Key figure in North Yorkshire Council is awarded OBE in New Year Honours list by King Charles III

The political leader who has played a key role this year in reshaping the local government landscape of North Yorkshire – and councils such as Harrogate – has been recognised by King Charles with a Royal Honour.
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The Tory leader of North Yorkshire Council, Coun Carl Les is to receive an OBE in the New Year Honours List in recognition of his dedication to providing strong and effective local government for North Yorkshire.

Coun Les has been at the heart of providing essential services to more than 600,000 residents and thousands of businesses across the county since he was chosen to lead the former North Yorkshire County Council in May 2015.

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Coun Les says he is proud to serve the county and its people but hasn’t done this alone.

Leader who reshaped politics in North Yorkshire - Coun Carl Les has received an OBE in the New Year Honours List. (Picture contributed)Leader who reshaped politics in North Yorkshire - Coun Carl Les has received an OBE in the New Year Honours List. (Picture contributed)
Leader who reshaped politics in North Yorkshire - Coun Carl Les has received an OBE in the New Year Honours List. (Picture contributed)

“Like many endeavours you can only achieve the best for people and businesses in local government through team effort,” he said.

“While I am delighted, though humbled, to receive such an award I see it as a reflection of the teams I have had the privilege to lead.

“I am every bit as honoured to have worked with such committed elected members and officers at the former county council and the new unitary, North Yorkshire Council.

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“Through our collective efforts and strong partnership working across York and North Yorkshire we have achieved the unprecedented, landing single council status alongside a devolution deal.

“Together these are a game-changer for our region, presenting us with the best possible opportunity to protect the most valued and essential public services for our residents, while unleashing the local powers and funds which will drive economic growth and deliver better job opportunities for people and businesses.”

Coun Les led the process during local government reorganisation, which saw the eight former councils providing public services in North Yorkshire became one, abolishing councils including Harrogate’s and Scarborough’s.

The unitary North Yorkshire Council launched on April 1 and is the largest council in England by geography and third largest by population.

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North Yorkshire also made history by becoming the first council in England to pursue unitary status and devolution side-by-side.

Together, he believes, these huge change programmes will place the county in the strongest position in terms of finances and economic opportunity.

Coun Les has represented the Catterick area for more than 20 years.

He has also been a member of the North Yorkshire Police Authority for 15 years and now chairs the Police and Crime Panel.

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Apart from being a councillor he brings his professional business experience from working in the tourism sector.

Following his graduation, Carl worked and managed the family business before selling it and retiring in 2014.

Alongside his business and council activity he was always active in the community, being a school governor and trustee, a chair of North Yorkshire Youth and chair of a geographically expanding CAB service.

He is also a volunteer director and presently interim chairman of Wensleydale Railway plc.

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The New Year Honours list recognises the achievements and service of people across the UK from all walks of life.

Royal Honours are dispensed by the King but most are given on recommendations from the Prime Minister, particularly political honours.

OBEs are awarded for people who've a distinguished regional or county-wide role in any field, through achievement or service to the community.