Leeds Today: incinerator, gallery, demonstrations, Fairtrade, shopping, and local press stories.

A group of Leeds residents gathered at the Civic Hall yesterday to protest against plans to build an incinerator in East Leeds. The protestors chained themselves together to symbolise the (mind-boggling) proposal on the table; that Leeds taxpayers could be footing a series of contractual fines if not enough rubbish is sent to the incinerator, and this contract will last for 25 years. The protesters made these points in a speech at the council meeting, but there are concerns that the decision has already been made. Protestor Rachel Hubbard said:

The proposed incinerator in East Leeds would lock and chain the Council into a contract for burning at least 50% of Leeds’ domestic waste for 25 years. For 25 years, this would produce toxic emissions, climate change-causing gases and waste valuable resources.

We need a way of dealing with rubbish, but in 25 years recycling rates should have improved past this 50% – some councils have already hit 60% – which means we would be fined by the incinerator operators for recycling too much.

Terry O’Neill, a photographer with 50 years of snapping the stars under his belt, has an exhibition at the newly-opened Leeds Gallery at Munro House. The exhibition opens to the public today and is well worth taking a look; some of the images display a touching sensitivity towards subjects who were always in the public eye. Leeds Gallery is opening with a splash, then!

The YEP reports that there will be a demonstration on Saturday in North-West Leeds over plans to change a high-flying school into an “academy” outside LEA control. Local group Horsforth Against The Cuts say that plans are going ahead without proper community consultation and already 700 people have signed a petition arguing against the changes.

Also in the YEP; Morley is trying to gain Fairtrade status. Other towns in the region, including Batley and Harrogate are already Fairtrade, but it is not a trivial task to gain the accolade; a proper proposal containing documentary evidence has to be submitted to the Fairtrade Foundation.

Leeds Blogger Elly Snare (who also graces BGL pages) has some thoughts on Leeds Loves Shopping. It does seem as if the marketing strategy for Leeds is entirely based on shopping, sometimes; Elly says:

Celebrating that our city is swamped in retail, most of which has little or no idiosyncracy when compared with any other large urban centre, and which often appears to get preferential treatment in funding, marketing and attention than, say, our thriving alternative art/culture/music scene, seems a little defunct.

Do you have any thoughts on this? Let us know!

In the smaller local press this week

We’ve seen some interesting stories; in a striking parallel to the above, the Harrogate Advertiser notes that a new waste treatment plant near Knaresborough is on the cards, with campaigners against that saying “they are prepared for a long, hard fight to prevent Allerton Waste Recovery Park getting the go-ahead.” Also in the Advertiser is the story of Tate House, a care home for blind and partially sighted people, which on Saturday opened a sensory garden for the benefit of residents.

A Wakefield scrap merchant has had adverts banned by the ASA, according to the Wakefield Express. The billboard ads have featured underdressed ladies with no notion of safety equipment standing next to piles of scrap. Also in the Express is word that Wakefield PCT is going ahead with reorganising NHS services despite the NHS Reform bill not yet passed through the Lords. Jumping the gun a little, are we?

The Pontefract Express has a roundup of what appears in its paper copy, from MP reactions to boundary changes to copper cable theft, via I Love My Pet and the local cricket club.

In the Wetherby News is a lovely report of the Tadcaster Art School annual show and the opening of the Boston Spa children’s centre at Deepdale is covered.

Another roundup of what appears in the weekly paper for the Batley News; it’s not been a good week there as the Staincliffe and Batley Carr estates were the scenes of gunfire, and a disused school in Tong was destroyed by fire.

The Morley Observer and Advertiser has the story of a dad from East Ardsley who is attempting a 403 mile challenge to raise money for the National Deaf Children’s society. Dave McNamara, whose son is deaf, hopes to raise around £2500. Morley’s Deputy Mayor is donating a pile of children’s books to surgeries and reception areas around the market town to encourage 5-11 year olds to read.

The Wharfedale Observer reports that Otley Science Festival is Back! The Otley Courthouse will see three experts deliver quick-fire presentations tonight from 7:30. The Ilkley Gazette (which shares a masthead typeface with the Wharfedale Observer) has a great story on how volunteers have repaired a footpath in Heber’s Ghyll Wood in Ilkley. BGL loves walking around Ilkley Moor and is very pleased to see active work being done to maintain the paths and byways.

That’s it for the daily roundup, but check back later for news of a photo competition to showcase your idea of what Leeds is like. We’ll see you tomorrow where Mark O’Brien is in the hotseat bringing you details of what’s coming up over the weekend. As ever if you have anything you’d like to say, then say it! Email us or poke us on twitter, we love to hear from you.

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