Leeds Labour Council has met – and more than met – its Green targets.
– and its success has been recognized in national rankings, where it came fourth for Energy Efficiency.

Mark Dobson - lead on cleaner, safer communities in Leeds - on the doorstep in Headingley
Mark Dobson – lead on cleaner, safer communities in Leeds – on the doorstep in Headingley

Those Green targets include recycling, where the council has chalked up real success.
– recycling has been expanded and improved right across the city
– as a result recycling rates have risen dramatically – from 32% in 2010 to 45% in 2013-14.
And the City Council rose 49 places up the national ranking of local authorities for recycling since the previous year.
– an especial achievement in comparison with other big urban councils – such as Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool or Birmingham.

But the Labour Council is not resting on its laurels.
The Council’s previous target was to reach 40% recycling by 2020
– that was raised first to 50% by 2020
– and now to 55% by 2016!

And as Mark Dobson says
‘We are on target to achieve this.’

This kind of ambition – and delivery – characterizes the Labour Council’s approach to the green agenda.
It has big ambitions to step up the pace in the next two years.

Current plans include
• the installation of solar panels on at least 1,000 council homes, providing tenants with free electricity.
• Building a district heating network to capture heat from the recycling and energy recovery facility in the Aire Valley – which will provide lower cost heat to city centre businesses and 2,000 council homes.
Transforming the energy efficiency of at least 3,390 private homes through our new Better Homes Yorkshire offer, creating jobs and saving residents money.
Building at least 400 new council homes to exemplary energy, space and design standards.

As Mark Dobson says
‘National politics and international energy price fluctuations have made energy efficiency a difficult area over the last few years. We’re proud of what we have managed to achieve in this time. ‘

Many of the most exciting initiatives and most important achievements in making green targets a reality are coming from local authorities like Leeds. If the UK reaches its EU target of 50% recycled by 2020, for example, it will be thanks to councils like Leeds.

But not, unfortunately, thanks to all councils.
Compare Leeds’ solid improvements and delivery year on year with the UK’s only Green Party-controlled Council – Brighton and Hove.

Their ranking of 23 out of 25 on Energy Efficiency compared poorly with Leeds place at fourth, as we pointed out before.

And the picture is no better on recycling.

There the story has been one of year on year decline
– They recycled just 25.8% of their waste in 2013-14, ranking 306 out of 326 councils
– This was down from 26.4% in 2012-13, with a drop of 4 places on their previous year’s ranking.
– And recycling has fallen from just below 30% in 2008-9.

Real delivery on the Green agenda is just another set of reasons to vote Labour in local and national elections on May 7

And another reason to give us a helping hand before then – to ensure that a Green Leeds continues to be a reality.

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