York Council looks like it will soon get to grips with improving cleanliness standards in the City.
A report, to be considered on 25th January, makes several recommendations, although the most significant may be that the management of street cleaning will be devolved to local Ward Committees.
The report does, however, say that the funds available for cleaning will be reduced.
The report says, “Cleansing will take place with a minimum frequency of quarterly and a maximum of daily, depending on the location. Although in some locations there will be a reduction in the frequency of visits by a large mechanical road sweeper the new schedules will allow the vehicle to be driven more slowly which will ensure improved removal of detritus. This will not only improve cleanliness standards but also remove the matter in which weeds are able to grow”.
The report notably fails to say what standards will apply to sub-urban shopping areas, public spaces and communal areas on estates. These are often the places which have the biggest litter problems
Litter and Poop scoop bins
The report makes a welcome proposal to increase the number of litter bins. The number of litter reports started to increase when the last Council removed several bins. (They responded by stopping the publication of statistics showing the number of complaints being received – see below).
The Council will also move over to combined litter/poop scoop bins. These are emptied by the same operative and end up in landfill.
Despite fly tipping costing the Council £69,000 to remove in 2014, only £2248 was recovered from fines. During the same year, 8 fixed penalty notices were issued for litter dropping and dog fouling.
The Council is promising that its much delayed on line issue reporting system will finally become available in the summer.
It means that the current – dysfunctional – “report it “system and the outdated “Smarter York” app will be scrapped. The latter, introduced in a hurry in 2011 by a new Council administration, lacked the convenience and flexibility of commercial systems such as “Fix my Street”. The Smarter York app is currently costing the Council over £12,000 a year to maintain with use having dwindled to less than 4 a week.
We will see; but the Councils promise to soft launch the system, before promoting its use, is a welcome step forward.
The Council is also promising to launch a “One Planet” App which will allow residents to advertise surplus items for “exchange”. We assume that they mean what effectively would be a version of Freecycle. The system would also “receive alerts regarding which type of waste to present on which week and a scanning facility to indicate if an item is recyclable based on York’s collection policy”.
Attached to the report is a welcome glimpse of the performance indicators “lost to view” a few years ago.