in brown bin), glass, wood or timber, black plastic, compostable/biodegradable plastic, dirty food cartons, polystyrene, Hot paper coffee cups, electrical items, batteries, textiles, shredded paper or any other household waste.

Something I’ve battled away at on council is to try to get the council to collect and recycle glass. The reason we still can’t recycle glass is that when it’s mixed with other dry recyclables there’s a risk of broken glass segments so glass would have to be kept separate. The value of the glass collected  wouldn’t pay for the costs of the extra vehicles, containers and staff needed for the service.  As the council has had huge cuts to its budget I can understand to an extent its reluctance up to now.

However, now that Leeds has declared a climate emergency, I think that the pressure will need to be kept up to make sure we do get a glass collection service in the near future.  But we can still do our bit if we have transport or live near a bottle bank or recycling centre. There are quite a few locally where glass can be taken and other items such as textiles like at Morrisons in Rothwell and Lidl at Oulton.

There have been positive changes in Leeds in the last year and it’s fantastic how recycling rates in Leeds city centre have tripled in one year. This not only puts Leeds on the recycling map but also makes Leeds one of those authorities now leading the way.  The Leeds By Example scheme, part of a UK wide effort to boost recycling of some of the biggest throwaway on the go culprits saw three times as many coffee cups, cans and plastic bottles recycled in one year. This has seen the use of new technology in the bins. 

Leeds has committed to making Leeds carbon neutral by 2030. Recycling is just one of the ways that this can be achieved, whilst we’re now forging ahead in some areas, we still can and must do even better as our actions now will impact on not only our children but their children and grandchildren.

Great news for Woodlesford as failing Northern trains nationalised

It’s brilliant news that the government has finally acted and Arriva, which operates the Northern rail franchise, will hand back control to the government this week. It has been an absolutely horrendous period for rail passengers including those who travel to and from Woodlesford, in the Rothwell ward. A new timetable worsened the ongoing appalling situation with Northern falling well short and providing a terrible service for local people.

Local people deserve better than they have been treated by failing Northern. It’s great news that the service will be taken into public control. Residents in Woodlesford and Oulton and Rothwell who use the train service from Woodlesford station are sick of trains being continually late, missing or packed onto the trains like sardines. It’s long overdue that government has finally listened to local people.

I hope this means that local people can expect a better, affordable and reliable service as they should be able to expect from all services.

HS2 – what is the point?

A leak of the government review into HS2 has revealed that costs could escalate again to £106 billion, but is recommending that it goes ahead.

It is quite simply out of control. HS2 not only will cost the earth in financial terms, but also in terms of destroying the natural world causing, disruption, upheaval and devastation to communities along its path. The part which includes the line tearing through Woodlesford and Oulton in the Rothwell ward is phase 2b. The review recommends that work on phase 2b from the West Midlands to Manchester and Leeds should be paused for six months to investigate if it could be a mix of conventional and high-speed lines, according to the Financial Times, which has seen a copy of the paper.

Now the big question is what’s the point, is it worth it? To which most round here would say no. And I support them. But if it is to go ahead, then it shouldn’t be a bargain basement version for up north. It’s wrong to penny pinch and not spend money where needed to alleviate some of the concerns of our communities. If HS2 is to go ahead anyway,despite our objections, then we need to compensate local people properly. We need to invest in minimising the impact which means more tunnels and less viaducts.

However, both these things would make HS2 cost even more, be even more over budget, and deliver even less value for tax payers.

It’s a downright insult that down south people would get the supermarket equivalent of ‘Morrisons The Best’ whilst all we get up north is the ‘Morrisons Savers’ version (as usual) by saving money on tunnelling and such like. Well our communities are worth much more than that!

But what is the point? Is it really worth it? We know HS2 is a vanity project that will almost certainly be well be out of date by the time it’s built. It costs far too much and causes too much harm to outweigh any benefits. All this money on a vanity project when the rest of the north’s public transport infrastructure is crying out for improvement.

