Anti fly tipping CCTV camera campaign set to start in York

The York Council is set to deploy CCTV cameras at known fly tipping hotspots. The cameras will not be covert so the immediate effect is likely to be as a deterrent.

Taxpayers face a bill for tens of thousands of pounds each year for cleaning up fly tipping.

The cameras will be come operations on 1st April 2020

Meanwhile the Local Government Association (LGA) has revealed that only 5 per cent of court-imposed fines for fly-tipping offences in England in the past six years were above £1,000, and only a sixth of them above £500.

This is despite fly-tipping incidents soaring by 50 per cent over the same period, up from 714,637 in 2012/13 to 1,072,431 in 2018/19.

The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, says tougher sentences are needed to deter fly-tipping, which latest figures shows costs councils £58 million a year to clear up.

Only two people have been given the maximum £50,000 fine by the courts for fly-tipping since the Government introduced new guidelines in 2014.

Councils take fly-tipping extremely seriously and are taking increasing enforcement action against the criminals responsible. Councils took action on nearly half a million incidents in 2018/19 – almost 5,000 more than the previous year and up by nearly 75,000 in six years.

Successful prosecutions brought by councils are at their highest level since 2011/12, while fixed penalty notices – issued by councils for smaller fly-tipping cases – are at record levels. Seizure of vehicles – up 51 per cent over the past year – is also at an all-time high.

However, due to demand on councils’ legal duties, such as caring for elderly and disabled people, protecting children and providing homelessness support, less money is available for discretionary powers – like issuing penalty notices for fly-tipping.

The LGA is calling on the Government to work with councils on reviewing guidance to the courts to ensure the worst offenders face tougher sentences, and that councils have the funding needed to investigate and prosecute fly-tippers.

£15 million York Council contract for security services

A new contract has been awarded to Gough & Kelly Ltd to run security services for the Council.

The contract started on 1st November and is expected to be worth £15 million over the next 5 years.

The services to be provided include, “Manned Guarding, Key Holding, Intruder Alarm Monitor and Investigation, Supply of Security consumables, locks, padlocks and locking systems”.

A separate contract sees the outsourcing of the Councils CCTV monitoring service

Given the size of the contract – and the sensitivity of CCTV monitoring – the contract has attracted remarkably little debate in the Council!

There has been a similar lack of debate about the cost of a one year contract for “Independent Mobility Assessments” for the issuing of disabled parking Blue Badges. The contract will be worth £52,950 and has been awarded to Premier Physical Healthcare Ltd

Natural environment under pressure from fly-tippers in parts of York

Several nature areas are suffering problems with dumping and litter.

The problem is likely to get worse as the summer approaches. Not only is there no local recycling centre on the west of the City, but the regular skip visits, funded by the Council on many estates, ceased suddenly on 1st April.

These are some of the areas that we have reported recently

Foxwood park dumping

Acomb Wood Meadow dumping

Acomb Wood Meadow tree cover being eroded

Westfield Fen woodland covered in litter

Remains of a bonfire adjacent to Westfield bog

Some residents are now saying that the boundaries of nature areas should be secured – with access allowed only under supervision – at least until the areas have had a chance to regenerated.

Areas like the Foxwood Park are, however, widely used for other leisure activities and here enforcement of anti dumping laws appears to be the only way forward. The Council may install CCTV cameras to catch dumpers.  

Fly tipping fines can now be as much as £400.

The Foxwood Residents Association is starting discussions with Accent Housing which is the landlord of some of the proprieties which border the threatened areas. They will be asking for their help in funding improvements along the boundaries together with regular clean ups.

In addition it will be suggested that  skips visit the estate regularly to allow tenants to dispose of unwanted items.

Wildlife is,however, thriving on the Lowfields playing fields the boundary of which is normally secured.

Ironically this is an area that the Council hopes to develop.


CCTV faults down in York

A few years ago there was widespread concern that CCTV cameras were not being monitored 24/7 in the City.

CCTV cartoonThe latest figures, released by the Council in response to an FOI request, suggest that coverage and reliability is much improved.

There have been no gaps in the rota for manning the monitoring screens this year.

There have been 27 faults reported on individual cameras so far in 2016. The site with the most faults has been that located at the Castle car park.

There are nearly 100 CCTV cameras operational in York. Some are deployed to monitor traffic conditions but the main function of many is to deter crime and assist police in tracking offenders.

An ‘Incident Log’ is a live record maintained by CCTV Operators of any incidents that they have actively been involved in and taken action on. The overwhelming majority of these incidents are related to potential crimes or police-related activity.  

During the last 12 months period, there have been 5766 relevant incidents.

Looking at the two cameras located in the Westfield Ward (Bramham Road & Front Street/York Road), 136 incidents were monitored

The incidents involved:

  • ASB (Anti-Social Behaviour)
  • Disqualified Driver
  • OPL (Drunk Drivers)
  • Shop Theft
  • Missing Persons
  • Robbery
  • Assault
  • Drunk and Disorderly
Both Front Street and Bramham Road remain as anti social behaviour blackspots.

Call for information on effectiveness of CCTV cameras in York

There are nearly 100 cameras monitoring public order issues and traffic conditions in York 24/7.

CCTV Bramham Road

Bramham Road

A copy of the camera location list can be downloaded by clicking here.

The Council spends around £300,000 a year on the service and it  procured a new maintenance contract last June.

The effectiveness of the cameras is not routinely reported to any Council committee.

In Westfield, there are cameras located on Bramham Road and near the junction of Front Street & York Road. The future of the camera in Bramham Road – currently an Anti Social Behaviour (ASB) hotspot – was threatened in 2012 when the Labour controlled Council refused to pay the license fee.

With ASB on the increase in parts of the City, there have been calls for an extension of monitoring arrangements to problem locations like Acomb Green.

In the meantime, the Council and North Yorkshire Police must reassure residents that the existing cameras are sited at optimum locations and that systems to alert the Police to developing incidents – particularly in sub-urban areas – are effective and producing results.

York traffic congestion cameras now working

click to access

click to access

8 months after they were supposed to be available for residents to access, the cameras which provide real time information on congestion levels, on key roads in York, are now working.

The inability of the Councils new camera control computer systems, to provide the kind of access that other Council have done routinely for the last 10 years, has been a source of embarrassment in the City.

Links are now also available for mobile devices.

York congestion cameras still not working – York Council

Moving York’s CCTV cameras onto a system that provides residents with real time information on traffic congestion “has required more recoding of the website’s processing system than originally anticipated.” the responsible Councillor has admitted.

click to access

click to access

Live camera information has been available in North Yorkshire for several years but the York equivalent has been dogged by delays despite investment of over £300,000.

The Council now says that “this additional work is now almost complete and the CCTV images should be available on the website during October / November”.

For the mobile applications the updates required will be included in the next update releases of the apps, expected later this year.”

We will see.

Shame they weren’t working for today’s Yorkshire Marathon