Liberal Democrat Councillors have successfully persuaded the ruling Conservatives at Herts County Council to give a commitment to replacing thousands of trees that have been removed from highways.
In a report, the Council's Highways and Transport Panel revealed that 4,494 trees had been removed from highways in the period 2018- 2021 but only 1,040 had been planted meaning a deficit of 3,455.
Following pressure from the Liberal Democrats the Conservatives agreed to replace as many of the lost trees as possible where the location is suitable.
Cllr John Hale, who pressed for the need to replace highways' trees said, "A large number of trees have been removed and very few have been replaced. I am pleased that the council has now agreed that more should be done to replace trees along our roads. Trees serve an important environmental purpose and should be replaced whenever possible."
Group Leader, Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst said, "Urban street trees improve the street scene and contribute significantly towards reducing Co2 emissions in key pedestrian areas."
Herts County Council has refused to consider remarking any pedestrian crossings in Rainbow colours as a way of supporting and highlighting the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community in Herts.
Opposition Liberal Democrat Councillors had proposed that the council follow the example of other Highways Authorities that have introduced 'Rainbow' or 'Progress Pride' crossings as a permanent way to celebrate LGBTQ+ communities and diversity.
'Progress Pride' crossings with rainbow colours and chevrons show respect for trans and non-binary people, people of colour and those living with HIV/AIDS. It would show our respect for the diversity of Hertfordshire, claimed Cllr Sara Bedford in a motion she submitted to the Council.
Rainbow crossings have been introduced in several authorities in the UK in recent years however Conservative run Hertfordshire County Council has now rejected the idea.
In a report to the Highways and Transport Panel, officers confirmed that Rainbow Crossings are legal, but indicated that they had not discussed with councils who had introduced them to see how this was done.
Liberal Democrat Leader, Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst, who is also Deputy Leader of Three Rivers Council which is introducing a Rainbow crossing on its own land said, " The officer approach was disappointing. They refused to discuss the matter with councils that have successfully introduced these as part of renewing normal crossings. They had the information from Three Rivers that it could cost as little as £1,300 per crossing. It is unfortunate that the opportunity to show wider support for our diverse community in this way was rejected by the Conservatives."
However Liberal Democrat councillors won a concession from the ruling Tories when they agreed that the Rainbow displays and the Pride Flag could be included in any subway refurbishment if supported by the local community.
Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst said, "It's a step in the right direction, but I had wanted more. We will be pushing this forward and holding the Tories to their words that they will not veto this if the opportunity arises."
Opposition Liberal Democrat Councillors have hit out at an over complex set of rules that the Conservative administration agreed at Tuesday's Highways and Transport meeting. There will now be significant delays bringing in any new 20 mph speed zones.
From now on, any areas that residents want considered for a 20mph speed limit will need to be assessed against a Speed Management Strategy, a Place and Movement Matrix, have on-site visits and maybe speed checks before the consultation stage can even begin.
At the meeting, under questioning from Lib Dem Group Leader Stephen Giles-Medhurst, officers admitted that the process will mean that the earliest any new 20mph restrictions can now be implemented will likely be the end of 2022 or early 2023.
The Liberal Democrats proposed an alternative approach, backed by Hertfordshire's 20's Plenty Campaign group, to adopt a default Speed Management Strategy of a 20 mph limit on side roads. They argued this would support the government's objective of sustainable travel by making roads safer for walkers and cyclists.
Their proposal was voted down by the Conservatives.
Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst said, "Only a very small percentage of Herts roads are 20 mph despite campaigns from residents for many more. With just 953 20mph roads in Herts, many schools still have 30mph roads outside them. We have one the lowest numbers of 20mph roads in the country with Kent CC having over 2,300.
A combination of a shortage of lorry drivers resulting from Brexit, an increase in waste during the pandemic and a lack of long term planning has left Herts County Council struggling to deal with the household waste that is collected across the county. The problems were revealed in a report to the council's Environment Cabinet panel and mean that the council's main waste transfer facility at Waterdale north of Watford has been under great pressure to cope with volumes of waste.
Conservatives are failing, across all levels of government, to deliver on promises to deliver sustainable transport solutions in Hertfordshire.
Hertfordshire Lib Dems have learned that a £1bn infrastructure funding gap, to provide services and support for the expected 100,000 extra homes the Conservative government are demanding we build in Hertfordshire, is almost entirely made up from underfunded sustainable transport projects.
Herts County Council has announced that it is changing the fuel used by its fire engines and other fire service vehicles but has missed the opportunity to cut their carbon emissions. The change is from diesel to "gas-to-liquid" (GTL) fuel, which the council says is cheaper than switching to electric vehicles, will cut NOx emissions but do little for CO2 emissions since GTL is a fossil fuel made from natural gas.
The statistics on Adult Social Care in England for August 2021 show clearly that the government continues to leave the care sector exposed with the statistics for August 2021 showing :-
There were 14,660 positive Covid tests among care home staff in the four weeks to July 27, triple the 4,552 positive tests recorded among care home staff in June, analysis of figures from the Department of Health and Social Care have revealed.
The figures are the highest since the pandemic was surging during the second wave in February of this year.
2,047 care home residents tested positive in the four weeks to July 27, up from 596 the previous month.
The figures also show 78% of staff in care homes have now received two doses of the vaccine, while 93.5% of care home residents have received both doses.
Opposition Liberal Democrat Councillors have hit out over Herts County Council policies on providing electric vehicle charge points as totally lacking vision and unambitious.
Herts County is proposing to only allow for on road chargers in limited circumstances creating a two-tier system.
Liberal Democrat councillors tried to get the council to agree to allow their installation in residential streets which lack off road parking using, where feasible, existing street furniture. They were voted down by the ruling Conservatives.
Travellers Lane, between Southway and Oxlease Roundabouts is in an atrocious state. It needs resurfacing urgently. Originally due for resurfacing in 2021/22 financial year, the resurfacing job was cut in Feb 2020 by the Conservative administration at Hertfordshire County Council. The job is now listed for financial year 2022/23.
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