Plan to grit 11 miles of York’s cycle network

New off road vehicles are set to be used to grit 11miles (18km) of York’s cycle network this winter.

If successful, the pilot could be extended across the city to help keep cyclists safer in winter conditions.

A report detailing the pilot will be taken to a public meeting on Thursday 19 September, for approval to start during the winter season between November and March.

The pilot includes using two different vehicles to grit 11miles (18km) of cycle network, using small all-terrain vehicles including a quad bike and a gator type machine.

The trial is welcome but rather distracts attention from other more pressing issues facing cyclists.

Many cycle paths in the City are obstructed

Many cycle paths are currently obstructed by overhanging hedge and tree branches. Unchecked weed growth has also reduced path widths as has the failure of the Council to systematically “edge” verges.

Perhaps the most pressing issue though is potholes. These affect some cycle lanes and many inner sections of carriageways – the surfaces most used by cyclists.

It is now 10 years since the last major programme of cycle margin maintenance works took place in the City.

The Council says that, “Popular cycle routes have been chosen for the de-icing trial, including the new Scarborough Bridge and other off road bridges too.

The introduction of the new smaller vehicles will ensure the networks are effectively gritted.  Off road cycle networks are often difficult to grit or salt because cycles don’t have the same weight or action as a vehicle tyre. Effective gritting works by vehicles driving over the grit with their tyres which beds the grit into the snow and ice.

Whilst cars or heavy vehicles generally follow the same tyre path. Cycle tyres are much thinner and therefore these typical treatments are less effective.

For the pilot, the council will hire the vehicles and if, following the pilot, the council decides to roll this scheme out across York, it will look to purchase new vehicles to the council’s fleet.

The cost of the pilot is estimated to be £42k. This will be met by the current winter maintenance budget which is £401k.

By its nature the winter maintenance budget is not predictable, in 2018/19 there was an underspend of £61k. Should this not occur in 2019/20 there is a winter maintenance contingency available of £258k, in addition to the annual budget, which could be utilised.

This pilot will not formally be part of the council’s Winter Service Plan, but will run alongside this a pilot.  After the winter the pilot will be assessed and considered for formally incorporating into the Winter Service Plan”.

Preparing for the winter season:

The council has stockpiled 3,000 tonnes of grit, which is stored in its grit barn at Hazel Court depot.

On average, crews spread around 4,500 tonnes of grit per season, over 75 road treatments (gritter runs).

Each season, crews treat eight routes across the highway, covering 365km of York’s road network, including 22km of priority footpaths and, when recourses allow, 58km of cycle network.

The decision session takes place on Thursday 19 September at West Offices from 2pm and is open to members of the public or is available to watch later online from:

A copy of the report can be read by clicking here

Snow! How was it for you?

With the snow now finally – apparently  – at an end, Liberal Democrats have launched an “on line” survey aimed at finding out how local public services coped this winter.

Residents are being asked to give their verdict on a number of issues including salt bins, school closure information, gritting schedules, bus services and the effectiveness of the “snow warden” volunteer programme.

The survey can be completed “on line” by clicking here 


So which roads are open in York and where can I find a salt bin?

The York Council provides an “on line” map which shows public service locations. These include the primary and secondary road gritting (salting) routes which are mainly the major bus routes. click here to view (then click “street car”e on the map index and then pick the service you want to see)

The Council also provides an update service on Twitter @yorkgritter

In addition the map shows the location of self help salt bins and the areas covered by VOLUNTEER snow wardens. The latter do their best to keep local paths open but not all neighbourhoods are covered..

Salt bins do not fill themselves so, if you see an empty one, then please report it to the Council  on York 551550 or “on line


More roads to be salted in York?


de-icingThe Council has not said why it is set to discuss the issue halfway through winter or why the plan had not been included on its “forward plan” of decisions.

According to the Press, it says it will pay for any changes using “contingency” funds (which have been available since last April).

The decision to salt the 24 bus route will be welcomed. It was a major bone of contention in 2013

The Council have been lucky that in the intervening period the City has enjoyed relatively mild winters.

We can’t expect that to continue.

Time to get salt bins repaired and filled

A quick check of the salt bins in the Westfield area yesterday revealed that most have salt in them. In some cases this has been left over from previous years – last winter was particularly mild.

Most had been used as litter bins and several had been vandalised with the lid hinges broken in many cases.

The Council promised to complete a review of it’s salt bins in September but nothing seems to have come of this. No attempt was made during the summer to recover the bins for maintenance. We hope the new Council will order that the bins be refurbished in the spring.

In the meantime – before we get the inevitable snow – the litter needs to be removed and the bins topped up where necessary.

A map of the location of salt bins in York can be accessed by clicking here

Empty and damaged salt bin on Dijon Avenue still not relocated away from former school entrance

Empty and damaged salt bin on Dijon Avenue still not relocated away from former school entrance

Salt bin on Tennent Road empty

Salt bin on Tennent Road empty

Kingsway West salt bin empty

Kingsway West salt bin empty

Hinges broken on Askham Grove bin

Hinges broken on Askham Grove bin

Rubbish in salt bin in Kingsthorpe

Rubbish in salt bin in Kingsthorpe

Spindle Close - full of rubbish

Spindle Close – full of rubbish

Dumping on the Cornlands Road park has been reported

Dumping on the Cornlands Road park has been reported



Ice brings first test for Councils new gritting policy

The reduced frequency of gritting (salting) on York’s roads – introduced in 2013 but not really tested last year because of the mild winter – will be under scrutiny for the next few weeks.Snow in York

Several roads – including the 26 bus route and the Green Lane access to Hob Moor school – were taken off the de-icing schedule.

