£3227 fine for breaching clean regulations in York

Supporting work to enforce air quality in York, City of York Council has prosecuted a contractor for burning pollutants and waste offences.

At York Magistrates’ Court on 5 November, Richard Heppell, aged 28 of Knapton Close, Strensall, pleaded guilty to burning materials which caused the emission of dark smoke, for carrying waste without a licence, failing in his duty of care to dispose of waste lawfully. He was ordered to pay a total £3,227.58.

In April 2019, a report was made to the council of commercial waste being burned at a building site at Askham Bryan and dark smoke being emitted. Officers visited the site that day and found that rather than pay for this commercial waste – which included cables and wires – to be removed legally, he burned it, creating polluting, dark smoke.

Contractor Richard Heppell from AOS (Art of Smart) said he was carrying out electrical work at the new property being built. He confirmed under caution that some of this waste, which included coated cables and quantities of polythene and polystyrene packaging, would have been from his company. Mr Heppell was warned that burning any commercial waste which causes dark smoke is an offence.

Within 30 minutes of this visit, another complaint was received alleging that further dark smoke had been seen when the bonfire was lit again. Officers visited the site the following day and confirmed that the waste had been burned, found documentation addressed to Mr Heppell’s business, and found waste from previous jobs he had undertaken.

Mr Heppell failed to produce details of his waste carriers licence and how he disposes of his waste. He said he was unaware that he had to keep details of his waste disposal and didn’t realise he needed to have a licence. He obtained a waste carrier’s licence on 7 May. When interviewed under caution he admitted burning the waste, saying that he had “panicked”, had been “very stupid” and immediately regretted doing so.

He was prosecuted for four offences relating to creating polluting, noxious smoke. He pleaded guilty to all offences by post and the court fined him £500, he was ordered to pay £2,677.58 costs and a court surcharge of £50.

For more information on how to dispose of commercial waste legally and safely, please visit: https://www.york.gov.uk/info/20090/commercial_waste/1569/commercial_waste_disposal_responsibilitie

Air quality in York shows further improvement

A six-year trend in air pollution reduction means that two of York’s three Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) could be withdrawn in the next two years.

Falling concentrations of the pollutant nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is mainly from traffic, means that it is no longer having a health impact on people in those areas.

City of York Council’s annual air quality status report is being presented to the executive member for environment on 7 August for a decision-making session.

The report shows that the Salisbury Terrace AQMA has had nitrogen dioxide concentrations consistently below the level where it affects health for the last four years, so the AQMA for this area is recommended to be revoked.

The Fulford Road AQMA has been showing that, while average levels of pollutants are continuing to fall across the whole area, one location continues to show higher than permitted levels. Should another year of monitoring levels indicate a continued decline, that AQMA may be recommended to be reduced or revoked in 12 months time.

In the meantime, increased concentrations of NOmonitored on Coppergate could mean that, depending on monitoring data submitted early in 2018, the boundary of the city centre AQMA boundary may need to be amended. However changes in traffic restrictions and buses on this route may be responsible for the change in concentrations.

York’s Low Emission Strategy continues to deliver the air quality improvement measures in York’s third Air Quality Action Plan including:

  • 14% of York’s taxis have converted from diesel to ultra low emission electric hybrids since York’s unique taxi incentives and

    Electric buses have been introduced in York

  • new taxi licensing policy specifying minimum emission standards for new or replacement taxis
  • encouraging residents to walk, cycle and use public transport to beat congestion and pollution through the Local Transport Plan and i-Travel York
  • introducing electric buses on two Park&Ride routes with a third to be delivered via the new Park & Ride contract
  • retrofitting the world’s first electric double-decker sightseeing bus with plans to convert a further five diesel buses to full electric drive
  • City of York Council has been awarded £816,000 from the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) after becoming the only Yorkshire location out of eight in the country to achieve ‘Go Ultra Low’ city status. The money will be used to fund a city-wide network of charging hubs
  • implementing a ‘pay as you go’ fast charge public electric vehicle recharging network in addition to 11 publicly accessible rapid chargers across the city. 1,500 charges – including those made by electric buses – are made each month and are rising on a monthly basis.
  • Low Emission Planning guidance requires electric vehicle recharge infrastructure, Construction Environmental Management Plans (CEMPs), and emissions mitigation plans on new building developments.

Idle-Free Zone, Turn Engine Off Sign

We are also currently considering the following air quality improvement measures:

  • reducing emissions from buses by developing a bespoke Clean Air Zone (CAZ).
  • introducing anti-idling measures via signage and a new anti-idling enforcement policy.

Cllr Andrew Waller, executive member for the environment, said: “While our sustained work on combating air pollution has made a significant contribution to improving air quality in York, it’s important to recognise that much still needs to be done.