The irony is that a lot of people round here who travel to London by train go from Wakefield where the fastest journey is one and three quarter hours and standard ones just two hours. Local people who would be impacted by HS2 running through here would then face the further disruption and extra journey time of travelling in the wrong direction to Leeds to catch a train to London!

A huge part of the cost of HS2 is because it is ‘high speed’. This has nothing to do with the very real and practical problem of increasing capacity on the east coast. Increasing capacity could be achieved at less cost and with less disruption leaving lots of money left over to invest in better local transport infrastructure. What matters to people isn’t the speed of the journey from Leeds station to London station, but the overall journey time from their front door to the door they are visiting in London. HS2 potentially makes this worse, not better.

HS2 has been and continues to be a huge issue for the Rothwell ward.

I am personally opposed to HS2 and it is also the official position of Rothwell Labour Party to oppose HS2 for these reasons:

  1. Devastating impact on local communities, not just in Woodlesford, but in many communities all along the route.
  2. Escalating cost that could be better invested in other public transport infrastructure improvements including local trains and a mass transit system (e.g. tram) in Leeds and West Yorkshire; and better trans-Pennine rail connections the so called HS3.
  3. The technology behind HS2 could well be out of date before the trains even start running.
  4. Grossly incompetent HS2 management who even if the other three reasons didn’t exist couldn’t be trusted to deliver the project.

We must now wait and see what decision the new government will make. Any decision on the future of HS2, compensation and the route is now totally the responsibility of Boris Johnson’s new government and Alec Shelbrooke, our local Conservative MP. I am watching and waiting to see what our MP does to support and stand up for our local community.

My regular LS26 Local column – December general election

As always, December is a great issue of LS26 Local newszine which is full of pieces about the local area and free at local outlets. I’ve enjoyed writing a regular column since it first started in July 2018. I usually like to write about local issues and not too directly about politics, but for December I of course wrote about the general election as it’s such a huge decision which will impact massively on the whole LS26 area.

All the issues including this one and all the back issues can be read online here

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David Nagle is Elmet and Rothwell Labour Party’s parliamentary candidate in the forthcoming general election. David and I have worked very closely together as Rothwell councillors and I know he is one of the nicest and most genuine people you could hope to meet. He is also a tirelessly hard worker for the party and the community.

Victory for local residents as Oulton estate saved

I’m so proud of Save Our Homes LS26 residents on their fantastic planning victory! The former coal board community in Oulton near the sports centre were delighted when they found out their homes have been saved. Well done to Leeds City Council for refusing to let the investment giant landlord Pemberstone flatten a whole working class community’s homes and replace with executive houses. I was very proud to tell my daughter our Labour council turned down the planning application. Well done everyone!

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After almost two years of worry and uncertainty, residents of Sugar Hill Close and Wordsworth Drive in Oulton are celebrating the news that their homes have been saved from demolition.

At Leeds City Council’s Plans Panel, councillors rejected an application from investment giant Pemberstone (owners of the whole estate) which would have seen the demolition of 70 existing homes, many of which have been home to their current residents for decades. Elmet and Rothwell Labour Party has campaigned alongside local residents who have fought tirelessly to save their homes and community.

Decision day was a good day for the people of Sugar Hill Close, who have fought so hard for so long to protect the homes and community they love. As a local Labour Party we have been proud to stand with them, together standing up to these absentee landlords and their damaging plans. We believe that had this application been allowed to pass, not only would it have led to a net reduction in affordable housing in the Rothwell area and our already stretched city but the personal cost to these local people would have been immeasurable too. After working closely with the residents on this campaign for over two years I’m so delighted that Leeds City Council has listened and made the right decision on this.

Image may contain: 7 people, including Karen Bruce, Cindy Readman, John Readman, Hazell Field and Susan Gould, people smiling, people standing, tree, plant and outdoor