3 weekly bin emptying – Council retreat

The Council has abandoned its proposal to empty green bins, and collect recycling, every 3 weeks.

The Councils waste collection service has been heavily criticised over the last few weeks with a lack of HGV drivers blamed for erratic, and sometimes non existent, collections.

The decision on less frequent collections comes in the wake of a survey of residents views and priorities.

The Council failed to ask residents whether they favoured the 3 weekly plan but the majority of respondents said that they were happy with the current arrangements.

Poll results. Click for full list https://democracy.york.gov.uk/documents/s150609/Annex%201%20Results%20-%20Recycling%20Changes.pdf

Several said that they would prefer, instead of boxes, to have another wheeled bin in which to store glass, metals plastic. This hasn’t been taken up by the Council but they do say that recyclables (not paper) can now be mixed in the two baskets already provided for many residents.

The Councils Executive are now being asked to agree to proposals for the procurement of a new low emission fleet of recycling vehicles. They will also consider a proposal to start garden waste collections a month earlier. They currently start in April to the end of November, but under new proposals would start in March (beginning from March 2022).

The Executive will also consider “the cleaner and safer option of introducing of wheeled bins or other arrangements to around 6,200 properties (which currently use black bags for non –recyclable waste), predominantly in the Micklegate, Guildhall, Clifton, Holgate and Heworth wards.  This will be taken to a future decision session of the Executive Member for Environment and Climate Change”.

“Changes planned include extending garden waste collections, so we can collect green bins earlier, introducing bags to bins to 6,200 properties, allowing residents to mix glass, cans and plastics in boxes to provide more flexibility, and introducing new and more efficient waste vehicles”.  

Following Executive approval, residents will be able to recycle all materials together apart from paper and cardboard. Meaning, glass, cans and plastics can be placed in the same box (2 boxes per household). This is because the council had to adapt during the Covid pandemic and worked with its waste contractor at the facility to separate plastic, tins and glass. This emerged as a more efficient way of collecting recycling. It has not changed the way the materials collected are recycled and has been a useful pilot. 

The Executive are being asked to consider that the consultation responses from residents across the city should inform the council’s response to the Government’s consultation.  If approved, further options will be considered at a later decision session. 

As the council’s 6-week consultation (30 March to 11 May) was coming to a close, the Government launched a national consultation on the ‘Consistency in Household and Business Recycling in England’, looking at wide ranging and ambitious changes to the future of recycling in the UK.

In addition to this, further details on the Environment Bill, which makes clear the Government’s intentions to potentially pay councils as part of mandatory weekly food collection, as well as introduce other significant changes to waste collection from 2024 to 2025, were released on 12 May.

Until the Environment Bill is passed and further details emerge from the national recycling consultation, there will remain a significant amount of uncertainty over what councils will need to do and by when.

A report will be taken to the Executive on 24 June at 5.30pm, the report can be read online ahead of the meeting, which will be livestreamed and can be watched online live, or afterwards. 

Coronavirus York updates; 16th June 2021

Hospital patients and deaths

One fewer hospital patient today. No more deaths.


Those aged over 21 can now book an appointment for a vaccination. Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

A total of 1023 vaccinations were completed in the City yesterday (Tuesday)

Test results

Twenty six positive test results today bring the cumulative total up to 12,675

The number of cases in the City has increased from 116 to 133

The rate /100k population is now 63.15.

That is the highest rate seen since 28th February 2021. The rate is trending to reach 78 over the weekend. (The peak rate seen this year was the 671 on 8th January).

Infection rates in York are rising more sharply at present than is being seen at county and national levels. There was similar trend last autumn



  • 5389 PCR tests were conducted during the week ending 11th June
  • Of these, 2.2% were found to be positive. That represents an increase on the 2.0% positivity found during the previous period
  • In addition, 2024 “lateral flow” tests were also conducted on 15th June.

Council public service turmoil

The York Council is coming in for more criticism as – for the second day running – waste, recycling and green bin collection arrangements failed yesterday.

Residents were advised to leave out their bins but most remain unemptied.

Officially the Council’s excuse is that there is a shortage of HGV drivers. That has been true since BREXIT saw some drivers return to their homelands although other pressures have resulted from COVID absences and increasing numbers of jobs in the commercial delivery sector.

The actual HGV training (practical) only takes 5 days but the entire process from start to end will take around 8-10 weeks to get the licence in hand.

Usually employers pay for the training in return for a guarantee that the driver will stay with the company/authority for a minimum contract period.

Some HGV drivers can earn up to £45.000 a year. There are an estimated 500,000 vacancies for HGV drivers in the UK.

The Council first identified a shortage of HGV drivers in November 2018 click.

It appears to have made little progress in the interim to ensure that vacancies can be covered.

In the meantime, it needs to be more proactive in telling residents when they can expect to have their waste collected.

If necessary, auxiliary “bring” sites should be established for green waste.

It is not just refuse collection failings which are causing concerns.

Many sports fields and play areas have not had the grass trimmed for several weeks. The neglect runs contrary to the Council s policy of tackling obesity and encouraging healthy lifestyles. When they are eventually cut, mounds of cuttings blight the parks and amenity spaces.

Weeds are now growing rapidly in many gutters. The spraying contractors got off to an early start this year but standards have gradually declined as the summer growing season has got into full swing. Where gutters have not been swept properly, weeds are now reaching a metre or more in height. Again the Council have failed to tell residents when they can expect to see their streets treated,

The promised rain later this week, will see more rapid growth in grass, weeds and bushes. Many of the latter are already obstructing footpaths.

The Council web site confirms that they cut grass “every two to three weeks”