Gulley cleaning halved by York Council

Gulley cleaning

Labour run York Council has confirmed that it has reduced by nearly half the number of times that drainage gulleys are cleaned in the City.

In 2010/11, the last year of Liberal Democrat control of the council, there were 38,000 gulley cleans. In 2013/14, after cuts by Labour in 2012, this was reduced to 20,664. The reduction has been blamed for increasing problems with so-called ponding and minor flooding on some local streets. Labour has cut the budget for gulley cleaning by £100,000 or 40% since coming to power, and reduced frontline staff.

Cllr Ann Reid, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Environmental Services who challenged the Labour Cabinet Member responsible at July’s meeting of York’s Full Council, commented:

“The halving of gulley cleaning is another example of Labour’s cuts to basic frontline services in York. The issue is not glamorous and there are few photo opportunities in it for Labour councillors, but it is a basic council service which matters to local residents.

“I know last autumn and winter particularly there were incidents of flooding on local roads as water was not draining away properly. Regular cleaning of the road gullies helps stop this by ensuring that they efficiently drain water off the road surface and minimise the pressure on the drains. This is not happening due to Labour’s cuts.

“Labour should stop wasting money on city-centre vanity projects and restore funding to basic services for residents like street and gulley cleaning, grass cutting, litter bins and tackling potholes.”

NB Problems caused by inadequate gulley cleaning have been blamed for issues across York, including in Fulford last September when a blocked drain outside the ‘Sir John Hunt Memorial Homes’ caused considerable disruption. Please find attached a photo of Fulford Councillor Keith Aspden at the scene.

Cllr Reid asked the following question at July’s Full Council:

(xxii) To the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Planning and Sustainability from Cllr Reid:

“How many Full Time Equivalent (FTE) staff did the council have working on gulley cleaning in each of the last 4 years, how many vehicles are used for this purpose, and how many and what proportion of gullies were/are routinely cleaned in each year since 2010?”


·         2010-2011, 4 no  FTE, approx 38000 scheduled gully cleans

·         2011-2012, 4 no  FTE, approx 39000 scheduled gully cleans

·         2012-2013, 4 no FTE, approx 20664 scheduled gully cleans

·         2013 -2014, 2 no FTE on 8 + 8 hour shift system rotation, approx 20664 scheduled gully cleans