Keeping warm in winter

City of York Council says that it is is supporting Public Health England’s Cold Weather Plan which looks at ways of reducing unnecessary deaths and illness this winter.

click to access

click to access

That’s a bit rich coming from a Council that has just decided to scrap 2/3 of the city’s self help salt bins and take around 30 miles of road off the gritting schedules.

Alternative view

They say that there are between 2000 and 2500 excess winter deaths each year in Yorkshire and Humber, many of which are preventable. The Cold Weather Plan aims to prevent avoidable harm to people’s health by highlighting the negative health effects cold weather can have whilst enabling people to prepare and respond appropriately.


“Adopt a salt bin” scheme proposed in York

The names of the 5 Labour Councillors who voted on Monday to scrap most of the “self help” salt bins in the City have been published.

They include 3 Councillors who were parachuted in by the Labour Leadership to replace members who had refused to take part in the highly unpopular decision.

The five Councillors were:

S Burton (Westfield) Substitute
N McIlveen (Rawcliffe)
R Potter (Heworth)
J Riches (Holgate) Substitute
N Barnes (Hull Road) Substitute

They endorsed the cuts which were originally proposed by Cllr Levene (Heslington)

The Council have now said that residents groups may “adopt a salt bin” if they feel that it serves a particular need in their area.

As the salt bins (which cost £300) to provide) already exist, the residents groups would “only” need to find around £50 a time to have each filled.

Contact the following Email address if you want to “adopt a salt


If it is a mild winter, then one fill might be enough.

Another alternative might be to use a private contractor to keep the bins filled.

We have mixed feeling about the scheme which could discriminate against deprived areas.

However it has the advantage of keeping the bins on the streets so that, after Labour inevitably lose control of the Council in 2015, normal winter maintenance services can be resumed quickly by the new Council.

These are the 15 salt bins in the Dringhouses and Woodthorpe Ward that the Council propose to remove. They are:

Labour force through winter service cuts by just 1 vote

Labour have forced through plans to cut salt bins and gritting routes in York despite opposition from residents, community groups and local councillors.

Ann Reid with local salt bin

Ann Reid with local salt bin

Earlier this month, Labour run City of York Council decided to cut two-thirds of salt bins and remove nearly 30 miles of roads from priority gritting routes, including on bus routes. Liberal Democrat Councillors Ann Reid, Nigel Ayre and Keith Aspden ‘called-in’ the decision for further review. However, at a special meeting of York’s Corporate and Scrutiny Management Committee last night, Labour used their majority to push through the controversial proposals by 5 votes to 4.

At the meeting, the Lib Dems tabled an alternative set of plans which would have safeguarded salt bins at schools, elderly people’s homes, sheltered housing and community hubs such as local shops and libraries. It also said all bus routes should be on the priority gritting routes; community groups should be consulted before any salt bin is cut; and it called on the Labour Cabinet to review its decision to carry out an online only consultation on the cuts. These alternative plans were defeated by Labour.

Speaking at the meeting Cllr Ann Reid, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Environmental Services, said Labour’s plans were “flawed” and “a substantial number of areas will be left without a regular gritting regime, leading to access problems for public transport and to schools in icy weather”.

She criticised the Labour Cabinet for prioritising schemes such as buying an Arts Barge over delivering frontline services, adding:

“It is a matter of priorities where budgets are spent. It is easy for the Labour administration to blame Government cuts; however, they are still able to find resources for pet projects while street level services like salt bins and gritting, which people pay their council tax for, are cut”.

The proposals have met with fierce opposition from local people with 1,000 residents signing a Lib Dem petition against the cuts. Meanwhile, Kingsway Area Residents’ Association recently said that the plans could see elderly and disabled people trapped in their homes this winter.

It expected that salt bins will start to be removed from the streets of York in the next couple of weeks.

Details of the meeting and decision can be found here:

The Lib Dem proposal, tabled by Cllr Carol Runciman and defeated 5 votes to 4, was as follows:


Crunch winter safety meeting on Monday 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:

Call for rethink on de-icing cut

Leaking salt bin

Leaking salt bin

Liberal Democrats have called on Labour to rethink plans that would see two-thirds of salt bins in York lost and gritting routes across the city cut.

The decision to cut the winter maintenance service was taken by Labour’s Cabinet Member for Environmental Services on Wednesday despite the opposition of local residents and concerns over the online only public consultation.

