York first in the UK to trial new fuel savings technique

City of York Council has joined forces with Unipart Rail to become the first local authority in the UK to trial a new fuel additive, which is set to save the council up to £50,000 a year and significantly reduce toxic emissions from the council’s vehicles.

diesoLIFTThe ground-breaking scheme is being trialled on a range of vehicle types across its fleet, at no incremental cost to the council, which on average uses around 800,000 litres of diesel per annum.

Unipart Rail has selected the council for its pilot scheme which it anticipates will be rolled out across the country with other commercial vehicle operators.

DiesoLiFT™ is a unique fuel additive which works by increasing the efficiency of the diesel’s combustion, safely cleans the engine and mitigates the issues borne from water contamination in the fuel. This combination of fuel improvements reduces the amount of fuel used and the level of vehicle emissions as well as helping to reduce the incidents of fuel blockages and vehicle failures.

For City of York Council this is expected to produce significant savings of up to six per cent of the diesel usage annually across its services as well as vehicle maintenance costs.

If successful, it will also ensure the authority can help to  further reduce the amount of harmful emissions being emitted from its fleet.

Cllr Andrew Waller, Executive Member for the Environment, said: “We thank UniPart Rail for choosing York to trial this new product which we hope will not only save the council thousands of pounds, but will also help to reduce the amount of harmful emissions from our vehicles. It’s important that we can be seen to be leading the way and making this important step-change, particularly if other businesses are to follow suit.”

George Tillier, MD of Unipart Rail, commented: “We are very pleased to be working with such a forward thinking local authority such as City of York Council to trial one of our innovative products.  DiesoLiFT™ and our Fuel Efficiency Management package of services will help the council to save money and reduce the amount of harmful emissions that their vehicles emit.Testing and trial results within other transport sectors that we are also working with have provided compelling evidence which we are confident City of York Council will also experience.”

York Council catching up with complaints backlog

There seems to have been an improvement over the last few days with complaints, about several problems with street services, having been rectified by the York Council.

Last week we used “Fix My Street” to report problems with dumping, litter and full bins on Chesneys Field.

These issues have now been addressed.

Shame though that parts of the city centre are still blighted by graffiti.

Among the worst instances are the flood barriers on North Street but even as far out as Jubilee Terrace problems are occurring.

It is time that the, so called, Police/Council anti social behavior “hub” addressed this issue. There headquarters is, after all, within throwing distance of North Street!

Graffiti North Street

Graffiti North Street

Graffiti Jubilee Terrace

Graffiti Jubilee Terrace


York shortlisted in the Low Carbon Champions awards


City of York Council, First York Buses and Optare have been shortlisted in the Vehicle Operator category for the 2015 Low Carbon Champions awards.

The council, in partnership with First Bus York and bus manufacturer, Optare have been nominated after creating two fully electric Park&Ride routes.

New electric bus fleet

New electric bus fleet

A fleet of six buses were first introduced in June 2014 at the new Poppleton Bar Park&Ride site. This was then extended to include Monks Cross Park&Ride in May 2015.

The electric buses are helping to reduce CO2 emissions by 62 percent in real world operation according to First Bus data. The most recent data shows that when operating in service on York’s Park&Ride routes, the ‘Well to Wheel’ efficiency is 409g/km of Carbon emitted compared to a standard diesel Park&Ride bus at 1078g/km.

Cllr Ian Gillies, Executive Member for Transport and Planning, said: “I am delighted that the work that the council is carrying out in partnership with First York Buses and Optare is being recognised on a national scale. I hope we will be able to continue to build on this and help make York an even more sustainable city.”

Ben Gilligan, Managing Director of First York added, “We’re thrilled to be short-listed for a Low Carbon Champion Award which is recognition of the really positive impact of the electric vehicles in York. By working in partnership with City of York Council and Optare we’ve been able to provide a better environment for residents as well as continuing to deliver high quality, great value services.”

