York Council report details air quality improvements for sixth consecutive year

The latest statistics on air quality from City of York Council, gathered by the UK’s most extensive provincial monitoring network, shows improvement across the city, although there are areas still above national targets.car-emissions

Areas with poor air quality include:

  • Gillygate,
  • Holgate,
  • Lawrence Street and
  • George Hudson Street/Rougier Street

The 2015/16 report will be presented to the Executive Member for the Environment at his Decision Session on 5 September.

York has one of the most extensive air quality monitoring networks in the UK outside London monitoring nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and other pollutants since 1999, and with NO2-specific monitoring at 340 locations*.Throughout 2015, NO2 concentrations have decreased at most of the monitoring stations in line with a steady downward trend.

In the Air Quality Management  Areas (AQMAs) in the city centre, along Salisbury Terrace and in Fulford, NO2 and particulate matter levels are now fractionally lower than nationally-permitted levels which could remove certain areas of concern.

These lower levels have been achieved through a stream of initiatives driven by the council’s low emission strategies. The most recent Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP3), adopted in December 2015, sets out how York intends to continue to deliver its ambitious and pioneering strategy and to work towards becoming an internationally recognised ultra-low emission city.

The measures undertaken in 2015 to improve air quality include:
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Golfers invited to tee off for charity

Golfers will putt their game to the test as they take part in a charity golf day at Fulford Golf Club on Monday 29 August.

The golf day is an annual event in support of the Club Captains’ charity, the Alzheimer’s Society.  This year Fulford Golf Club have kindly offered to share the day to also raise funds for the Lord Mayor’s charities, which for the 2016/17 Civic Year are; York LGBT Forum, York Racial Equality Network, St Nicks, and York Civic Trust.

The day, which is sponsored by Ray Chapman Motors, will see golfers from across the city and region join together whilst pitching in to raise funds for charity by playing a four ball ‘Stableford’ competition.
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Ex homeless young people make over Lincoln Court garden

Lincoln Court

Lincoln Court

Today,  Friday 26 August, a group of young people who have experienced homelessness will be sprucing up the gardens at Lincoln Court, a City of York Council sheltered accommodation scheme in Acomb.

The gardeners are part of Enable, a project that brings together young people from the Safe and Supported Housing (SASH) scheme and older people who need a helping hand. The younger people are challenged to complete tasks such as decorating and gardening identified by the council’s 60+ housing specialist service. They are helped with the work by council and SASH staff.

Through SASH, a supported lodging scheme in York, the young people learn skills they will need when they have a place of their own while the older people get to pass on their knowledge and make new friends. The scheme is supported by Homebase which generously and regularly donates materials to it.  Continue reading

That was the year that was – 1980

Following on from yesterdays story about public satisfaction with Council services, it seems that little changes. 

According to one of our Focus newsletters published in 1980,  local residents were most satisfied with refuse collection and least happy about highway maintenance. 

That’s much the same story today although the relative ranking of some other public services has changed. 

The two local Councils (York District and North Yorkshire County) were both Conservative controlled in those days. York was to become a Labour run authority in 1983, something which pretty much continued unchanged until 2001 when the Liberal Democrats gained ground in local by-elections. 

Focus newsletters have improved from being hand written to using a computer design with full colour printing. So some things do change.

NB. The 1980 editor was Peggy Barker who lived in Stuart Road. She was a Liberal Councillor in the Westfield Ward for 5 years. 

1980 Focus survey result



Blocked gulleys blamed for recent flooding in east York

click to access

We warned about false economies 4 years ago. click to access

A report into flash flooding in York has blamed it partly on lack of gulley cleaning.

This will come as little surprise to readers of these pages.

We said in 2012, when the then Labour controlled Council decided to end routine gully cleaning, that it was a false economy.

So it has proved to be.

Credit the present Council who have acted to increase the cleaning regime but not quickly enough to prevent flooding in some areas in June.

The Council report reveals that as many as 50% of drains that have been inspected have been found to be blocked. A number of Yorkshire Water maintained drainage and sewer pipes are also blocked.  

£125k in capital funding, for “drainage hotspots”, has been made available by the Council.

Renewed call in York for lower public transport fares

Petrol prices down again August 2016 compared to July 2016:

Fuel proce gra[ph as at Aug 2016According to government figures released today petrol prices reduced by 2.4 pence per litre whilst diesel prices were down 1.6 pence per litre. Click for details

The figures are likely to increase calls for taxi and bus fares in York to be reduced.

