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Waste collection review in York

Un-emptied bins in Foxwood 2012
Against the background of chronic unreliability on refuse collections in the City, it was hoped that a long outstanding review would offer some hope of improvement.

The review report has now been published (click).

The report starts by saying “Decisions about waste collection methodology impact upon the specification of replacement waste vehicles, the replacement of which is imperative to the sustainability of the service”

In truth, new vehicles should have been purchased months ago. They weren’t and as a result breakdown are a major cause of the decline in reliability standards. The report offers little hope of early, decisive action.

The report concludes that separate food waste collection is not necessary. This is because food waste forms part of the anaerobic digestion process at the Allerton processing site. It is part of a process which results in power being generated from waste.

Similar arguments are advanced against the mixed collection of recyclables.

The report talks about a further review of recycling bring banks “to stop collecting the same materials as door step collection, but focus on materials not collected at the door step” The authors seems to be oblivious to the fact that many residents are forced to use the bring banks because of lack of capacity in the doorstep service.

“The current recycling arrangements are that Yorwaste process the recylclates at the Harewood Whin Material Recycling Facility and sell the products to market. The current gross cost of recycling is £725k however this is offset by the recyclate sales that total c£600k”.

The report fails to identify the “lead in time” for the purchase of new vehicles. There are no milestones.  It lacks any analysis of the number of missed bin collections or their causes. It fails to say when sustained improvement could be expected.

Altogether it amounts a bit of public posturing with no apology to the taxpayers who are being inconvenienced each day by vehicle breakdowns and trucks reaching their capacity limits.

Today’s failure report reveals that green waste wasn’t collected from part of the Heworth area because of inadequate “vehicle capacity”

Daily reports on missed bin collections can be found via this link click

Dozens of changes planned to parking arrangements across York

A bumper list of traffic management changes is being considered at a meeting next week (click for details).

A summary list can be found by clicking here

The cost of advertising the planned changes comes to £25,500. This is three times thae actually cost of changing lines and signage

The changes include removing a motorcycle parking bay on Acomb Road near the shops. It will be replaced by a car parking bay.

Street cleansing problems highlighted at meeting

Litter problems on areas like the Foxwood shops were discussed at a residents meeting yesterday. The residents were told that the street cleansing service was having difficulty in recruiting staff. Local Councillor Simon Daubeney reported that a new litter bin would be provided opposite the shops at the end of Hatfield Walk.
We’ve asked for new springs to be provided on the gates to the football pitch area on Foxwood Park. The old ones are broken allowing the gates to swing open. In turn this allows unsupervised access for dogs. Dog fouling on nearby footpaths is a continuing issue.
It’s reached the time of year when tree detritus and ripe fruit can fall in significant quantities onto some foot and cycle paths. This is potentially hazardous. We’ve reported problems on the Bellhouse Way path between Acomb Wood Drive and the Foxwood Park.
The path is also obstructed by overhanging tree branches

Carbon emission sources in York revealed

It appears that a meeting held 2 days ago was given a table showing estimated carbon emission levels for various activities in York.

The table has only today been published to residents by the York Council.

As it turns out the latest figures available are from 2016. The world has changed a lot in the last 3 years.

The table reveals that the biggest source of CO2 emissions in the City is domestic heating. This will hearten those who have supported the adoption of “Passivhaus” high insulation standards in homes.

There is an opportunity for the Council to make a real difference here as improved home insulation also disproportionately benefits poorer residents by reducing energy bills. We look forward to seeing a project plan with identified milestones.

A Press article today highlighted diesel trains as an emissions threat. In reality, they account for less than 1% of all local emissions.

CO2 emissions, per capita, substantially reduced in York during the 11 years that were monitored.

Over 30 employers and training providers at fourth annual Acomb Jobs Fair

Around 250 visitors are expected to visit Acomb Jobs Fair next month, where they will have the chance to meet over 30 employers and training providers from local areas.

Held at Acomb Parish Church Hall, 18A Front St, YO24 3BZ, on Wednesday 6 November between 10am and 2pm, the free event brings together employers, employment support agencies, education and training providers to offer local people job opportunities, information and advice

The fair is aimed at those looking for employment, considering a change of job or career and those who would like to develop new skills and gain new qualifications, ahead of York Business Week 11-15 November. 

The event is funded by 4Community Growth and organised by City of York Council and York Learning in partnership with Job Centre Plus.

What’s on in York: Caring for old photographs

York Explore

October 19th @ 9:30 am – 11:30 am

 £18

Augustus Mahalski

Do you have family photographs, negatives or slides hidden away in your home? Are you concerned about their condition, or unsure what to do with them? Join Explore’s Archivist (Access and Engagement), Laura Yeoman, to learn more about what causes photographic materials to deteriorate over time, and the best ways to care for them at home.

Tickets

Road repairs – little progress by York Council

The Councils Executive committee will discuss the vexed question of highways maintenance next week.
Foxwood Lane

If there is any basic public service likely to raise public ire,  it is the number of potholes and cracks in roads and footpaths.

 The conditions simply reflect many years of under investment in maintenance work.

The new Council was elected on a manifesto which promised improvements. They quickly moved to allocate an additional £1 million budget although half of this was earmarked for new cycling and footpath projects.

