A64 getting a Spring Clean today

“Not before time”

As part of the Big Spring Clean 2015, City of York Council has planned a major clean-up of the verges and laybys on the A64.

Alongside 45 different community activities to support the Big Spring Clean, council staff will start work on the stretch of the outer ring road from Bilbrough Top to the Hopgrove Roundabout on 23 March.

Motorists are advised that sections of the dual carriageway’s single, inside lanes will be closed to protect workers, from 8pm after the evening peak and reopened ready for the morning peak.

Council teams will be undertaking other aspects of spring cleaning in the same week including brushing up signage and traffic islands across the city. Following council work to prune trees on the riverbank, together with the River Foss Society, council teams will also help clean up the Foss waterway and banks.

Council staff are also volunteering to join in litter picks organised for the areas in and around Hazel Court and West Offices.

To volunteer or for more information about the Big Spring Clean, visit www.york.gov.uk/smarteryork email smarter.york@york.gov.uk, call 01904 551551, follow @CityofYork #SmarterYork

Thoresby Road rubbish removed

Council workers have cleared the rubbish from near the flats in Thoresby Road. It had been there for nearly a week.

Sheena and rubbish

Some tenants had been storing surplus items on balconies and in communal areas. Following a recent fire, the Council asked for areas to be kept clear.

Unfortunately a promised rubbish wagon did not arrive to coincide with the clear out. Some residents then added to the pile of rubbish

Perfect Storm

Council official blame a series of factors for the problems. 

Reduced bin emptying frequencies and the closure of the nearest recycling centre on Beckfield Lane contributed.

Many tenants didn’t have their own transport and the skips provided  through the residents association were coming less frequently than  in the past.

Even the Councils paid for bulky rubbish removal service only takes certain types of rubbish.

Things look set to get worse as Labour roll out their £35 green bin emptying charge while their policy of emptying grey bins only once every 3 or 4 weeks could produce a “perfect storm” for dumpers.

Residents can sign a petition opposing further reductions to the bins emptying service by clicking here.

The Liberal Democrats have promised, if they are elected to lead the Council again on May 7th, that they will re-introduce ward budgets. In the past these funds have been used to stage recycling days when a convoys of waste vehicles tour the ward removing unwanted items.



LibDem candidate takes action over Thoresby Road dumping

Sheena Jackson  with some of the rubbish she is getting cleared.

LibSheena Jackson with some of he rubbish she is getting cleared.

rubbish dumped Thoresby flats

Rubbish dumped in Thoresby Road

Liberal Democrat Sheena Jackson has asked the Council to quickly remove rubbish for the front of flats in the Thoresby Road area.

It is believed that some of the rubbish was previously stored in stairway areas causing a fire risk. But it appears that oficials when clearing the area failed to have a skip on hand to take it away immediately.

This led to more dumping.

Litter drift has now added to the unsightly problems.

It is hoped that the rubbish will be removed today.



£3 million green bus funding to help clean up town and city air

Nearly 150 buses across the country to be fitted with pollution-reducing technology. York awarded £475k to make cleaner buses for the city

Sightseeing bus converted to battery power


More cleaner buses will be on the streets of towns and cities across England following the announcement of over £3 million funding today (11 March 2015).

York first pioneered the development of battery powered buses in 2010

Seven towns and cities have been awarded government grants to fit green technology to existing buses to help improve air quality and create a better environment for residents and visitors.

Electric buses pioneered by York in 2010


Baroness Kramer said:

The £3 million funding announced today will help improve town centre air across England, benefitting residents and businesses. These grants continue this government’s commitment to lowering emissions from public transport and support the growth of green transport in the UK.

The funding is the latest tranche of support from the Clean Vehicle Technology Fund, which has retrofitted more than 1650 vehicles with green technology.

This round of awards will see technology suitable for the stop-start nature of bus travel fitted, including exhaust gas treatment and flywheel hybrid technology, developed originally for Formula 1.

The successful projects will monitor the effectiveness of the technologies to provide vital information on the working life of green vehicle upgrades.

York saw the launch of the world’s first double decker conversion of a City Sightseeing tour bus in York to fully electric drive last year. 

The DfT’s Clean Vehicle Technology fund will now enable the conversation of an additional five buses into ‘zero emission motion’ – meaning electric motors.

The electric retrofitted vehicles will eliminate the emission of 2000kg of poisonous Nitrogen Dioxide (NOx) per year and reduce the carbon footprint by 95 tons CO2. Operating costs of the electric buses will save over £75k per year. 