“Air pollution is associated with a number of adverse health impacts – especially in children and older people – including contributing to the onset of heart disease and cancer and we will continue to work with partners to further improve the air we all breathe in the city.”

The full report can be read at http://democracy.york.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=870&MId=10031&Ver=4

Hyper electric vehicle charging points could be installed next year

York joins in first national Clean Air Day

Idle-Free Zone, Turn Engine Off Sign

The UK’s first ever National Clean Air Day (NCAD) on 15 June will see York schools, hospitals, workplaces and communities run events and inspire residents to act for their own health and the health of local children.

City of York Council is backing the day by supporting schools, staff and partners including the University of York, York Hospital Trust and also staff from Amey to take action.

Dr Ruth Purvis from the National Centre for Atmospheric Sciences at the University of York will be visiting Copmanthorpe Primary School to lead an air quality workshop. The children will find out what air is, how it moves and how it becomes polluted. They will share their learning in the school newsletter and will be encouraged to make a clean air pledge.

Cllr Andrew Waller, the council’s executive member for the environment, is been working with Westfield Primary School on clean air and how important it is for children’s health.

Air pollution increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and asthma attacks, as well as being associated with dementia. The health burden of air pollution is unnecessary and NCAD is all about giving everyone the tools and inspiration to reduce pollution now.
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Air quality in York

Lorry smoke

The Council has published some air quality measurement statistics which can be downloaded from here.

The results are from some of the Councils nitrogen dioxide diffusion tube monitors including those located on Leeman Road and Clifton Green.

The results are largely inconclusive and tend to demonstrate that prevailing weather conditions are the main factor influencing air quality.

The Council says that corrected results for 2013 are currently being processed and will be available in April.

The annual average air quality objective set by the Government for nitrogen dioxide is 21ppb

British Sugar residential development plans take a step forward – Methane risk revealed

The planned residential development on the former British Sugar site off Plantation Drive has taken a step forward.

click for full report

click for full report

The owners have submitted a scoping document which will lead to the production of an environmental impact assessment which is an essential precursor to an outline planning application.

The latter is now expected to be lodged in early 2014.

The new development is expected to be a predominately residential led scheme, of up to 1300 homes comprising family housing at a medium density together with

• A retail centre comprising Class Al/A2/A3/A4/A5;

• A multi-use community hub (with potential for uses such as a health centre, crèche, public hall, primary school, changing facilities associated with any intensive sports uses on the site);

• Provision of open space/green infrastructure;

• Access via a new link road through Former Manor School site, Plantation Drive and Millfield Lane; and

• Demolition of the Former Manor School buildings as necessary.

The report warns of potentially harmful levels of methane and carbon dioxide on the site.

However no signs of protected wildlife species, such as Great Crested Newts, have been discovered. A “bee bank” is under threat.

The report also describes how transportation, landscape, noise, air quality and other impacts will be assessed.

Gas levels near Newbury Avenue to be investigated

The City of York Council’s environmental protection unit has completed its investigation of the former refuse tips off Foxwood Lane (comprising Acorn Rugby Club, the playing fields off Foxwood Lane and Hob Moor) last year.

In late August / early September 2012, soil and water samples were collected from across the site and sent for laboratory analysis. The waste material buried onsite was found to contain ash and clinker, brick fragments, glass, ceramics, fabric, coal, metal and timber.

Monitoring wells were also installed around the edges of the site to enable the Council to monitor ground gas.

The Council said, “The laboratory analysis results confirmed that the majority of the soil and water samples were uncontaminated. Some elevated levels of contaminants were detected – but a detailed risk assessment has confirmed that these levels do not pose a risk to people, animals or the environment.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Ground gas was monitored on a monthly basis between September 2012 and March 2013. The ground gas concentrations and flows were found to be low in most monitoring wells. Although elevated levels of methane and carbon dioxide were found on part of Hob Moor (to the rear of Newbury Avenue) and we intend to investigate this area further.

Please note that the site has not been determined as contaminated land (under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990), but further investigation is required in the vicinity of Newbury Avenue”.

The environmental protection unit has now confirmed that it has received a government grant of £35,000 to undertake an additional investigation in the vicinity of Newbury Avenue.

The investigation will involve installing gas monitoring wells in a number of gardens and monitoring the external airbricks of eight properties. They will test the gas levels every two weeks for up to six months, to assess whether the gas levels pose a risk to people, property or the environment.

Residents are being notified of the plans this Friday (6 September). A drop-in session is being held at the Gateway Centre between 10am and 12pm on Monday (9 September) to answer resident’s queries.

The answers to frequently asked questions can be found by clicking here.

Ironically the worst affected area appears to be the site selected by the Council on which to build a block of 9 new Council flats!