More support to further improve York’s private rented property

City of York Council is offering more support to help landlords further improve standards in the city’s privately rented properties and to adhere to their legal obligations.

Training courses for agents and other private rented sector professionals were held last month on licensing and the management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and which followed the successful prosecution of a landlord who hadn’t licensed his HMO. Excellent feedback was received about the course and the council has committed to running more.

Following this success, the council is also running a second course to help landlords address damp and mould and excess cold in properties on 23 March, 1:30pm at West Offices. Damp and mould are the major source of complaints from tenants in York, particularly over the winter months and partly due to the higher proportion of older, energy-inefficient houses.

New river safety information pack launched for schools

A new river safety resource pack for schools has launched this week, having been developed to help reach every child in every school and build an early understanding of the risks of open water.

It’s also been endorsed by a York headteacher who saved a drowning man from the frozen Ouse in 2010.

One of the priorities of the council-commissioned River Safety Action Plan (RoSPA) is to improve education about river safety. Following a campaign devised by York St John University’s Students Union, supported by the partnership, the council has also developed a new information and resources pack for use by schools across the city.

Labour to impose 20 mph speed limits on all roads in York?

In the wake of decisions in London Labour Councillors in York are now advocating, on social media, the introduction of a default 20 mph speed limit across the whole of York.

Crash map York

Labour were accused of sneaking through their proposed “wide area”  20 mph limits when voters last went to the polls in 2011. Their plan was in the small print of a manifesto with most residents never saw.

Evening standard headline

The scheme in London is apparently aimed at “reducing cycling casualties”. Ironically a previous study in the capital revealed that the introduction of 20 mph limits there had resulted in an increase in average speeds.

 In York, most cycling accidents in result in slight injuries, occur on roads where vehicle speeds are already low and often at road junctions (click for map). Accident levels have reduced in recent years to a total of 144 in 2013 (the last full year for which figures are available) following the introduction of more “off road” cycle tracks. There were no fatalities.

Cycling was 61% safer in 2012 than it was in 2002 (per mile travelled) according to the CTC.

Labour has spent £600,000 on implementing “wide area” 20 mph limits since 2012.

Out of the 535km of roads within York’s Outer Ring Road / A64.

  • 333km (62%) of road are subject to a 20mph limit.
  • 202km (38%) have a speed limit of 30mph or more.

Of the 333km of roads with a 20mph limit, 275km (51% of the total) have been created as 20mph ‘signed only’ limits during the last 3 years.

Prior to this the majority of 20mph limits were traffic calmed 20mph Zones.

The council has refused FOI requests to provide information on “before and after” accident rates on the “signed only” streets in west York or to provide information on the actual effect – if any – that the signs have had on driver speeds.

It is to be hoped that all candidates contesting the Council elections on May 7th will make their policies clear on how cycling can be encouraged and made safer.

 In addition electors need to know which Party’s will extend 20 mph limits and which would focus resources at accident black-spots.