Enrico Vassallo, CEO, Optare, said, “I am delighted that our electric bus technology has been recognized and shortlisted for this prestigious industry award.  We continue to work with the LowCVP, DfT, SMMT, TfL, operators like First York and local authorities, such as the City of York Council to promote the uptake of electric vehicle technology and ensure sustained successful operation of these vehicles, whilst gaining data for the continued development of electric vehicles.”

The Carbon savings achieved through the operation of these buses complement the improvements in air quality delivered over and above Diesel bus operation, with harmful Particulate and Nitrogen Dioxide emissions reduced to zero.

The Low Carbon Champions Awards help to identify and promote examples of outstanding and innovative practice in accelerating the shift to lower carbon vehicles and fuels and reducing road transport emissions.

For more information on the Low Carbon Champions Awards, which are taking place on 9 September visit http://www.lowcvp.org.uk/news,shortlist-for-2015-low-carbon-champions-awards-reflects-innovation-in-green-transport_3302.htm

Better Homes opens door to 44 per cent higher energy efficiency and 31 per cent lower bills

Energy improvements that have improved a York home’s energy efficiency rating by 44 per cent and cut heating and hot water costs by 31 per cent, will be on show on 18 August.

energy-efficient-homes-diagramthis-is-redcar-cleveland-your-home-zxa0ifdpBetter Homes York, in partnership with City of York Council, will hold an open day at the programme’s demonstration home between 10:00 and 13:00hrs.

The property at Carnot Street, York is a mid-terrace house which, before a programme of Government-funded improvements, lacked adequate insulation or heating. Its previous tenants had complained that it was cold, damp and expensive to heat.

The show home was selected following a call to all of the city’s private landlords registered on the council’s YorHome scheme. The council allocated funding from Better Homes York and installed internal wall insulation and fitted a new gas central heating system. Because of its solid wall construction, the house’s insulation is fitted to the inside of the wall and so doesn’t affect the house’s external appearance. The house also had rising damp which made its heating inefficient and expensive. Following damp treatment, a type of insulation for the rooms downstairs was chosen which allows the walls to breathe and dry naturally.

The work has increased the house’s energy efficiency rating by 44 per cent and decreased the expected heating and hot water costs by 31 per cent.

Cloudburst tests new local drain covers

Just a few weeks after new drain covers – which catch litter and detritus in an easy to clean grill – were fitted to some gullies in the Cornlands Road area, yesterdays downpour provided an early test.

Gulleys before and after

Garden contest posterElsewhere we are currently experiencing good growing conditions. This may be one of the reasons why the annual Foxwood Garden Competition – being judged tonight – has attracted a record number of nominations

Some hedges which have been obstructing paths have now been cut back

Hedge cut in Oldman Court

Hedge cut in Oldman Court

Other hedges are now causing problems

Hedge needs cuttng in Oldman Court

Hedge needs cuttng in Oldman Court

There seems to be no halting the advance of weeds which are now prolific almost everywhere

Weed problems on  streets like Vincent Way are increasing

Weed problems ion streets like Vincent Way are increasing

We’ve asked for detritus to be swept from some paths (see below)

Detritus to be swept from Greenwood Grove  snicket

Detritus to be swept from Greenwood Grove snicket

While the warm weather has encouraged people out onto the local communal areas not everyone has taken their litter home with them.

Litter Bachelor Hill

Weeds gaining ground in York

Each year we seem to have problems with weed growth in one part of the City or another.

Ouse Bridge 7th August 2014 Weeds take over parapit

Ouse Bridge 7th August 2014 Weeds take over parapet

As well as being unsightly, if untreated the weeds can cause damage to footpaths, roads and bridges.

Last year weeds seemed to win the war so, when the York Council said that they had completed the first of three planned applications of weed killer in May, we hoped for the best.

But today, 4 weeks later, when the weed killer should have taken effect, there are still areas which seem to have been missed.

We are not sure whether this is down to the contractors who were  employed to do the work, the type of weed killer which was used or just unfavourable weather conditions.

Whatever the reason, some action needs to be taken quickly to free our streets from this problem.

