Council public service turmoil

The York Council is coming in for more criticism as – for the second day running – waste, recycling and green bin collection arrangements failed yesterday.

Residents were advised to leave out their bins but most remain unemptied.

Officially the Council’s excuse is that there is a shortage of HGV drivers. That has been true since BREXIT saw some drivers return to their homelands although other pressures have resulted from COVID absences and increasing numbers of jobs in the commercial delivery sector.

The actual HGV training (practical) only takes 5 days but the entire process from start to end will take around 8-10 weeks to get the licence in hand.

Usually employers pay for the training in return for a guarantee that the driver will stay with the company/authority for a minimum contract period.

Some HGV drivers can earn up to £45.000 a year. There are an estimated 500,000 vacancies for HGV drivers in the UK.

The Council first identified a shortage of HGV drivers in November 2018 click.

It appears to have made little progress in the interim to ensure that vacancies can be covered.

In the meantime, it needs to be more proactive in telling residents when they can expect to have their waste collected.

If necessary, auxiliary “bring” sites should be established for green waste.

It is not just refuse collection failings which are causing concerns.

Many sports fields and play areas have not had the grass trimmed for several weeks. The neglect runs contrary to the Council s policy of tackling obesity and encouraging healthy lifestyles. When they are eventually cut, mounds of cuttings blight the parks and amenity spaces.

Weeds are now growing rapidly in many gutters. The spraying contractors got off to an early start this year but standards have gradually declined as the summer growing season has got into full swing. Where gutters have not been swept properly, weeds are now reaching a metre or more in height. Again the Council have failed to tell residents when they can expect to see their streets treated,

The promised rain later this week, will see more rapid growth in grass, weeds and bushes. Many of the latter are already obstructing footpaths.

The Council web site confirms that they cut grass “every two to three weeks”

Council inundated with responses to recycling consultation

Refuse collection changes are a concern in York

It seems, for once, that the York Council has had a large response to its consultation on plans to introduce 3 weekly recycling collections.

A decision on the plan, due this month, is being deferred into June.

A report, contained in the forward decision making programme, says,

Given the incredible engagement with the consultation and the large volume of responses, this report will be deferred until the 24 June 2021 allow the responses to be fully considered before Executive are asked to determine next steps”.

We are not surprised.

Bin emptying is one of the few public services provided by the Council that virtually everyone uses. There are unresolved issues for many residents with the proposals. Lack of storage space for 3 bins and 2 boxes was something that troubles many.

The Council has (not for the first time) boxed itself into a corner with a delay in ordering replacement refuse collection vehicles. Such vehicles have long lead in times.

A decision on bin design is needed before any vehicle orders can be placed.

In the meantime, more of the existing refuse collection fleet will reach the end of its service life, with possible implications for vehicle reliability.

On 1st April 2021 the Council  placed an order worth £400,000 for the purchase of new wheeled bins. 

Christmas and New Year waste collections

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This year, some Christmas waste collections have changed which means City of York Council will collect waste and recycling the day before households’ receive their normal collection day.

To look up collection days visit the council website. 

If your normal collection day is…Your bin will be collected on…
Monday 21Saturday 19
Tuesday 22Monday 21
Wednesday 23Tuesday 22
Thursday 24 Christmas EveWednesday 23
Christmas DayFriday 25Christmas EveThursday 24
Monday 28No change
Tuesday 29No change
Wednesday 30No change
Thursday 31New Year’s EveNo change
Friday 1 January New Year’s DaySaturday 2 January

Residents can chop up their Christmas tree and wreaths (please remove all decorations, bows and ribbons) and place them in garden waste bin. These will be taken away when garden waste collections resume again in April.

Real Christmas trees and wreaths can also be taken to recycling sites at Hazel Court HWRC or Towthorpe HWRC. Please note that both sites are closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

Extra festive recycling will be collected too including greeting cards, paper, wrapping paper (non foil), cardboard (please break down), plastic bottles, tins or glass.

All residents need to do is correctly sort them and place them in separate untied clear bags or open boxes of a similar size to a recycling box and put out with their recycling, or simply take them to a recycling site.

Full details of how to present extra items can be found here including what to do if you have more items than fit inside each recycling box can be found on the council website

It’s important that bins or boxes are presented by 7am on the day of collections, but no earlier than 7pm the evening before.

Residents who live in the city centre and have their recycling collected by St Nick’s have been sent a festive newsletter advising their service changes (Fri 25 Dec moving to Mon 28, Friday 1 Jan moving to Mon 4). 

9 months before new refuse collection vehicles arrive in York

Electric Vans Archives - Electric vehicle news by Fuel Included

As attention focuses on the major backlog in waste collection that is developing in York, another “behind closed doors” decision has been taken to order 12 new refuse collections vehicles.

Two of the 12 will be electric vehicles. These vehicles cost approximately 2.5 times more than their conventional counterparts but are cheaper to run. They have range limitations.

There is only 1 supplier of these types of vehicle in the country and they say that January 2021 is the earliest that delivery can be expected.

The 12 vehicles will cost £3 million in total.

A further order is expected to be approved later in the summer bringing the total investment to over £6.6 million

Much of the Councils waste management fleet is well beyond its normal lifespan. This has resulted in unreliability with missed collections a feature of the last 18 months of operation. The COVID crisis has simply magnified the problems.

The Council has never satisfactorily explained why it did not continue its annual vehicle replacement programme to ensure that overall reliability levels remained acceptable.

It appears that indecision – prompted perhaps by a hope that more electric options would become available  –  led to unacceptable delays in placing orders.

The Councils internal scrutiny and audit processes should have  revealed the risks associated with such inaction.

Sadly that process didn’t seem to work.

Quite what quality of service residents can look forward to over the remainder of this year remains unclear.

York Council report May 2020

River levels begin to drop in York – backlog of refuse collection work

The level of the river Ouse is now falling. It is expected to remain above normal levels for several days although riverside paths should reopen in a day or two.
Not surprisingly the Council has been unable to collect refuse from areas affected by flooding. Areas affected include Naburn, Acaster Malbis and Skeldergate.

Public services improving in York this week

The York Council has had a good week in providing public services. 100% refuse collection success today with the only significant missed collections, earlier in the week, down to “blocked accesses”. Their web page detailing service standards achieved can be accessed by clicking here

Elsewhere the fallen leaves that we reported on Bellhouse Way have been cleared from the paths

Bellhouse Way largely clear of leaves
Elsewhere we have reported leaf fall on Chesney Field….
…and on Foxwood Lane
We’ve also asked for the snicket link to Chesney Field to be cleared of obstructions and detritus

Missed bin collections in York – backlog growing

The missed bins from yesterday and due for collection in Haxby, Huntington, Fulford and and Bishopthorpe today weren’t collected. This is put down to continuing staffing and vehicle reliability issues.

Skelton was also missed today

The Council says that it will try to empty all outstanding waste and garden bins tomorrow (Saturday)

It does increasingly seem that the bin emptying service, which was often regarded in public satisfaction surveys as the most appreciated local service provided by the Council, is now in decline.