Cleaner York report published

York Council looks like it will soon get to grips with improving cleanliness standards in the City.
Manual sweeping in the Acomb ward click to enlarge

Manual sweeping in the Acomb ward click to enlarge

A report, to be considered on 25th January, makes several recommendations, although the most significant may be that the management of street cleaning will be devolved to local Ward Committees.

The report does, however, say that the funds available for cleaning will be reduced.

The report says, “Cleansing will take place with a minimum frequency of quarterly and a maximum of daily, depending on the location. Although in some locations there will be a reduction in the frequency of visits by a large mechanical road sweeper the new schedules will allow the vehicle to be driven more slowly which will ensure improved removal of detritus. This will not only improve cleanliness standards but also remove the matter in which weeds are able to grow”.

Mechanical sweeping in the Acomb Ward click to view

Mechanical sweeping in the Acomb Ward click to view

The report notably fails to say what standards will apply to sub-urban shopping areas, public spaces and communal areas on estates. These are often the places which have the biggest litter problems

Litter and Poop scoop bins

The report makes a welcome proposal to increase the number of litter bins. The number of litter reports started to increase when the last Council removed several bins. (They responded by stopping the publication of statistics showing the number of complaints being received – see below).

Combined litter and poop scoop bins

Combined litter and poop scoop bins

The Council will also move over to combined litter/poop scoop bins. These are emptied by the same operative and end up in landfill.


Despite fly tipping costing the Council £69,000 to remove in 2014, only £2248 was recovered from fines. During the same year, 8 fixed penalty notices were issued for litter dropping and dog fouling.

Reporting problems

The Council is promising that its much delayed on line issue reporting system will finally become available in the summer.

It means that the current – dysfunctional – “report it “system and the outdated “Smarter York” app will be scrapped. The latter, introduced  in a hurry in 2011 by a new Council administration, lacked the convenience and flexibility of commercial systems such as “Fix my Street”. The Smarter York app is currently costing the Council over £12,000 a year to maintain with use having dwindled to less than 4 a week.

We will see; but the Councils promise to soft launch the system, before promoting its use, is a welcome step forward.

The Council is also promising to launch a “One Planet” App which will allow residents to advertise surplus items for “exchange”. We assume that they mean what effectively would be a version of Freecycle.  The system would also “receive alerts regarding which type of waste to present on which week and a scanning facility to indicate if an item is recyclable based on York’s collection policy”.

Performance indicators

Attached to the report is a welcome glimpse of the performance indicators  “lost to view” a few years ago.

They aren’t complete but their publication is a welcome step forward by the current coalition administration (see below)
Performance indicators

Adult social care funding confusion

A similar fate has befallen plans to invest £75,000 in Adult Social Care support.

The latest forward programme shows the item as having been withdrawn.

Originally it had been intended to consider a report which would

present information about the proposal to invest funding over the next 2 years in community initiatives which prevent or delay the need for Social care funding airportpeople to access statutory social care provision.

Use of £75,000 of this funding has already been agreed, as per the ‘Listening to Residents: Ward Committees’ paper presented to Executive on 30th July 2015 (whereby £75k will be devolved into ward budgets on a ‘per capita’ basis).

Therefore this report makes proposals for the remaining funding.

Officials say this item has now been “withdrawn to allow further work with public health”.

Litter and cleanliness

Consideration of initiatives to improve the cleanliness of the City have been put back until a meeting scheduled to take place on 25th January. Litter is the second most mentioned concern by residents returning our Focus surveys (after footpath surface condition)

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

Carrfield – Teal Drive snicket improvement requested

We’ve asked the Council to tidy up the Carrfield – Teal Drive snicket.

Using the Fix My Street “app” we’ve asked that litter and weeds be removed, grass cut and that the cycle barriers are repainted

Barriers need paintng

Barriers need paintng

Grass need cutting

Grass needs cutting

Weeds and litter need removing

Weeds and litter need removing

Post bank holiday clean up needed in York

The school holidays seems to have increased pressure on some public services.