Lib Dem Councillors Ann Reid, Nigel Ayre and Keith Aspden have ‘called-in’ the decision for further review and the proposals are now set to be reconsidered at a special meeting of York’s Corporate and Scrutiny Management Committee later this month.


Levene backs cuts to de-icing safety arrangements.

Labour have agreed to slash the amount of road and footpath de-icing which will take place this winter.

Several hundred objections from residents were over-ruled today by Councillor Levene who was first elected in only 2011 and who made no attempt to address the many concerns that had been raised.



Nearly 2/3 of the salt bins, put on the streets at the request of residents, will be scrapped.

Many roads – including those that are bus routes – will not now be routinely pre-salted.

The Council is being reckless with the safety of residents and is gambling that we will have a mild winter.

A repeat of the severe weather seen in 2009 and 20010 could bring parts of the City to a halt.

The implications for elderly and disabled residents are even more alarming.

When salt bins are removed from vital streets like Front Street, there is a real danger that many will be trapped in their homes …potentially for days or even weeks.

This is a shortsighted decision which Labour will come to regret.

The decision will be called in by Liberal Democrat Councillors who will refer the matter to an all party review committee.

We will let you know when the meeting is arranged.

Large number of objections to Councils planned de-icing cut

Ice fallThe Council has now published a full list of the written objections that have been made to the Council’s plans to cut “winter maintenance” activities.

They can be found by clicking here.

In the main the objections have come from residents, and their representatives, living on the west of the city.

They include petitions containing over 250 signatures.

The full agenda for tomorrows meeting, which is open to the press and public, can be found by clicking here

“Keep the bus routes on gritting schedule” says Dringhouses Councillor.

Ann Reid with local salt bin

Ann Reid with local salt bin

Pressure is growing on Labour Councillors to agree to continue to de-ice all bus routes during the coming winter.

Cllr Ann Reid has submitted comprehensive representations to tomorrows decision meeting.

A copy of all the written representations should be available on the Councils web site shortly. Click here.

Residents wishing to attend and speak at the meeting have only got until 5:00pm today (Tuesday) to register to do so. Telephone – (01904) 552062 Laura Bootland.

The Council has confirmed the list of salt bin sites that will be retained if their proposals go ahead. Around 2/3 of the existing bins are scheduled to be scrapped.

Click here to download a full list of those that will remain.

Residents survey cites poor highway maintenance as York’s biggest public service problem.

York residents survey results click to enlarge

York residents survey results click to enlarge

A survey completed by over 400 residents living in the west of York has revealed that highways and footpath maintenance are now the biggest cause for complaint.

73% thought that road and footpath maintenance had got worse in the City over the last 2 years.

The service was followed closely by ice clearance which 69% thought had got worse.

This is bad news for the Labour Council as the response come before the latest set of cuts to winter maintenance are implemented.

Parking provision was criticised by 65% with the large increases in parking charges introduced by the Labour Council likely to be the main influencing factor.

More than 50% of respondents also thought that litter, control of dogs, refuse collection and weed removal had got worse.

Only crime prevention fared relatively well, with 66% saying that the quality of the service was unchanged

The survey results will add pressure on the Council to support additional investment in street level public services at its meeting on Thursday.

Street level public service standards – plea to York Council next Thursday.

The York Council at a meeting next week will be asked to jettison its prestige expenditure plans and return to a more sensible economic policy.

Weeds need strimming at end of Ridgeway

Weeds need strimming at end of Ridgeway

A motion being put forward by the Liberal Democrats condemns deteriorating roads, footpaths and increasing litter as well as plans to reduce de icing services in winter.

It says that Labour’s decision to scrap the “York Pride” maintenance programmes means that many areas are now strewn with weeds and detritus.

Carriageway failed in Vesper Drive

Carriageway failed in Vesper Drive

Recent rain highlighted the impact that Labours decision to end the routine cleaning of gullies (road drains) is already having.

Meanwhile a rather disingenuous motion from Labour Cllr Burton, seeks to justify the bill for York staging the start of just one Tour de France stage.

The cost to taxpayers is already in excess of £1.5 million and rising.

The Labour backed motion says that any income to the Council from the event should be allocate to improve basic service standards.

It fails however to say that the income from a few hot dog stands is unlikely to make much difference.

The cost of the repairs back log on the City’s roads and footpaths alone now stands at over £20 million.

The Liberal Democrat motion reads