Weeds Milner Street back lane

Weeds Milner Street back lane

Weeds and dumped trolly on Dijon Avenue

Weeds and dumped trolly on Dijon Avenue

Weeds growing in Queenswood Grove gutters

Weeds growing in Queenswood Grove gutters

Rear entrance to Lowfields school site

Rear entrance to Lowfields school site

rubbish and weeds Front Street back lane

rubbish and weeds Front Street back lane




Call for utilities to repair damaged verges in Westfield

unseeded verge Askham Lane

Unseeded verge Askham Lane

Utilities have been blamed for the deteriorating condition of some grassed areas in the Westfield ward. Problem area include the verge at the junction of The Green and Askham Lane.

Andrew Waller is chasing up action on the problem

Phone box weeds Foxwood

Phone box weeds Foxwood

Yorkshire Water contractors also recently dug up an area to the rear of properties on Foxwood Lane. Unfortunately, although the site was leveled when the drainage project was finished, it was not reseeded and looks set to become a weed ridden mess.

unseeded verge Foxwood lane

Unseeded amenity area near Foxwood Lane

Pillar box weeds at Foxwood

Pillar box weeds at Foxwood

Meanwhile weeds are taking over utility equipment at the Foxwood shops.

Both the telephone kiosk and the pillar box and gradually being engulfed.

Sheena Jackson has reported these issues for attention by the Council.

Indecision grips York Council’s Environmental Services Director recruitment?

Jobs for the boys and girls

It looks like there could be a gap of over 18 months before a new senior manager is appointed to administer the Environmental Services Directorate at the York Council. The Directorate has many important responsibilities covering transport, planning, the Community Stadium and the York central development together with other economic development projects.

Darren Richardson left the post in June 2014 in the wake of the Lendal Bridge fiasco. He was replaced by a (somewhat controversial) consultant whose contract is due to expire on 9th July.

It looks like the Council are set to temporarily promote one of its existing staff to take up the responsibility pending a report on other aspects of the senor management structure at the Council.

It looks like this re-organisation report will not be ready until December 2015!

A report to a meeting taking place on 22nd June recommends that non Council staff would also be able to apply for the temporary post during a narrow widow of opportunity between 26th June and 10th July 

The post will be advertised on the Council’s jobs web site and could attract a, pro rata, salary of around £90,000 pa.

The York Council jobs web site can be accessed by clicking here https://jobs.york.gov.uk/index.aspx

As we remarked on Friday; it is one of what seems to be a proliferation of web sites now operated by the York Council (to the general confusion of many citizens)

Chapman’s pond closure – latest information

Chapmans Pond 2

The Enviroment Agency has issued the following statement

Fish deaths force pond closure in York

Chapmans Pond in York has been closed to anglers following reports of several fish deaths.

The mortalities, which have occurred over the last two or three weeks are thought to be predominantly carp.

The alarm was raised by The Friends of Chapmans Pond, who were concerned that the number of deaths had exceeded what might be normally expected for natural causes.

Environment Agency officers advised the precautionary closure of the pond while samples of the water are tested and live fish are taken to the Environment Agency’s fish health laboratory at Brampton and analysed. These tests will aim to establish whether there are water quality issues affecting the fish, or the likelihood of disease or parasites being the cause of mortalities.

Laura Hogg, fisheries and biodiversity officer at the Environment Agency said: “While we carry out our investigations it is important not to stress the remaining fish further, and that is why we have recommended the pond is closed to anglers at this time.

“Until the cause of the deaths is known we are advising anglers to remain vigilant, honour the closure notice and follow the three simple biosecurity steps of check, clean and dry as always to reduce the risk of spreading any potential diseases.”

Check check equipment and clothing including soles of footwear

Clean on leaving the watercourse all mud and dirt must be washed off boots and equipment. If possible with clean hot water and sterilise with disinfectant

Dry dry all kit for 48 hours prior to reuse, preferably in sunlight

If you see fish in distress, please call the Environment Agency’s incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.