Expansion of York’s Air Quality Management Area

York’s city centre Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) has been expanded, after a decision was taken to include Coppergate.  This comes after a recent presentation of York’s Annual Air Quality Status Report, which commends the Council’s successful approach to tackling poor air quality.

In a decision taken by Lib Dem Cllr Andrew Waller at his Environment Decision Session on 1 October, Coppergate will now be included in the city centre’s AQMA in order to tackle air pollution from diesel vehicles in the area and maintain progress in improving the city’s air quality. Time had been allowed since last year’s decision session on the annual review of Air Quality to see if the enforcement of the bus lane had a positive impact on air pollution levels.

Cllr Waller with staff from Amey on Clean Air Day 2018

As part of the decision session, it was also decided to retain the Fulford AQMA for a further 12 months, despite NO2 in the area remaining below the Council’s health bases objectives.  This is to ensure that Fulford’s air quality is monitored in view of future nearby developments in the city.

At the meeting, Cllr Waller asked for future reports on how the new traffic lights systems and charging points for electric cars especially for people living in terraced areas can be delivered to make further improvements.

The decisions come as the Annual Air Quality Report highlights consistent improvement in York’s air quality, when compared to the previous years.  The Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) even added that:

‘The Council are taking exceptional steps and effort to actively tackle air quality within the city and the success of this approach is reflected in their results.’

Cllr Andrew Waller, Liberal Democrat Executive Member for Environment, commented:

“It is good to see that our approach has had such an impact in improving the city’s air quality and that it has been recognised by DEFRA.  I would like to thank the officers involved for their hard work in achieving this progress, however, we all accept that more work needs to be done to continue these improvements and ensure that future developments do not reverse our position.”

“The importance of ‘good’ Air Quality cannot be understated and we must continue to maintain these improvements through the use of our AQMA’s. We will continue to monitor in the Salisbury Terrace area”

“There is more public interest in particulates and unlike other authorities, York measures these, so we know the PM10 and PM2.5 levels at hotspots. Particulates will continue to be reported annually with the World Health Organisation and EU guidelines.”

“Looking further down the line, as we work to create the UK’s first voluntary Clean Air Zone, York will continue to lead the line in the fight to tackle poor air quality, with a report coming later this year to the Executive following the public consultation.”

For further information on the AQMA decisions that were made, or for more information on the Air Quality Annual Status Report, please visit: http://democracy.york.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?MId=10835&x=1.

Call for answers on Balloon Festival fiasco

Local Lib Dem councillors are demanding answers to why the Balloon Festival on the Knavesmire held from 28 to 30 September led to gridlock on local roads.

Nose to tail traffic jams and inconsiderate and illegal parking meant that many residents were trapped in their homes, or were unable to get back home. Buses were also stuck, leading to lengthy delays.

Dringhouses & Woodthorpe Cllr Stephen Fenton has asked Make it York to explain why the volume of traffic was not foreseen, what traffic management plans were in operation, and why there were no Police or stewards in evidence.

Information provided by council officers in recent days has confirmed that a traffic management plan such as the one used for race meetings was not considered appropriate for the event, due to the extended and flexible arrival and departure times.

Council officials are to meet with Make it York, the Police and the Festival organisers on 3 October to look at what went wrong and what lessons can be learned.

Councillor Fenton commented  “I saw for myself what happened on Tadcaster Road and surrounding streets on Saturday afternoon. It was a chaotic, and at times dangerous situation.

There were numerous examples of illegal parking, like here on Ainsty Grove

“Both local residents and visitors to the event were badly let down. When word of the £5 parking fee spread, many visitors seemed to decide to park in residential streets off Tadcaster Road, leading to chaos in many streets.

Irresponsible parking meant that the exit from Whin Road onto Bracken Road was blocked

“The event organisers need to take their share of responsibility and explain why they put in place the parking arrangements that they did, and why they did not do more to promote the use of Park & Ride.

“There is absolutely no way that this event should go ahead next year on this site unless plans are put in place – and publicised to visitors and communicated to residents and local councillors – that will avoid a repeat.”

 

Residents volunteer for street tidy-up

Residents of Gower Road joined local Lib Dem councillor Stephen Fenton for a ‘tidy-up’ session on the afternoon of Sunday 23 September.

City of York Council loaned some ‘half moon’ edging tools which were used to cut back grass verges which had started to grow over the footpath.

Any residents who would like to take part in similar tidy-up sessions on their street should contact Stephen to arrange for the loan of some tools.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Save Askham Bog! Open Day on Saturday 15 September

On Saturday 15th September from 10am to 3pm there is an Open Day at Askham Bog, hosted by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

There’ll be activities for all the family including guided nature walks and pond dipping.

It’s part of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s drive to raise awareness of the importance of this nature reserve, and gather support for the campaign to oppose proposals that would see 500 homes built on land off Moor Lane next to the Bog.

Cllr Stephen Fenton met with representatives from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust at the Bog on Friday 14 September and pledged his support for the campaign.

You can find out more about the campaign Here

Action to tackle Askham Bar flytipping

Local Lib Dem councillor Stephen Fenton is leading efforts to tackle flytipping at the recycling banks at the Askham Bar Tesco car park.

There are persistent problems with household waste being dumped here, and there is an accumulation of litter around the recycling banks. The popularity of the clothes and shoes recycling banks has also led to bags of donations being dumped next to the full bins.

