Waste collection – some collections nearly a week overdue

Council, staff were working over the weekend to reduce the accumulated waste collection backlog. An update report has not yet been published but it seems that there is still some waste on the streets of villages like Dunnington.

There one resident reported yesterday that recycling has been on the street since last Tuesday.

All in all, there seems to be something wrong with this, the most basic of public services, which cannot entirely be explained by social distancing and the COVID crisis. The Council’s web site https://www.york.gov.uk/WasteCollectionUpdates often quotes “capacity” issues and “vehicle breakdowns” as the major reasons for unreliability.  

So what has senior management been doing to address the problem? Apart from ordering 12 new refuse collection vehicles, there seems to have been little by way of reaction.

The Council’s “Head of Waste” is an official called Shaun Morley. He was appointed last November but has had a very low profile since then. He describes himself as “Interim Transformation Director/Head of Waste at City of York Council”. He is also a Director of a company, SRM Waste Management, which is based in the Shetland Isles. At Company’s House his occupation is listed as “a consultant”.

Senior appointments at the Council – whether permanent or temporary – have to be recorded. We can find nothing on any Council report which explains what the current waste management structure is much less who is supposed to be responsible for what (and at what cost).

Councillors need to satisfy themselves that there is a clear line of responsibility, that key performance indicators are being monitored and that there is a transparent exception reporting process.

It seems to us that workers in the Councils waste collection activity area have generally performed well particularly over the COVID lockdown period.

It increasingly appears that this may be despite, rather than because of, senior management decisions.

Concern about housing in York

As lock-down eases, concerns about the condition of some housing estates are starting to emerge.

The Council’s lettings and void repairs staff have made slow progress on getting empty properties back into use. As a result some long term empty properties have deteriorated. No management information has been published by the Council recently so the scale of the problem is unclear.

Even some “prime” site bungalows (usually very attractive to those on the waiting list for homes) have been empty for 6 months or longer.

Dumping and vandalism at empty council houses.

While cleansing standards have generally improved during lockdown (fewer people around and individual staff members focused on local areas) there have been problems with dumping. Scheduled skip visits, funded through ward committees, didn’t happen and replacement visits have yet to be scheduled.

Dumping on communal areas still a problem
Drying area vandalised
We’ve escalated problems with filling in potholes like these on the Morrell Court access road
Broken branch in Dickson Park reported. Several trees were damaged during Friday’s gales.
We’ve reported several more hedges in the Thoresby Road and Tudor Road area which are now impeding public footpaths
Holgate (Hob Moor) beck was flowing yesterday following heavy rain. It is still, however, obstructed by vegetation
We’ve asked for hardcore to be put under this kissing gate access to Hob Moor. Access for the elderly and disabled is currently very difficult.
We’ve asked for the Tithe Close/Tedder Road snicket to be tidied up.

Waste collection backlog update

Latest waste service update from York Council -Wednesday 3 June

We were unable to collect all household waste from Ashley Park Avenue and Hazel Garth due to capacity issues.

We’ll return for these collections on Thursday 4 June. Please present your containers for collection by 7.00am.

We were unable to collect recycling from parts of Dringhouses and Acomb due to current restrictions due to coronavirus.

We’ll return for these collections on Thursday 4 June. Please present your containers for collection by 7.00am.

We were unable to collect garden waste from a number of streets in the following areas due to capacity issues:

  • Holly Bank
  • Holgate
  • Acomb
  • Fossway
  • Heworth Green
  • Muncaster
  • Bell Farm
  • Huntington South

We will attempt to collect missed garden waste, including missed waste from Osbaldwick and Woodthorpe by Thursday 4 June, but may not be able to revisit until later in the week. Please leave your green bin out and we’ll get to you as soon as we can.

Missed bin emptying – latest from City of York Council

The Council has published its Tuesday update on missed bin emptying and recycling collections.

It reveals failings across all types of waste collection and neighbourhoods. It is no longer promising to empty bins on the next day, but is asking residnts to continue to leave their bins out.

Although COVID social distancing requirements have influenced recycling collection performance the Council blames “capacity issues” for most of the delays.

As the first collection of garden waste has been completed, the expectation was that the second lift would have been smaller. However, it maybe that residents, who stored green waste in line with Council instructions during the lock-down period, are now filling up the bins again.

It is impossible to judge whether volume is an issue unless the Council starts to publish again the tonnage of waste – by category – that it is dealing with each week.

The Councils management must provide more information on waste management including the level of demand for booking spaces at the household waste sites and the level of use of the bulky waste removal service.

Waste service reliability was already problematic before the Coronavirus crisis hit, with an unprecedented level of failed collections during the later part of 2019.

Residents deserve to know when they can expect a reliable service to be restored?

Latest waste service update

Council will be working today (Saturday) to ease collection backlog.
Continuing on Monday

“All scheduled household waste collections have been made, including waste from Wigginton, Haxby and Strensall.

We were unable to collect recycling from a number of areas due to operational restrictions to do with Covid-19.

  • Strensall
  • Haxby
  • Clifton
  • Rawcliffe

This recycling will be collected on Saturday 30 May or Monday 1 June. Please present your containers for collection by 7.00am.

We were unable to collect garden waste from a number of terraced areas due to the large amount to be collected and capacity issues.

  • Leeman Road
  • Huntington
  • Earswick
  • Haxby
  • Clifton
  • Skelton
  • Hessay
  • Rufforth
  • Clifton Moor

This recycling will be collected on Saturday 30 May or Monday 1 June. Please present your containers for collection by 7.00am.

All outstanding garden waste and recycling waste from earlier in the week has been collected”.

Mixed messages from York Council on cycling

The Council is using social media to promote cycling as a way to get to work when the lock-down ends. Many workplaces, offices and shops are expected to reopen during the next fortnight, putting added pressure on a compromised public transport system.

Cycling – particularly at this time of year – may be an option for some people.

But there is little evidence that the Council is addressing everyday barriers to cycling

This 100-year-old Guide To 'Self-Protection on ...

These days foot-pads aren’t the biggest threat.

The contraflow cycle lane installed on Bishopthorpe Road is an unnecessary hazard. Inexperienced cyclists trying to use it may indeed be intimidated, making them more likely to use other transport modes. (There is an alternative, quiet, route via Vine Street)

Meanwhile on the Tadcaster Road cycle path “social distancing” signs have appeared near the railway bridge. Fair enough, if a problem has been identified. Clearly more families are now walking or cycling to the Askham Bog nature reserve although social distancing on that site is also problematic.

Social distancing signs

Yet scarcely 300 metres further along the cycle path, its width is now reduced to less than 1 metre. Overhanging branches and weed growth are to blame (the weeds are actually now breaking up the bitmac surface) ..

A relatively easy issue to deal with but, despite reports to the Council, no work has been undertaken.

Cycle track obstructed.

Better news further down Tadcaster Road with highway resurfacing works now ahead of schedule. The smoother carriageway surface is much safer for users of 2 wheeled transport.

Tadcaster Road resurfacing due to be completed by 12th June

Latest waste service update Thursday 28 May

More bad news on refuse collection in York. There are delays in collecting recycling, emptying green bins and removing some household waste across significant parts of the City

Some recycling has been out on the streets for 3 days now.

The Council says that it will work through today and tomorrow (Saturday) to clear the backlog.

The Council has also been urged to provide an update on the capacity and use of its bulky waste removal service which was restarted last week.

Similar information about the availability of “booking slots” at household waste sites like Hazel Court might help to reduce demands on the collection service.

The Council has said,

Household waste

“We were unable to collect household waste from small areas of Haxby, Wigginton and Strensall.

This household waste will be collected on Friday 29 May. Please present your containers for collection by 7.00am.

Recycling

We were unable to collect recycling from Rufforth, Clifton and Huntington due to operational restrictions to do with Covid-19.

We’ve been unable to return for recycling collections from Tuesday 26 May and Wednesday 27 May.

All this recycling waste will be collected on Friday 29 May or Saturday 30 May. Please present your containers for collection by 7.00am.

Garden Waste

We were unable to collect garden waste from from Haxby, Earswick and Huntington due to the large amounts being collected.

This garden waste will be collected on Friday 29 May. Please present your containers for collection by 7.00am.

We’ve been unable to return to St Aldred’s Mews due to access issues and will return as soon as we are able. We’ve also been unable to return for garden waste collections from Wednesday 27 May. We’re returning for this waste in Acomb and Heworth on Thursday evening”

Major waste collection problems in York UPDATED

Council update published

“Wednesday 20 May

Household waste

We were unable to collect household waste from the following areas due to access issues:

  • Dale Street
  • Moss Street

We were unable to collect household waste from the following areas due to capcity issues:

  • Ashley Park Road
  • Cedar Grove
  • The Glade
  • Hazel Garth
  • High Oaks

This household waste will be collected on Thursday 21 May. Please present your containers for collection by 7.00am.

We were able to recollect all outstanding household waste from Tuesday 19 May.

Recycling

We were unable to collect recycling from a number of areas due to capacity issues.

Missed recycling collections will be collected as soon as possible. Please present your containers for collection by 7.00am.

Garden waste

We were unable to collect garden waste from a number of streets in the following wards due to capcity issues:

  • Heworth
  • Heworth Without
  • Holgate
  • Huntington and New Earswick
  • Westfield

We will attempt to collect missed garden waste on Thursday 21 May, but may not be able to revisit until later in the week. Please leave greens bin out and we’ll get to you as soon as we can”

EARLIER: For the first time in several months the York Council failed to update its refuse collection report page yesterday. This prompted speculation that there were too many roads missed to be able to list them all.

The failure to list those streets where bins hadn’t been emptied also prompted questions about whether the promised “next day” emptying will actually take place.

Worst collection problems since 2012

There is a danger of a bow wave of failures extending into next week. Residents who have been storing green waste in gardens, pending the resumption of the emptying service, may already have refilled their bins.

For a Council which has been quick to issue “sound bite” media releases even when it had little of interest to report, this communications failure – on a key public service which everyone uses – is disappointing.

As well as the backlog in green bin emptying (put down to heavy bins) social distancing measures are blamed for a growing backlog in collecting recycling.

Recycling in over 10 streets in the Westfield/Foxwood area alone was not collected yesterday

Litter Bin Sticker GIF | Gfycat

Previously the Council had blamed vehicle failures and capacity issues for problems with the waste collection reliabily.

There have been calls for a change in top management at the Council or even for the service to be outsourced (AMEY provide the service in the Selby area)

Ironically, at the peak of the corona virus scare, household waste and recycling collection systems worked well.

Path obstructions hinder social distancing

The Council has started to put signs out warning about upcoming road resurfacing schemes in areas like Tadcaster Road, Nunnery Lane and James Street.

Unfortunately some of the signs are blocking footpaths making “social distancing” more difficult.

Council signs blocking footpaths on Tadcaster Road

Some Councillors have promised to take up the issue but really a more fundamental change is needed.

Signs could be place on lampposts at a height that would inconvenience no one while being clearer to all road and path users.

Weed growth and faded signage on neglected cycle paths near A1237 at Clifton Moor

There are also increasing problems with paths being blocked by overgrown hedges while weed growth go unchecked on the path surfaces.

Social distancing difficult on the River Ouse cycle/foot path near Scarborough bridge

There are concerns that some locations, which had problems with weed growth in 2019, have again been omitted from this year’s treatment programme.

No sign of weed “die back” on Tadcaster Road cycle track

There is little evidence of “die back” on some routes despite the first treatment cycle having finished.

Overgrown hedges have blocked the footpath at Clifton Moor
Carriageway and cycle lane impeded also at Clifton Moor

Road repairs promised, Foxwood residents key workers tribute

Dringhouses Councillor Stephen Fenton tells us that the Council have agreed to fill in the potholes on the Askham Lane approach to the A1237 roundabout. Last week the highways department claimed there was no need for any work!
Foxwood Residents Association gardeners (Foxgloves) have unveiled a tribute to key workers in the communal garden at the community centre.
Residents are being asked to check that boundary hedges are not intruding onto public footpaths
Thorn hedge branches which are impeding the Tedder Road – Cornlands Road snicket have been reported for a second time.
Bulky waste removal service recommences tomorrow (Monday). Details on Council web site.