Another chance to join York’s Big Community Energy Switch ahead of winter

City of York Council is reminding residents who missed out on the initial Big Community Switch that they can join 18,000 other people nationally who have considered switching energy suppliers and saving money on their bills.

Big community switch


In the most recent round of the Big Community Switch, run by the council’s partner iChoosr, 230 York residents could save on average £215 from their gas and electricity bills if they switch to the new tariff secured by the scheme. To help other residents consider taking advantage of the new tariffs on offer, the scheme’s deadline has been extended to residents who join the switch before 24 November

Jacqui Warren, Sustainability Officer, said: “With the clocks changing and the nights drawing in many people are starting to use more energy, therefore the Big Community Switch is a great way for people to see if they can reduce their energy bill, with residents saving on average £215 during this switch.”

To enable even more people to take advantage of the recent tariffs secured by the scheme, registration has been re-opened until 24 November.

How the big community switch works
1. Anyone who pays a household energy bill can register for free at, including pre payment meter customers and those without gas. Registration is easy – you just need a recent fuel bill or annual statement.

2. The council’s switching partner iChoosr will hold an ‘auction day’ and invite energy companies to offer their best prices.

3. The cheapest tariff wins! People who have registered will receive an email with details of the tariff secured by the scheme.

4. Residents will have until a 24 November 2015 to register and decide to accept the offer or not (please note that anyone registering off-line will have until 17 November). There is no obligation to accept and no fees or charges. If residents choose not to take up the offer, they can always register again in future schemes.

For more information and help on joining the Big community Energy Switch visit or watch
For help making your home warmer through energy efficiency measures visit

York Council completes 2015 street light upgrade programme

The Council has completed this years programme of street light upgrades.

The new LED lighting units are expected to use less electricity and be more reliable.

They will also contribute towards reducing the City’s “carbon footprint”

In  total 6017 units have been upgraded during the summer at a cost of nearly £1.5 million.

The Council has not yet announced whether it will go ahead with its threat to “dim” street lights after midnight.

Although the Council claimed that a “dimming” trial had not produced any complaints from the four streets on which it was tried, concerns about security late at night mean that any extension could raise concerns.

In the Westfield ward the following streets have seen upgraded. A complete list of works undertaken across the City can be found by clicking here

Westfield road list

(NB Not all units were necessarily changed in each street)

York beating relative poverty? Latest figures are encouraging

Deprivation map 2015

The latest deprivation statistics which can be viewed on the North Yorkshire open data site reveal that no York neighbourhoods are now ranked among the 10% most deprived in the country.

The Kingsway West area – the subject of an innovative anti poverty initiative by the then LibDem led Council – is one of those that has now climbed up the league table.

Deprivation is measured on a number of indices where 10 is the best that can be achieved.  These are: Income  (Kingsway 2), Employment  (2), Barriers to housing and services (2), Crime (2), Education, skills and training (2), Health and disability (1), Living environment (6), Income affecting children (2), Income affecting older people (2).

Elsewhere in North Yorkshire there are nine deprived areas (in the bottom 10% in the country) in Scarborough, one in Harrogate and one in Selby

Middlesbrough, Knowsley, Kingston upon Hull, Liverpool and Manchester are the five local authority districts with the largest proportions of highly deprived neighbourhoods in England. More details can be found by clicking here

Acomb Wood gets grant from Yorwaste

Acomb WoodThe Friends of Acomb Wood, which which is located between Foxwood and Woodthorpe, are £8393 better off this morning thanks to a grant from local waste management company Yorkwaste.

The company operates the nearby Harewood Whin landfill site and distributes grants each year to local environmental projects.

The Friends of Acomb Wood are a voluntary conservation body which has recently provided improved paths through the wood. 

They have produced an on line album detailing their work. It can be accessed via the following link:

The friends group welcome new volunteer helpers and can be contacted on York  (01904)  553392 Email:

Yorwaste has also provided grant for a National railway museum ambulance train project 


Mixed response to litter clearance requests

The York Council has actioned some requests for litter to be cleared for amenity areas. Chesney’s Field now looks very tidy and workers were out on the A1237 by pass yesterday clearing litter from the hedgerows.

Chesneys Field on good day 1100 8th Oct 2015

Chesney’s field clear of litter

Meanwhile other amenity areas on the west of the City have not fared as well. Bachelor Hill is covered in empty cans while the Cornland’s park has its usual covering of detritus.

bottles, cans and litter Bachelor Hill 1200 8th Oct 2015

Bachelor Hill – still not recovered from authorised environmental dumping and now covered in detritus

Graffiti and worn path spoil entrance to Bachelor Hill

Graffiti and worn path spoil entrance to Bachelor Hill

Askham Lane entrnace to Bachelor Hill overgrown gate broken 1200 8th Oct 2015

Overgrown and damaged entrance to Bachelor Hill from Askham Lane

Detritus and damaged gate at Tennent Road entrance to Bachelor Hill

Detritus and damaged gate at Tennent Road entrance to Bachelor Hill

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,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