School Street

The expectation was that the, all too obvious, major problems would be quickly identified and a programme agreed for repairs. Anyone reading the report will be very disappointed.  There is no refreshed list of roads that will be resurfaced this year.

Officials even plead for existing policies to continue.

Councillors have had long enough to get a list of repairs on a ward by ward basis. With only 6 months to go in the current financial year, contracts for these repairs needed to be issued quickly.

Ideally this should have been done before ice took a further toll on the vulnerable surfaces of poorly maintained surfaces.

Morrell Court

The report talks of an annual condition survey. The survey details condition of every highway. All are graded between 1 and 5 with 5 being those in worst condition. (Grade 1: very good, • Grade 2: good, • Grade 3: fair, • Grade 4: poor, • Grade 5: very poor)

Over 13,000 stretches of highway are categorised as grade 5

That is little help.

A more detailed assessment is needed if the worst roads are to be prioritised.

The list is available for download from “open data” click here It is unfortunately categorised by ward names which were superceded over 15 years ago.

Walton Place

Still we can say that streets like Foxwood Lane and School Street are amongst the worst in the City. The 50 year old potholed access roads to Spurr Court and Morrel Court are graded at 4 (poor). Footpaths in streets like Walton Place don’t even get a mention.

We hope that Councillors will ask some searching questions next week.

All is not as it should be with highway maintenance operations at the York Council.

Fall-out from Balloon Fiesta noise complaints

The Council has admitted that it received a lot of complaints about noise levels experienced during the Balloon Fiesta which took place on the Knavesmire at the end of September.

The noise complaints didn’t relate to the balloons themselves (which mostly failed to get off the ground because of weather conditions).

The event was organised by Events and Attractions Limited, a York based company.

Officials of the Council firmly put the blame for lack of control on the premises license holder for the Knavesmire. This they identify as “Make it York”.

 Make it York is the secretive QUANGO set up by the Council several years ago to run tourism and promotional events in the City.  

Make it York were apparently told that a statutory noise nuisance was witnessed by Council officials over weekend of the 27th and 28th September.

According to an email seen by a local Councillor,

Make it York were asked to provide details of how they were going to prevent any further recurrences of noise nuisance from events at the Knavesmire and they have, as a result, submitted an application for a minor variation to the existing  premises licence. This application requests that an additional condition is added to the existing premises licence and will require Make it York to submit a noise management plan for approval by City of York Council within two months of the licence being varied. Once approved the noise management plan would be implemented immediately for any events held on the Knavesmire and operated under the premises licence”.

“It is anticipated that any submitted noise management plan will identify all potential noise sources associated with events taking place on the and provide details on strategies which will be implemented to minimise the disturbance caused to residents from those sources, especially those activities where amplified music is involved. It is also anticipated that any submitted noise management plan will also detail methods for monitoring and controlling the noise and how Make it York will respond to any noise complaint received in the future.

 As a result of the above it is the view of officers in Public Protection that such a condition should, if implemented correctly and adhered to, result in any noise from events taking place on the Knavesmire, and operated under the premises licence, being reduced to a satisfactory level such that it shouldn’t cause any further noise nuisance”.

The issue comes to a head at a difficult time for tourism support organisations in the region. “Welcome to Yorkshire” had to sack their Chief Executive following allegations of extravagance. The organisation subsequently had to be bailed out by taxpayers with a new Chairman promising more transparency in the future.

Make it York” is likely to be subject to similar calls.

It receives a substantial taxpayer subsidy, but its meetings are held behind closed doors.

The only sliver of accountability comes through brief and infrequent updates to a Council committee. The Council nominates two representatives to the Make it York 12 person Board (currently Cllrs Mason and Taylor)

According to the organisation’s web site, “The current turnover of Make It York is around £4.8 million per annum, generated commercially from a range of revenue sources. Other than any dividends payable to the Shareholder, any surplus is invested back into the city.

With respect to its corporate structure, Make It York is a private limited company limited by shares and has an independent Board of Directors.

 Its sole Shareholder is City of York Council”

Councillor revives threat to number 12 bus service

“Use it or lose it” message for bus service users from transport chief

Just days after the number 12 bus service was reprieved, residents are being urged to make full use of it after falling passenger numbers left the long-term future of one section of its route in jeopardy.

Service 12 runs between Foxwood, the city centre and Monks Cross, but the section of the route between Alness Drive and Foxwood Lane has suffered a decline in patronage, This summer, bus operator First York announced its intention to withdraw the service that it provides along that section of the route on the basis that it is no longer commercially viable.

However, City of York Council stepped in to provide the funding required to continue operating the service in its entirety, but only up until 31 January, 2020. This will allow time for a tendering process to be carried out in a bid to find the most cost-effective, long-term solution. A decision about the future of the service will be made once that process is complete.

Councillor Andy D’Agorne, Executive Member for Transport, said: “It’s positive that the council has agreed to provide the funding needed to ensure that bus service 12 can continue to operate between Alness Drive and Foxwood Lane in the short-term but, as we work to identify a longer-term solution, it’s really important that local people make full use of the service.”

We think that the threat is ill timed. Details of the reprieved service weren’t generally circulated until over a week after the decision was taken.

Bus stop timetables similarly weren’t undated.

We think that Council should get its own house in order before preaching to passengers, many of whom are vulnerable.