Renewable energy use down in UK for the 3 month period April to June 2016, compared to the same period a year earlier

Also according to the governmentEnergy imports August 2016

  • Primary energy consumption in the UK on a fuel input basis fell by 0.3%, on a temperature adjusted basis consumption fell by 1.8% continuing the downward trend. (click for details)
  • Indigenous energy production fell by 3.4%, due to reduced coal output, though both oil and bioenergy production increased. Click for details
  • Electricity generation by Major Power Producers down 0.9%, with coal down 72% but offset by increase in gas up 57%.* click for details
  • Gas provided 50.9% of electricity generation by Major Power Producers, with nuclear at 24.2%, renewables at 18.1% and coal at a record low of 6.8%.* click for details
  • Wind generation by Major Power Producers down 14.5%, with offshore down 9.0% and onshore down 20%, due to lower average wind speeds.* click for details
  • Low carbon share of electricity generation by Major Power Producers down 1.6 percentage points to 42.3%, as rise in bio-energy not enough to offset falls in nuclear and wind generation.* click for details

*Major Power Producers (MPPs) data published monthly, all generating companies data published quarterly.

Better GCSE level results at York High School

The Press is today reporting,

York High SchoolStaff and students at York High School are celebrating hugely improved GCSE results after a very challenging year in 2015.

Headteacher David Ellis said: “I am thrilled that the proportion of Year 11 students who have gained 5 good GCSE grades has almost doubled this year compared to 2015, even surpassing our results from two years ago. This is a result of the hard work of our young people and the determined and supportive work of my colleagues. We were extremely disappointed with the way that grade boundaries were moved in 2015 which had a negative impact for our students a year ago but I am incredibly proud of the way that the whole school community has risen to the challenge in the last 12 months resulting in the progress we have made this year”.

Associate head teacher Rod Sims, who is responsible for achievement at York High commented on the great spirit within Year 11 in 2016. He said: “The very pleasing improvements this year are in large part due to the way that the students responded to all of the extra demands that staff have put on them. They have turned up for extra revision sessions in large numbers, in some cases very early in the morning! The young people recognised that as the examination boards continue to raise the bar the challenge of gaining high grades is ever increasing and they worked with staff incredibly hard to gain the very best grades that they could. Our students can be very proud of their achievements and it has been a real pleasure to work with them and their Head of Year Mrs. Harrison to enable us to achieve the outcomes we have.”

One pupil celebrating results is Chloe Stead who achieved 7 GCSEs at grade C. Chloe was the first baby born in York in the new millennium and her results epitomise the effort that the year group as a whole have made this year.

Mr Ellis said “We are delighted for Chloe and the whole year group. Many pupils of all abilities have fulfilled their own individual targets and potential which will allow them to move successfully on to the next stage in their education and careers. We wish them all the very best.”

For photos click here

60% of York residents say road maintenance is “poor”

With the York Council’s ruling Executive due to discuss it’s first quarter performance later today, a new survey has revealed that many residents are unhappy with public service standards in the City.

West York survey results July/Aug 2016

West York survey results July/Aug 2016

Road repairs (60% rated “poor”) and footpath  repairs (57%)  top the list of woes, but there is also criticism of litter bin provision and car parking arrangements in some sub-urban estates.

Best rated service was recycling (92% rated good or satisfactory), with refuse collection also rated positively (89%).

The Council’s investment in new street lighting seems to be impressing people  with 87% now rating it as good or satisfactory.

However there is little evidence that the Council’s proclaimed priority – investing in street level service quality – is having a positive effect.

Dissatisfaction with roads and footpaths is at an all time high.

Councillors today will be given a different set of figures to consider. Their “key performance indicators” are not included on the Executive agenda but can be accessed via the”open data”  web site.

This is in itself a step forward from previous years when data was often hidden from residents.

Transport KPIs August 2016 click to access

Transport KPIs August 2016 click to access

However a closer look at the stats reveals that, not only are most quarter one figures unavailable, but also many of the out-turn figures for 2015/16 haven’t been updated.

No improvement targets are identified.

Quite what “performance”  – other than a bland anecdotal commentary – Councillors will therefore be considering later today is a mystery.

The York Council must now put more emphasis on customer satisfaction. Publishing the results of quarterly residents “talkabout” panel views would be a start.

The key message though, as the Council begins to construct its budget priorities for next year, is that  residents want to see more invested in repairing our roads and footpaths.