Dumping at Yorkshire Air Ambulance clothing banks

Household waste flytipped

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On 20 August Stephen arranged a meeting on site with representatives from Yorwaste, City of York Council and Tesco to discuss the problems and what can be done to improve the situation. Actions arising from the meeting included checking on the frequency of emptying recycling banks which are sometimes overflowing, and exploring options for more proactive enforcement to increase the chances of catching flytippers.

It was noted that the return of the second cardboard bank has helped to improve matters in recent weeks.

Stephen commented  “There are many parties involved in the maintenance and management of this site – for example, a range of different companies are responsible for emptying the variety of banks. It was good to get some of the key players together to discuss the problems and try to come up with a plan.

“It’s important that when flytipping is spotted, the council’s Neighbourhood Enforcement Team is notified via neo@york.gov.uk or tel. 01904 551555. They can then look for evidence which will help to identify the cuplrit.”

Stephen has made contact with two of the companies responsible for emptying the donation banks for Yorkshire Air Ambulance (clothes) and Variety Club (shoes) following a build-up of donations piled up against the bins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The response from both firms was positive. SOEX UK Ltd, which manages the shoe bank, confirmed that it will take steps to ensure that it is emptied every Tuesday. Bag It Up Ltd, which manages the clothes bank, stated that they are looking into these issues and tweaking schedules to get on top of any sites that have overflow issues.

Stephen said “I’m pleased with the quick response from the firms that look after the clothing and shoe banks, and their commitment to action. If any residents want to donate but find that the banks are full, please take the bags home and do not dump them next to the bins.”

Views sought on Highmoor Road parking options

Over recent months local Lib Dem councillors have been working with council officers to try to come up with possible solutions to help ease parking issues on Highmoor Road.

Vehicles parked opposite the entrance to Highmoor Close can make it difficult for large vehicles to get in and out, which has led to damage being done to the grass verges on the corners.

An initial idea was to create a parking bay in the verge outside the flats, similar to the one outside the flats on Wains Road. There are however utilities in the verge which would need to be diverted if tarmac was laid on the verge, which would be prohibitively expensive.

Residents are now being asked to have their say about three possible options.

Option 1 

Option 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This would provide 10 parking spaces aligned parallel to the boundary wall. Because this uses most of the lawned area, it requires a large area to allow vehicles to manoeuvre and to exit in a forward direction. This whole area would need to be converted to the EcoGrid construction.

Example of EcoGrid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The proposal would also require the provision of 2 wide vehicular crossings from Highmoor Road to allow access and exit from the parking area. Due to the extensive area needing to be provided, and the wider crossings, the cost of this option would be around £40,000.

There are various options available, eg this could be reduced to 5 spaces thereby considerably reducing the area of EcoGrid and hence the overall cost. We have concerns about the feasibility of this option because the paths down to flats 10 & 12 and 26 & 28 would be removed.

Option 2

Option 2 (map should say 6, not 8, spaces)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This option allows for 6 spaces, requiring the installation of 275m² of EcoGrid and a 4.5m wide vehicle crossing off Highmoor Road into the parking area. The cost of this option is around £27,500.

The access path to the front door would need to be removed / relocated to a more suitable position, but a shorter section of the front boundary wall will need to be removed compared to Option 1.

The option does result in the need for only one vehicular access, at a more conventional width.

Option 3

Option 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This option allows for 4 spaces, requiring the installation of 140m² of EcoGrid and a 4.5m wide vehicle crossing off Highmoor Road into the parking area. The cost of this option is around £19,000.

The access path to the front door would need to be removed / relocated to a more suitable position and a short section of the front boundary wall removed.

The fourth option is to do nothing and leave the lawned area in front of the flats as it is.

Residents are invited to send comments on the options to Cllr Stephen Fenton at cllr.sfenton@york.gov.uk or call 01904 787988.

Summer activity sessions come to an end

A successful series of free activity sessions for young people, run by the York City Knights Foundation, have come to an end.

Skate park sessions and inflatable obstacle courses were some of the activities provided during the easter, spring and summer holidays, paid for from the Dringhouses & Woodthorpe and Westfield ward committee budgets.

Skate park session on the Revival estate

Fun on Woodthorpe Green

Local Lib Dem councillors would like to hear from residents about what they thought went well, and what could be done differently in terms of activity sessions in the future.

Car park ‘deep clean’ needed in Woodthorpe

Local Lib Dem councillors are in discussions with McColls to try to get a much-needed deep clean of the larger of the two car parks to the rear of the Moorcroft Road shops.

The car park, which McColls has responsibility for, is in a very untidy state, with weeds, brambles and overgrown vegetation gradually taking over the perimeter, and major issues with litter and dumping. There is also a black Peugeot car which has been there for sometime, and appears to have been abandoned – the tax expired in April, two of the tyres are flat and one of the headlights is smashed.

Weeds and litter

Abandoned?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cllr Stephen Fenton has met on site with the McColls area manager to discuss a plan of action, starting with McColls instructing their property management team to undertake a thorough deep clean of the car park. Stephen has also approached DVLA about the abandoned car – as it is on private land, there is nothing that the council can do.

Another concern is the seemingly increasing use of the car park as a ‘park & ride’ car park, with people parking up and getting the bus into town. This reduces the parking spaces available to shoppers and those visiting the nearby doctors and dentists surgeries. Stephen discussed with McColls the possibility of erecting some ‘Customer Only Parking’ signs to deter long stay parking.