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A model charter which recommends high standards for the environmental services provided by local councils was launc...
A model charter which recommends high standards for the environmental services provided by local councils was launched today by Environment Minister Tim Yeo.

'Your Council and the Environment' was compiled with the assistance of local authority associations who urged their members to make full use of the charter.

Speaking at the launch, Mr Yeo said: 'Many local authorities have already produced their own charters covering their environmental services. I hope they will use this to update them where necessary while others can use the model to set out the standards they are aiming for in their areas.

'The model charter deals with services of most concern to the public, summarises a citizen's environmental rights and explains what individuals can do to help their council protect the environment. Many people rightly want to play a hands-on role in protecting their environment - this charter will help them do that effectively.

'The charter covers 21 key areas including air pollution control, dog nuisance, litter, noise and rubbish collection. Mr Yeo highlighted local authorities which are setting a good example: London Borough of Lewisham - clearing blocked drains within one working day; Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea - introducing a doorstep recycling service; Westminster City Council - establishing a 24 hour noise abatement service; Nottingham City Council - appointing litter wardens in problem areas.

Essex County Council - acknowledging all representations; on planning issues within one working day; Cambridge City Council - advising interested parties on the outcome of a planning decision within one week; Plymouth City Council - providing a collection service; for household refrigerators to enable CFCs to be recycled; Bedfordshire County Council - doubling the area of planted woodland by 2015; Leicester City Council - responding to 75% of complaints about unsafe buildings within one hour.

The model charter was produced by a working group of the Central and Local Government Environment Forum which is made up of representatives from Government Departments, local authorities plus business, consumer and environmental groups. The charter has been awarded the Crystal Mark for clarity by the Plain English Campaign.

It will be available in public libraries and Citizens' Advice Bureaux.

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