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

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




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)

A64 getting a Spring Clean today

“Not before time”

As part of the Big Spring Clean 2015, City of York Council has planned a major clean-up of the verges and laybys on the A64.

Alongside 45 different community activities to support the Big Spring Clean, council staff will start work on the stretch of the outer ring road from Bilbrough Top to the Hopgrove Roundabout on 23 March.

Motorists are advised that sections of the dual carriageway’s single, inside lanes will be closed to protect workers, from 8pm after the evening peak and reopened ready for the morning peak.

Council teams will be undertaking other aspects of spring cleaning in the same week including brushing up signage and traffic islands across the city. Following council work to prune trees on the riverbank, together with the River Foss Society, council teams will also help clean up the Foss waterway and banks.

Council staff are also volunteering to join in litter picks organised for the areas in and around Hazel Court and West Offices.

To volunteer or for more information about the Big Spring Clean, visit www.york.gov.uk/smarteryork email smarter.york@york.gov.uk, call 01904 551551, follow @CityofYork #SmarterYork

Dramatic fall in numbers fined for littering in York

Litter Esplanade car park river bank near Scarborough Bridge

Despite growing concerns about the amount of litter on our streets, the York Council has scaled back by nearly 95% the number of penalty notices issued for littering.

In 2013/14 only 16 Fixed Penalty Notices were issued compared to 216 in the previous year.

The number of people fined more than £100 has also dropped from the 2012/13 high when 18 prosecutions resulted in fines totally £1700.

£280 in victim surcharges were also received together with £4100 in court costs.

The Council has been criticised for the double environmental “whammy” of reducing the number of litter bins in the City while all but abandoning enforcement of anti littering legislation.


Spring cleaning York

Foxwood park clean up 26th March 14 5

Over 100 bags of litter have now been collected during the first two weeks of the Smarter York Spring Clean campaign to spruce up areas of York.

The campaign, now half way through, has been carried out by volunteer residents together with York and North Yorkshire Probation Trust’s Community Payback team. They have been busy litter picking, planting, weeding, edging and painting and new volunteers are now being sought to continue the great work achieved so far.


Good response to “improve our neighbourhood” petition

A steady stream of petition forms, from most parts of the Westfield area, are arriving.

Petitioners are asking for the Council to deal with several long standing issues in the neighbourhood including the need to repair local roads.

Over 20 issues (see sample below) have been highlighted by residents. These have been passed on to the Council using  the “My Council” web app.

York Housing Association have agreed to remove this dumping from the Haddon Close snicket "within the next few days"

York Housing Association have agreed to remove this dumping from the Haddon Close snicket “within the next few days”

Litter, detritus and vandalism on the Walton Place to Grange Lane snicket has been reported.

Litter, detritus and vandalism on the Walton Place to Grange Lane snicket has been reported.

Foxwood Park and Acomb Wood volunteers weekend details – 26th and 27th March

Local volunteers will carry out a ‘spring clean’ of the city during March and April.

Volunteers in action in the Foxwood Park earlier in the year

Volunteers in action in the Foxwood Park earlier in the year

The spring clean will consist of various tasks, such as litter clearance, edging off grass verges, cutting back over grown vegetation and fence repairs.

From 24 – 30 March the team will be focusing on the Dringhouses and Woodthorpe ward, where they will be looking to make a difference to Chapman’s Pond and Foxwood Park making site improvements with help from Bootham School and local groups on March 26.

The Friends of Acomb Wood invite people to help plant new trees on March 27.

Volunteers are being called upon to help spruce up Nelsons Lane play are on March 25.

York residents will also have the opportunity to nominate communal spaces for the team to spruce up and help make a smarter York.

This can be done by going to https://www.york.gov.uk/springclean and adding a new request. Residents and businesses can also volunteer to carry out tasks in their local area.


Positive response to Bellwood estate concerns

Landlords promise quick action



Access Housing, who manage Foxwood’s Bellhouse estate, have promised quick action to deal with residents concerns.

We reported yesterday about growing concerns about litter, dumping, overgrown hedges and other issues which are blighting the estate.

Now Access have promised that there will be a tidy up starting on Wednesday (12th March).

A part time caretaker is being engaged to undertake this type of work.

Contractors will be brought in the cut back hedges and smarten up the planted areas. It is hoped that the verges will also be edged.

Action is promised to improve the play area on Linnet Way.

The estate manager for the area is Jo Caveney. She holds a fortnightly surgery for residents and can be contacted on 0345 678 0573 (Email: joanne.caveney@accentgroup.org )