The Fix My Street web site (click) has a map showing all the reports made through their site concerning issues in the York area.

The map does not,of course, show issues which have been reported direct to the Council. However the only way that we will see a sustained improvement in public services in the city is for ordinary citizens to report every issue that they see.

Fix my street 2nd Sept 2015

Below are a selection of the issues that we have reported over the last few days.

Dumping on Chesneys Field

Dumping on Chesneys Field

Full litter bin

Full litter bin

Full poop scoop bin

Full poop scoop bin

Weeds riverside walk 2nd Sept 2015

Weeds on riverside walk

York Council “doesn’t know” how many litter complaints it is receiving.

A response to a Freedom of Information request has revealed that the York Council stopped counting the number of complaints it was receiving about litter 18 months ago!

Litter complaints admitted by York Council (click to enlarge)

Litter complaints admitted by York Council (click to enlarge)

Monthly figures have been provided only up to November 2013.

The decision not to record complaints co-incided with Labour’s cuts in the number of litter bins provided in the City.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that litter problems are worsening in many parts of the City. 

The new Council which will be elected on May 7th will certainly expect not only performance volumes like these to be gathered but also to have them published routinely on the Council’s web site

The Council recently announced further cuts to litter bin provision in sub-urban parts of the City including Foxwood Lane.


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 email, call 01904 551551, follow @CityofYork #SmarterYork

More litter bins axed in York

Street cleansing standards take another hit

The York Council is to remove more litter bins from the City’s streets.

It is claiming that the installation of “smart” compaction bins in the City centre and Acomb Front Street has been a “success” and is now aiming to replace old style bins on a one for two basis.

Compactor bin jammed with rubbish

Compactor bin jammed with rubbish

One of the Foxwood Lane bins which will be axed

One of the Foxwood Lane bins which will be axed

The smart bins compact rubbish using solar power and are supposed to alert the Council electronically when they are full.

They have had a mixed reaction from residents and traders.

The locations where only one bin will be provided in future include:

  • Copmanthorpe – near chipshop
    • Foxwood Lane – corner near shops
    • Tad Rd – Opposite chipshop
Another of the bins that will be removed

Another of the bins that will be removed

  • St Aubyn’s Place
  • Badger Hill – near shops
  • Tang Hall Ln – shops
  • Marygate – entrance to Museum Gardens
  • Union Terrace Coach/car park

    Litter accumulating behind a junction box. An increasingly familiar site in sub-urban York

    Litter accumulating behind a junction box. An increasingly familiar sight in sub-urban York

  • Haxby – the village – near shops
  • City Centre – Newgate Market
  • City Centre – Spurriergate – near junc with High Ousegate
  • City Centre – Kings Sq
  • Broadway – Shops
  • Blossom Street O/S Odean

Meanwhile complaints about litter drift are increasing and a petition asking for more litter bins to be provide is being drawn up

Poor footpaths, litter and dumping – time for the York Council to take notice

Dangerous footpaths

Dangerous footpaths

The York Council needs to get a grip of the growing number of issues affecting the estates that it is responsible for managing.





Dozens of issues are being reported to the Council with little feedback.

A petition has been started in Chapelfields asking the Council to improve parking arrangements and provide better maintenance of communal areas


Litter problems mount on York’s open spaces and playgrounds

Litter still  covers the Cornlands playground

Litter still covers the Cornlands playground

Several local playgrounds and open spaces are covering in litter.

The problems have increased since the start of the school holidays but the root cause was the councils decision to remove many litter bins 12 months ago.

We have reported the Cornlands Park, Chesney’s field, the Westfield Place field and the Grange Lane play area this week.

Grange Lane playground - Equipment repaired but litter everywhere

Grange Lane playground – Equipment repaired but litter everywhere

At Grange Lane the play equipment is now all in working order but the area has been spoiled by litter and dumping.

In our view each of these – and one or two other locations – should each have at least one litter bin.