Other public services are also suffering from neglect with large volumes of fallen leaves still on roads and footpaths, and the arrival of ice could make conditions lethal for elderly pedestrians and cyclists.

Many salt bins also still require maintenance.

Accident levels will also be under close scrutiny.

The Council has now said that it will cut the costs of running its “Cabinet” and put the savings into “winter maintenance”.

But this (welcome) initiative looks to be a case of “too little, too late”.

Icy weather coming – “sort out the salt bins and gritting routes” say LibDems

Council salt bin location map click

Council salt bin location map click

A high priority for the new “balanced” York Council should be to sort out its winter maintenance programmes

The City was very fortunate last year when warm weather persisted for virtually the whole of the winter.

We would lucky if this happened for a second year.

One of the most unpopular cuts made by York’s Labour Council was the removal of many salt bins.

Salt bins filled with rubbish

Salt bins filled with rubbish

Most of the bins had been provided by ward committees following a ballot of residents priorities. Local residents are often the best qualified to identify footpaths which are vulnerable to icing.

Some of the bins subsequently seemed to escape the cull. Some even still have salt in them.

However, the salt bin location map shown on the York Councils web site is inaccurate. It shows bins that have been removed from the Foxwood Lane estate while failing to identify those that exist in the Linnet Way and Teal Drive areas (at least).

Biggest scandal remains the removal of bins from the Front Street/Acomb Green area. Gradients there make access particularly difficult for the many elderly people who need to get to key services in the village.

In other areas, some carriageways have been excluded from the gritting schedules despite the roads being on bus service routes.

All in all, there is a need for a review of the system before the snow arrives.

The Council could make a start by clearing the existing salt bins of rubbish and refilling those that need it.

Mildest winter on record but Labour overspend ice clearance budget in York!

No winter maintenance

New figures reveal that Labour run York Council overspent this year’s winter maintenance budget despite it being one of the mildest winters on record.

The council’s 2013/14 winter budget, which funds gritting and salt bins, was £107,000 in the red despite the city seeing no significant snowfall or prolonged frosts this winter. This has led to concerns that recent cuts by Labour have left the budget dangerously low and if next winter sees more typical weather there will be major disruption in York.

Labour has cut the winter maintenance budget every year since coming to power in 2011, and last year took 30 miles of road off the priority gritting list while cutting two-thirds of the city’s salt bins.

Cllr Ann Reid, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Environmental Services, commented:

“It is extraordinary that despite it being the fifth mildest winter since national records began the Labour Council has still overspent its budget.

“Cuts by Labour have reduced gritting routes and salt bins across York and therefore reduced the city’s capacity to cope with bad weather. If we have a more typical winter next year then the budget is just not there to ensure roads and paths are gritted and residents are kept safe.

“Liberal Democrat budget plans called for an extra £30,000 to be put into winter services and an extra £500,000 to be given to communities for local priorities such as extra salt bins or gritting. This would ensure that the resource was there to cope with bad weather.

“Labour got lucky this winter. However, the policy of spending money on city-centre vanity projects like Kings Square instead of on frontline services like gritting roads will catch-up with them.”


Road and path de-icing cuts – crunch meeting on 21st October.

The Council’s review committee will meet on Monday 21st October to look again at Labour Councillor Levene’s plans to cut de-icing activities.

Revised gritting proposals click to see larger map

Revised gritting proposals click to see larger map

He decided last week to scrap most salt bins in the City and remove many roads from the routine gritting schedules.

This is a major issue which potentially affects the safety of all York residents.

The meeting will take place at West Offices starting at 5:00pm

A copy of the agenda and supporting papers can be found by clicking here

Damaged salt bin Cornlands Road

Damaged salt bin Cornlands Road

Residents may also attend and speak at the meeting. To do so you must register to speak before the meeting by contacting Jill Pickering on York 552061 (E-mail :

The deadline for registering is 5.00pm on Friday 18 October 2013.

The telephone numbers and Email addresses of the members of the committee are reproduced below. Residents can contact them to make representations

Councillor John Galvin Chair (Conservative) 01904 704829 Email:

Councillor Sandy Fraser (Labour) 01904 651443 Email:

Councillor David Horton (Labour) 01904 777274 Email:

Councillor Lynn Jeffries (LibDem) 01904 551088 Email:

Councillor Ken King (Labour) 01904 783024 Email:

Councillor Neil McIlveen (Labour) 01904 623062 Email:

Councillor Ruth Potter (Labour) Phone: 01904 438634. Mobile: 07947 539725 Email:

Councillor Carol Runciman (LibDem) 01904 764356 Email:

Councillor Chris Steward (Conservative) 01904 638810 Bus. email: