Sunday, 31 January 2010

Police on hand on Glen Estate

I was on the Glen Estate last Saturday so I dropped in to the police open-morning organised by the Glen Estate Tenants and Residents Association.

Pictured: Part of the police stall

The police are happy to hold such informal events in conjunction with local residents group. They turn up with leaflets and assorted freebies and give advice on crime reduction.

The sessions also provide an opportunity for residents to speak to the police away from the formal environment of a police station.

I would encourage all residents groups to work closely with the local policing team and take them up on offers to provide drop-in sessions like this one.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Common sense prevails at Newlands School

I am pleased by the resolution of a recent controversy that saw parents of children at Morley's Newlands School initially being told that they would not be allowed to take photos of their children in the school’s Christmas play.

I was contacted by concerned parents about this a few weeks ago and I took the matter up with Education Leeds.

Education Leeds have confirmed to me that this was a case of the school misinterpreting the guidelines on this subject.

The guidance makes it perfectly clear that;

Personal data processed by an individual only for the purposes of that individual’s personal, family or household affairs (including recreational purposes) are exempt from the data protection principles and the provisions of
parts II and III.

This means that it is perfectly legal to record and photograph at such performances without the consent of other parents.

Education Leeds reinforced this with the school and I hope that this will ensure that incidents such as this do not reoccur.

Clearly we must be ever vigilant to prevent perverts and sex offenders from gaining any kind of access to our children, and I have campaigned strongly against all manner of perverts both in politics and in the wider world.

When some local councillors cannot be trusted and abuse their privileged positions of authority to gain access to indecent pornographic imagery featuring children, it would be disastrous for us to ignore the threat posed by such vile individuals.

Nevertheless, it is demonstrably ridiculous for parents to be told that they cannot photograph their own children in their school play, and I am very happy to see that common sense seems to have prevailed in the end in this case.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Stop the Fur Trade - Leeds Kirkgate Market complaints

I've just received some emails today containing the following appeal:

Please Stop the Fur Trade

This shop in council-owned Leeds Kirkgate Market, the XXXXXXXXXX, is selling key rings and ‘nodding dog’ toys made entirely of fox and rabbit fur.

Leeds City Council have previously signed up to ethical policies regarding various issues of animal abuse.

Undercover investigations into the Chinese fur trade have revealled routing suffering and cruelty, including animals being skinned alive and clubbed to death.

Please Stop this cruelty.

I have deleted the name of the store as I have not yet verified the truth behind these claims. I have contacted the council's chief executive about this matter to ask that it be investigated and I will update readers on the outcome of this in due course.
I have today received the following communication:

Dear Cllr Beverley....I can confirm that the Market service are now investigating this issue; in the meantime the tenant has been advised to remove the items from sale which he has agreed to do....If you require any further information then please do contact me directly - my details are below.

Head of City Centre and Markets

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Speech regarding carbon emissions targets

I prepared the following speech for yesterday's full meeting of Leeds City Council but unfortunately no debate was allowed on this motion in the end. I reproduce it here nevertheless and would welcome all constructive feedback:

The assumption that appears to have been made by the proposer of this motion is that the imposition of C02 emission reduction targets should be regarded as the key factor used to gauge progress regarding the council’s environmental policies.

I would like to suggest that such a system is not the way forward and may in fact turn out to be counter-productive.

The science of climate change is a hugely complicated issue that has been very poorly communicated to the public due to the politicisation of the issue by those who use it to serve their own globalist agendas.

As a result of this, combined with such disgraceful instances of blatant dishonesty as those exposed by the recent University of East Anglia ‘Climategate’ scandal, a considerable percentage of the population are unsupportive of targets for carbon emissions reductions.

Imposing targets for carbon reduction is putting the cart before the horse.

This council should be doing everything in its power to take steps to massively improve energy efficiency in the city, particularly with regard to its own housing stock. There are still far too many energy inefficient homes across the city and much more needs to be done to address this.

One of the most common things I deal with as a Morley South councillor is cases of people who come to me in desperation because they need basic improvements to their homes, whether this be windows and doors that don’t let wind and rain in, or energy efficient heating.

It is obscene that our tenants should have to come to a councillor for such things – it should be an absolute given that all our homes are built and maintained to the highest standard with regard to energy efficiency, but clearly this is not currently the case.

I’m not suggesting that this council is unaware of this issue, and I acknowledge that some work is being done to address it with regard to both council and private households.

An example is the funding of Groundwork’s Green Doctor initiatives in parts of the city, which involves providing assistance to residents with regard to energy efficiency in the home. This has proved to be a hugely beneficial project where it has been rolled out and I have chosen to use a large portion of the money available to me through the Ward Based Initiative fund to pay for it to be rolled out in the Morley South Ward, where I am pleased to report that it has been a resounding success.

Targets to reduce energy inefficiency and fuel poverty should be the overriding targets that this council puts before all others.

Energy efficiency in the home is just one of the many areas that need to be a top priority for the council.

Public transport, some thing that is mentioned in one of the amendments, is another.

Working as I do for Andrew Brons MEP, my work sometimes takes me to Brussels, and once there, as in just about any other major city on the European mainland, I am instantly reminded of the inferiority of Britain’s relatively Third World system of public transport.

People will never switch to using public transport in larger numbers until our buses and trains are far more efficient than is currently the case. The council must do everything in its power to improve the public transport in our city and when improvements are seen across the population then more people will be happy to leave their cars at home or get rid of them altogether as a result. Once again, a by-product of this will of course be a reduction in carbon emissions.

A final issue to prioritise is that of the city’s refuse. Whilst I am happy to acknowledge that Leeds is further on than many councils with regard to the proportion of its waste that is recycled rather than sent to landfill, we are still a very long way from where I believe we should be. I don’t even want to contemplate the volume of recyclable waste that will have ended up in landfill as a result of the refuse workers strike that the council was responsible for bringing about recently, and it goes without saying that all reasonable steps must be taken to avoid such disruption in the future.

Council will note that I have opposed plans for an Energy from Waste incinerator in the city as I believe that this would be a bad move and in many ways would be a backward step and a disincentive to recycle.

The council must do more to encourage a far greater rate of recycling. It would be far better to have improving the recycling to landfill ratio as our key target rather than CO2 emissions.

To conclude, if the council held up improving energy efficiency in the homes of its citizens along with improving the public transport network and refuse recycling rate as its highest goals, this would be met with far greater sympathy and support from the people of Leeds than mere targets in reducing CO2, although the former would inevitably lead to the latter.

The irony is that by focussing on just one of the many by-products of measures such as those I have described here, i.e. the resulting CO2 emissions, the people pushing for targets in CO2 emission reductions may in fact be doing their cause harm by giving too little attention to the immediate and easily observable benefits that factors such as greater energy efficiency in the home would bring to large numbers of our people.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Help given to elderly residents during cold weather

The following letter was printed in today's Morley paper.

Pictured: Cllr Chris Beverley on Newlands Drive in Morley, one of the areas targeted.

Essential help thanks

During the recent period of heavy snow we were joined by local volunteers in an initiative that saw a number of elderly and disabled residents called on to check that they were ok and to see if they needed any essential items from the shops. We targeted a number of properties in this area where we know there are large numbers of elderly people, and a number of them took us up our offer to go to the shops for them due to them being housebound due to the snow.

With the extreme weather we have been experiencing coupled with the lack of gritting and clearance of snow on large numbers of our roads and footpaths we decided that this would be a worthwhile activity to carry out. The response that we got shows that this was certainly the case.

This activity was carried out under the umbrella of ‘Help in Hand’, which was set up some time ago with the intention of complementing the support offered by existing organisations to elderly and disabled people in our local community.

We would urge everyone with elderly neighbours to check on them, especially during periods of extreme weather, to see if they need help with shopping or anything like that. This is so easy to do but for those people in our communities that really do need such help it can make a world of difference.

I would like to finish by thanking those local volunteers and residents who helped us to carry out this initiative, whether this was by helping us to leaflet the areas targeted or by going knocking on doors or shopping for those who needed it. Your help was very much appreciated.

Help in Hand Co-ordinator

Saturday, 2 January 2010

My letter regarding discovery of historic artefacts in Tingley

Pictured: Viking 'Thing' or gathering of the sort believed to have taken place at the historic Tingley site, just off Dewsbury Road/Lowry Road.

The following letter was printed in this week's Morley paper:

I read with great interest your report concerning the recently found Anglo-Saxon and other historical artefacts in Tingley.

I would like to congratulate Mr Cockroft on his find and I hope that this great result will spur him on to keep up his metal detecting work!

As was hinted at in your article, Tingley is an area of huge historical importance, particularly with regard to the Anglo-Saxon and Viking eras of early English history.

The greater Morley area has a very rich history, as well as a number of highly dedicated and knowledgeable local historians, such as Mr Peter Aldred, who was mentioned in your article, and I hope that this important discovery will help to highlight this and may lead to more local people taking a keener interest in the history of our local area.

Well done to Mr Cockroft. We look forward to seeing what you unearth next!

Councillor Chris Beverley
Morley South, Leeds City Council