The converted buses are quieter and emit no pollution from the tailpipe as they run entirely on electric motors and battery packs.

The electric range is more than enough to complete a full day of touring and the buses will trickle charge overnight at their depot, using low carbon off peak electricity.

Nick Love commented

 “I’m delighted that York has benefitted from the proactive approach to low carbon transport initiatives from the Lib Dems in government via The Clean Vehicle Technology Fund.

Last year there were an estimated 4.7 billion bus passenger journeys in England.

More people up and down the country get to work by bus than by all other forms of public transport combined.

York has a positive history of getting people out of their cars and onto public transport when coming into the city.

But being a party that is environmentally aware, while people are reducing their carbon emissions by hopping on the bus rather than using their cars, we want to make buses themselves greener, more efficient and easier to use”.

“Save our bins” petition launched

Residents have launched a petition calling on the York Council to reverse its proposal to reduce refuse bin collection frequencies and scrap the £35 green bin emptying charge.

click to download

click to download

The petition also asks the Council to abandon its plan – agreed at its budget meeting on 26th February – to introduce a £35 a year charge for emptying green bins. The charge has been heavily criticised as a new “stealth” tax – the equivalent of a 4% increase in Council Tax levels for most residents.

The Labour run authority introduced a £35 fee for emptying second, and subsequent, green bins last year.

The new tax will apply to all green bins and will hit the least well off hardest (as the charge will not be offset by increased benefit payments).

Residents fear that the charge will lead to more hedgerow dumping.

The risk will be increased by the move to 3 or 4 weekly grey bin emptying.

Dumping has already become an increasing problem on the west of the City since Labour’s controversial decision to close the civic amenity recycling centre on Beckfield Lane a couple of years ago.

Former Council Leader Steve Galloway is backing the petition.

“Many public service cuts are being hidden from residents by dubbing them part of a “rewiring” exercise.

This title means nothing to most people.

A consultation in February was a shambles with leaflets advertising activities being delivered after the event had finished.  A bogus list of choices failed to specifically ask for resident’s views on bin charging and reduced emptying frequencies.

Residents need to make their views known now.

A new Council will be elected on May 7th. It will have an early opportunity  to reverse the damaging decisions that have been taken over recent weeks”

The petition also asks the Council to provide more litter bins and to give a higher priority to keeping highways and hedgerows free from litter and dumped items.

A copy of the petition can be down loaded by clicking here

The petition can be signed “on line” here

More litter bins axed in York

Street cleansing standards take another hit

The York Council is to remove more litter bins from the City’s streets.

It is claiming that the installation of “smart” compaction bins in the City centre and Acomb Front Street has been a “success” and is now aiming to replace old style bins on a one for two basis.

Compactor bin jammed with rubbish

Compactor bin jammed with rubbish

One of the Foxwood Lane bins which will be axed

One of the Foxwood Lane bins which will be axed

The smart bins compact rubbish using solar power and are supposed to alert the Council electronically when they are full.

They have had a mixed reaction from residents and traders.

The locations where only one bin will be provided in future include:

  • Copmanthorpe – near chipshop
    • Foxwood Lane – corner near shops
    • Tad Rd – Opposite chipshop
Another of the bins that will be removed

Another of the bins that will be removed

  • St Aubyn’s Place
  • Badger Hill – near shops
  • Tang Hall Ln – shops
  • Marygate – entrance to Museum Gardens
  • Union Terrace Coach/car park

    Litter accumulating behind a junction box. An increasingly familiar site in sub-urban York

    Litter accumulating behind a junction box. An increasingly familiar sight in sub-urban York

  • Haxby – the village – near shops
  • City Centre – Newgate Market
  • City Centre – Spurriergate – near junc with High Ousegate
  • City Centre – Kings Sq
  • Broadway – Shops
  • Blossom Street O/S Odean

Meanwhile complaints about litter drift are increasing and a petition asking for more litter bins to be provide is being drawn up

Liberal Democrats launch Zero Waste Bill to safeguard the environment

Liberal Democrats have announced plans to tackle industrial fly tipping and protect the environment for future generations.

As part of our plans to introduce Five Green Laws in the next Parliament, Liberal Democrats have unveiled proposals for a Zero Waste Bill.


The Bill is intended to boost the number of organisations prosecuted for illegal dumping while also introducing a higher, more consistent level of fines for fly-tippers who damage Britain’s environment.

As well as causing severe damage to Britain’s environment and wildlife, illegal waste sites, fly-tipping and landfill tax evasion costs the UK taxpayer on average £500m a year in lost revenue.

