Crowds add to litter problems in York

Its not just the transport systems that have been under pressure in York this weekend.

People have been pointing to issues with street cleansing in the City centre. Can’t be easy for Council staff and the BID team to keep on top of the problems with such high volumes of pedestrians around (not to mention the security zones).

Even in suburban areas we’ve been finding examples of full bins and badly littered streets. All have been reported for Council attention.

Full bin at Askham Lane bus stop
Same issue at the Cornlands Road shops
Shops forecourt badly littered

Graffiti and full litter bins in Acomb reported

We understand that responsibility for implementing the new graffiti removal process has been reassigned within the York Council.

Those reporting incidents “on line” CLICK receive an immediate reference number which makes any necessary follow up easier.

The jury is still out on the effectiveness of the Council new graffiti policy although the responsible executive member does not seem to have taken any action to highlight concerns to the police, while the Council still no longer routinely takes action to apply anti graffiti coatings at vulnerable locations.

Graffiti near Morrisons has been reported for removal
We’ve also reported a full litter bin on the Acomb car park

York Council tackling nettles.

Contractors were out today removing nettle growth from the side of the Foxwood Lane footpath.

Contractors in action on Foxwood Lane

The nettles had been a nuisance during the late summer period although not, this year, as bad as in some previous years.

Mechanical treatment – often by local farmers – is usually an efficient and economical way of controlling weeds and cutting back hedges.

Meanwhile a Freedom of Information request has revealed that this year weed control contractors have only been paid part of the £37,020.89 value of the contract. The response says that £18,498.70 has so far been paid during the current year.

The response does reveal the amounts paid to specialist weed control contractors over the last 9 years.

Weeds blocking public footpath in Windsor Garth reported again this week
  • 2019/20 – A. Morrison’s & Sons £37,020.89.
  • 2018/19 – Munroe’s – £31,189
  • 2017/18 – Munroe’s – £31,189
  • 2016/17 – Munroe’s – £31,189
  • 2015/16 – Munroe’s – £27,192
  • 2014/15 – Dobsons – £68,538
  • 2013/14 – Dobsons – £66,867
  • 2012/13 – Nomix Enviro – £69,792
  • 2011/12 – Nomix Enviro – £79,036

Interestingly the York Council, in the Spring, accepted a tender the value of which was only half that submitted in 2011.

It was later discovered that the list of streets to be treated was incomplete.

There have been chronic problems with weed control during the summer and, as we reported a few days ago, many streets still require attention.

Recycling bins overflowing at shopping centre

We hope that the various charities which have clothes and shoe banks at various locations around the City will check that they are not full. The Christmas period tends to be a busy one for recycling. It is frustrating for residents who try to do the right thing and give the clothes to a good cause.

Clothes banks at the Acomb Wood Drive shopping centre are full

NB. The Council are making their final green bin emptying collections in most areas this week. Green bin emptying will start again in April

Some streets missed again from weed control programme

With winter settling in, and leaves filling gutters and paths, we’ve had a look back at some roads that were subject to complaints about weed growth earlier in the summer.

Sadly in some cases the weeds are still there. The Council will need to use mechanical means to remove the remaining growth.

The weed and grass growth is mainly in drainage gullies but some paths are still obstructed.

Weed growth and leaves in Queenswood Grove gutters
There has been a long term problem with these weeds which obstruct part of the Windsor Garth footpath

Balfour Street tree felled

The tree that was damaging railings and the footpath on Balfour Street has finally been felled. The Council have also removed accumulated leaf fall. The path is now much safer.

The opened up area to the rear has revealed locations where at least two additional trees could be planted.

The work followed complaints to executive Councillors. The self seeded tree had been reported 2 years ago. It caused considerable damage to the railings and footpath in the interim. It is likely to be some time before the tree stump rots away and allows permanent remedial work to be undertaken on the railings and footpath.

Public services improving in York this week

The York Council has had a good week in providing public services. 100% refuse collection success today with the only significant missed collections, earlier in the week, down to “blocked accesses”. Their web page detailing service standards achieved can be accessed by clicking here

Elsewhere the fallen leaves that we reported on Bellhouse Way have been cleared from the paths

Bellhouse Way largely clear of leaves
Elsewhere we have reported leaf fall on Chesney Field….
…and on Foxwood Lane
We’ve also asked for the snicket link to Chesney Field to be cleared of obstructions and detritus

£3227 fine for breaching clean regulations in York

Supporting work to enforce air quality in York, City of York Council has prosecuted a contractor for burning pollutants and waste offences.

At York Magistrates’ Court on 5 November, Richard Heppell, aged 28 of Knapton Close, Strensall, pleaded guilty to burning materials which caused the emission of dark smoke, for carrying waste without a licence, failing in his duty of care to dispose of waste lawfully. He was ordered to pay a total £3,227.58.

In April 2019, a report was made to the council of commercial waste being burned at a building site at Askham Bryan and dark smoke being emitted. Officers visited the site that day and found that rather than pay for this commercial waste – which included cables and wires – to be removed legally, he burned it, creating polluting, dark smoke.

Contractor Richard Heppell from AOS (Art of Smart) said he was carrying out electrical work at the new property being built. He confirmed under caution that some of this waste, which included coated cables and quantities of polythene and polystyrene packaging, would have been from his company. Mr Heppell was warned that burning any commercial waste which causes dark smoke is an offence.

Within 30 minutes of this visit, another complaint was received alleging that further dark smoke had been seen when the bonfire was lit again. Officers visited the site the following day and confirmed that the waste had been burned, found documentation addressed to Mr Heppell’s business, and found waste from previous jobs he had undertaken.

Mr Heppell failed to produce details of his waste carriers licence and how he disposes of his waste. He said he was unaware that he had to keep details of his waste disposal and didn’t realise he needed to have a licence. He obtained a waste carrier’s licence on 7 May. When interviewed under caution he admitted burning the waste, saying that he had “panicked”, had been “very stupid” and immediately regretted doing so.

He was prosecuted for four offences relating to creating polluting, noxious smoke. He pleaded guilty to all offences by post and the court fined him £500, he was ordered to pay £2,677.58 costs and a court surcharge of £50.

For more information on how to dispose of commercial waste legally and safely, please visit: https://www.york.gov.uk/info/20090/commercial_waste/1569/commercial_waste_disposal_responsibilitie

Possible good news about tree maintenance in York

We’ve been unhappy with tree management in York for several years. A new Council policy adopted in 2016 failed to address the issue while budget cut backs let only a minimal tree maintenance work taking place.

On streets like Wetherby Road and Green Lane a combination the poor historical choice of species type coupled with trees being planted too close to the highway, meant that lopping happened only by attrition. Branches grew until they reached the point where a high sided vehicle knocked them off.

Tree disease is also a problem in the City and this is taking away a lot of the available maintenance resources. Safety is of course of paramount importance.

We were, however, disappointed to have to report a few days ago that a self seeded tree on Balfour Street, reported for attention some 2 years ago, was still causing damage to the adjacent railings and footpath. Council officials claimed that they could not use their budget to appoint a contractor to remove the tree and plant a replacement a few metres away in a more suitable location.

Now there seems to have been a change of heart.

Officials are saying that they will arrange for the work to be done within the next few weeks. A accumulation of leaves on nearby paths will also be swept up

Balfour Street