Blight hits west York

Good to see that the litter bin on Tadcaster Road, which we reported last week as being full, was quickly emptied by the Council.

Shame that we are now seeing an increase in other examples of environmental crime

Empty cans blight the cycle underpass at London Bridge despite two litter bins being provided. Graffiti also a continuing problem.

London Bridge

Seat dumped in Acomb Wood. Been a lot of problems with litter there. The wood is maintained by volunteers, is a heaven for wildlife and a popular walk for locals.

Acomb Wood

Tadcaster Road clean up required

Disappointing to see litter bins filled to overflowing on the Tadcaster Road entrance to the City. Also some graffiti. We’ve reported both.

Its also disappointing to see that the cycle path near the golf course still hasn’t received any maintenance.

Given that the Council has been rushing around trying to introduce new cycling facilities it seems strange that those which already exist are so badly neglected. Not the way to get people out of their cars and onto their bikes.

Huge amounts of money are on offer to Councils to get issues like this sorted.

cycle path being gradually overgrown. Surface now breaking up.

Outdated air quality report published by Council

The York Council will consider a report on how air quality in the City varied during 2019.

It reveals that, even before lock-down, NO2 emission levels had continued to fall in the City. The report cites a number of reasons for the improvement including a move to electric buses, anti idling measures and general improvements in vehicle technology.

Perhaps surprisingly, the report fails to analyse what has been happening recent weeks. Despite a return to near pre lock-down levels of traffic on many roads in the City, air quality has remained good.

Rather disingenuously the report author tries to draw a connection between COVID-19 deaths and poor air quality. No figures or independent research is offered to support the thesis.

As of lunchtime today pollution levels in the City were low.

Pollution levels in York at midday 16th September 2020

Environmental crime figures for York revealed

A report to be discussed next week reveals how many people have been prosecuted in York for various environmental crimes.

46 people were prosecuted for urinating in public with fines and costs averaging over £400.

At the other end of the scale, only 3 Fixed Penalty Notices were issued for dog fouling offences.

Three people were fined for littering and 20 for fly tipping

14 warnings for fly posting were given together with 12 Fixed Penalty Notices.

There were no notices issued under the “Public Space Protection Orders”. These are the orders that seek to prevent anti social behaviour in specific neighbourhoods.

Too much graffiti on utility boxes in York

As we have said before, these It seems that both utility companies and volunteers have given up on removing graffiti from utility boxes around the City. Several instances have been reported over the last couple of months without a response.

Often local volunteers and Councillors would make cleaning up graffiti a top priority. Environmental crimes like these as it can damage the image of a local neighbourhood. There has been little evidence of that recently.

The real key though is for the authorities to identify and take action against those who are responsible. That also isn’t happening.

The graffiti removal service launched last year – which cleans publicly owned street furniture – has been much more successful.

The annual – pandemic delayed – Great British Spring Clean starts on 11th September. We hope that the Council will include “tag” removal from these utility boxes as part of that campaign.

York Council to buy 150 acres of agricultural land for new forest.

Refuses to reveal location but cost will be £1.65 million!

The Forest GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

In one of the most bizarre proposals to come before the York Council, officials are recommending buying agricultural land “within the York boundary” which will subsequently be planted with trees. It says only that it is located in the Green Belt.

The forest scheme is intended to offset a proportion of the CO2 emissions generated within the City.

The Council says it can’t reveal the location of the new forest “for commercial reasons”.

While many residents will support the objective of the initiative, the lack of background information on the scheme is extraordinary.

There is no indication of the grade of the agricultural land in question. At a time when greater food self sufficiency is a high priority for the country, relative priorities must surely be fully evaluated before productive land is lost?

The report also says that the new forest – which might be designated as a “stray” – will provide new accessible paths and trails for York residents.

Officials point to the health benefits of greater exercise.

They are right, of course, as we have seen during lock-down. But the Council’s position lacks credibility as it has failed to maintain existing paths and trails, some of which are now inaccessible because of neglect.

The absence of any maintenance and management strategy for any new wood is one of the major omissions from the report.

The Council also quotes (rightly) the need to encourage pollinators (bees and other insects) but again fails to evaluate the effect that planting more woodland would have against providing – for example – wildflower meadows on the land.

In total the Council expects to spend £3 million on establishing new woodland and strays around the City.

It will need to do a lot more work, if taxpayers are to be convinced that this is an effective, and thoroughly thought through, reaction to the global conservation challenge.

NB. In the Westfield area, local Councillors promised 12 months ago to promote the adoption of “stray” status for Acomb Moor. There has been no recent update on the progress that they have made.

More farming on Acomb Moor

The field at the top of Foxwood Lane which was ploughed a couple of weeks ago has now been levelled.

There is a narrow footpath being worn around the outside of the field but there is still no safe access.

We hope that any outstanding issues are resolved following a Council decision meeting which is taking place on Tuesday.

Flooding report – February 2020 wettest on record

£4.9 million cost for pumping station to protect Fordlands Road area.

It cost the City of York council £180,000 to respond to and recover from the floods which took place in the City in February.  This was the wettest February on record, with the most flood warnings issued in any one day across England. Rainfall fell on already saturated ground increasing the impacts.

The Council will consider a report on the problem at a meeting next week.

There is some debate about the apparently conflicting advice issued by local agencies and the information included on government river gauge web sites.

Generally flood defences held well although there were issues in the Fulford/Fordlands Road/Germany Beck area. A separate report on flood prevention plans for that area can be read by clicking here.

The preferred option would include the construction of a £4.9 million pumping station. If funding for the project can be found the work could start on construction next summer.

The meeting will also consider the latest Environment Agency report on its flood prevention works programme

Environment Agency Work Programme 2020