Under the proposal, organisations caught fly-tipping on an industrial scale to deliberately evade tax could face up to £9m in fines.

Currently only a small number of prosecutions are successful, ranging between 171—197 a year. The value of fines imposed varies considerably between courts, but averages only £7,000. This is despite the large-scale dumping operations conducted by some companies.

The Liberal Democrats plan is to create a ‘carrot and stick’ approach to UK waste, one which combines a Stern Review style action plan that turns waste into an economic asset but comes down hard on industrial fly tippers through larger penalties and fines.

Local fly tipping like this on Grange Lane is being reported regularly  by  the LibDems

Local fly tipping like this on Grange Lane is being reported regularly by the LibDems

Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

“Commercial fly-tipping and illegal dumping of waste not only harms British wildlife and the environment, but also means the taxpayer loses out.

“Our Zero Waste Bill not only ensures a fairer society by giving companies who use illegal dumping to shirk their tax responsibilities their comeuppance; but also creates a stronger economy, turning waste on its head to make it a beneficial resource for the country”

Liberal Democrat Environment Minister Dan Rogerson added:

“Environmentalism has been at the core of our party’s DNA long before it fell in and out of fashion with other parties.

“This is why we have such a strong environmental record in government, from planting a million trees and protecting our national forests to introducing a 5p charge on throwaway plastic bags.

“Our five green laws take this even further. We will make Britain’s waste pay – trebling fines for industrial scale fly-tipping, and establishing a ‘Stern Report’ to end the practice of needlessly sending waste to landfill.”

Big Community Energy Switch – York deadline extended

After an extremely successful auction which saw a tariff secured by iChoosr that could save residents on average £243, City of York Council is urging residents to sign up to the Big Community Energy Switch before 9 March.

People will join together with over 400 other residents from York in the switch, which could help them save on their gas and electricity bills.

A drop-in event will be held at City of York Council’s West Office on 2 March from 10am – 3pm. Residents can take their offer letter if they have any questions.

People can also sign up to the switch if they take a recent fuel bill.

The council and iChoosr held their first scheme between December 2013 and February 2014. A total of 751 York residents signed up, along with 36,000 people across the UK.

Supported by York’s Citizens Advice Bureau and Age UK York – the Save Money by Switching Energy campaign launched in December 2013. The scheme enables York residents to register for the assisted scheme through these four easy steps that can result in them being offered potentially cheaper alternative tariffs to consider switching to.

Woodthorpe school to help out with spring clean in March

Local residents, community groups and businesses will be involved in spring clean over the last weekend of March to carry out an annual city-wide spring clean of York.

During March, the council will focus on supporting hard-working residents committed to keeping their neighbourhood looking – and staying – tidy.

So far, community groups such as the Friends of Leeman Park have committed to spruce up a play ground, Lindsey Avenue Residents’ Association will be encouraging people to recycle even more and the Dunnington in Bloom team will be concentrating their efforts on tidying a layby on the A1079.

Smarter York officers will be working with local businesses to brush up their immediate area as it’s good for business and for the surrounding community.

Pupils at Woodthorpe Primary School are among the York schools being encouraged to spend an hour of the last afternoon of the spring term having a Spring Clean.

Students are also being approached to join in, as well as staff at City of York Council who are being encouraged to go out and help in their own neighbourhoods as part of the ongoing support the council gives them to volunteer to boost the quality of life in York.

Council surveys residents about “sustainability”

Being a sustainable city means different things to different people, but what does sustainability actually mean?

Over the coming months City of York Council and its partners will engage with residents, businesses and community groups to find out what it means to them.Some of the key things people often associate with being sustainable include low levels of waste and high levels of recycling, good air quality and protecting the environment. But there are also other areas to consider including fair trade and supporting the local economy and making York a vibrant city with lots for residents to do.

To find out how well sustainability is currently understood and recognised, the council is asking for views via a short survey, here: www.surveymonkey.com/s/SustainabilityIs or via social media using the hashtag #SustainabilityIs?  

Paper copies are also available in West Offices, or by calling 01904 551550.

To explore this further an event will take place on 3 March to look at how the city has responded to date.  It will contrast York’s approach with that of other cities, particularly those with strong reputations as leading on sustainability.

Bioregional, co-creators of the ‘One Planet Living’ framework will also be on-hand to explain how it helps make sense of sustainability, the practical benefits it has delivered elsewhere and the impetus it can give to future work.  

Anyone working to make the city more sustainable, including residents, community groups and businesses are all invited to attend this free event. For more information please contact the council on 01904 551550 or visit West Offices.