Advice on what to do with recycling over Christmas

Real Christmas Trees
Our crews will collect most real Christmas trees from houses if they are put out for collection with green garden waste bins before the end of January 2018. If you live in a flat and have a tree, please take it to your local Household Waste and Recycling Centre instead. Alternatively, some garden centres, including Ayletts, will collect your tree for a small fee.

Wrapping paper and Christmas cards
Put paper and cards in your kerbside paper box after removing any ribbons and bows first. If you live in a flat use your communal paper bin.

Food waste
Food waste is collected weekly. Just put it out for collection in your kerbside caddy. Or if you are living in a flat, place it in your communal food bin. Food waste collected in this way will be turned into renewable energy and nutrient-rich biofertiliser. Please remember you no longer have to use compostable liners in your food caddy due to the way that food waste is treated. You can continue to use biodegradable or paper bags or switch to bin liners (not black), carrier bags, bread bags or paper wrappings.

Cardboard
Flatten your cardboard and remove all plastic first before recycling it. If you live in a house, place the cardboard in your paper recycling box or underneath it securely. If you live in a flat, put your cardboard in your communal paper and card bin in the recycling area.

Plastic, foil, cans and glass bottles
Put all of these items in your black recycling bin, or in your recycling box in some areas. If you live in a flat, put them in the labelled bin in your communal recycling area. Please squash all plastic bottles.

Used stamps
Some charities take donations of used stamps, including first, second and overseas stamps, to raise funds. They include Oxfam and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). Details are available on their websites.

Christmas collection dates

Remember that your collection day will change over Christmas and the New Year festive period. Details are available on the Council’s website at: www.stalbans.gov.uk/bincollection. Also look out for your 2018 collection calendar being delivered to homes in December.

New Year clear out

If you are having a New Year clear out, then put small electrical items and old clothes for collection in separate carrier bags next to your bins. Larger electrical items can be taken to your local Household Waste and Recycling Centre . A bulky waste collection is available for £45 for up to 6 items. For more information about this, see: http://www.stalbans.gov.uk/bulkywaste.

Snow bulletin from Herts CC last night

HCC staff have been working hard to respond to the level of snow that Hertfordshire is currently experiencing and there have been meetings held during the day to monitor the situation, review services and determine any action that needs to be taken to ensure that we are maintaining the highest possible levels of service to residents.

The snow has had a severe impact on the road networks, and I understand you have been receiving update emails during the day on the actions being undertaken in respect of gritting the roads.  A further run took place at 7 pm and there will be another at 4 am.

More snow is expected until around 2 am with temperatures dropping below zero and then sleet and rain expected at around 9 am.

Herts Fire and Rescue Service have been responding to incidents, and are coordinating the volunteer network of 4×4 drivers as part of our adverse weather plans. These incredible volunteers have been busy all day transporting patients being discharged from hospitals, rescue stranded cars (when considered safe to do so) and supporting social care colleagues if transport is required urgently.

Adult Care Services have been able to maintain their 7 day service today with all staff travelling to their hospital workbase.  Service providers have triggered their own snow plans and, as at 5.00 pm, were not reporting any major issues.  If there are any issues regarding service delivery tomorrow, providers will be prioritising time critical calls and requesting that family and friends support non-critical calls wherever possible.  Managers are preparing for tomorrow to look to ensure patient discharges are being managed effectively.

Over 350 schools have advised that they are going to be closed on Monday, and further notifications are likely to come in during the night and early morning. (more…)

Give councillors a say on highways contract extension, urge Lib Dems

MPs are seemingly getting more of a say on Brexit than local councillors on highways matters, say Hertfordshire Lib Dems, after their motion to allow for councillor-led scrutiny of the highways contract was quashed by the Conservatives at full council earlier this week.

Liberal Democrat County Councillors slammed the Conservative-run council’s plans to award a five year extension to contractor Ringway worth £250m before agreeing the terms of improvements needed. The contract extension follows considerable and continued complaints from residents about poor highways performance.

(more…)

Heartless Herts Valleys CCG pulls the plug on Nascot Lawn

Yesterday the Herts Valleys CCG made the appalling announcement that they had confirmed their previous decision to withdraw their £600,000 annual support for Nascot Lawn children’s respite care home.

Cynically they claim their decision was taken because the County Council had failed to engage with them in looking for a workable way forward when it has been their failure to engage from the outset that has caused this dreadful situation to occur. What have they been doing for the last six weeks during the engagement process? The one glimmer of hope is that their funding has to continue for a further six months, which provides a desperately short period of opportunity for a viable respite service to be formed. In the meantime, the families face a bleak future with no idea how they and their vulnerable children will receive respite care.

Liberal Democrat County Councillor Mark Watkin, Opposition Spokesperson for Children’s Services, and in whose Division Nascot Lawn is located, commented: “I am so saddened and angry by the failure of the CCG to look for a viable way forward. We know that they are facing a massive financial challenge, but simply pulling the financial plug and hoping that others will provide the solution is disgraceful. The county council must now sit down with the CCG and the families with one aim only – to find a solution that will deliver the respite care that these families need and deserve.”

Councillor Peter Taylor, Deputy Mayor of Watford, commented: “I am so upset for the families who will be affected by this decision. They have fought an amazing campaign to save this much-loved centre and remained incredibly positive throughout. It is now vital that all sides work together to support the children and families who currently use Nascot Lawn.”

Joint action between Herts CC and SADC at last

St Albans City & District Council has joined forces with Hertfordshire Highways to carry out street cleansing and highways repairs within roads that are heavily parked. Confirmation of the TTRO permits for the date and roads listed below came through yesterday so I needed to deliver letters to all residents today. (Copy of letter attached)

Brampton Road – 15.11.17

In additional to these roads work is also planned for Cavendish Road and Alboin Road but as yet dates and permits have not been issued.  As soon as we have these I will write again.

Police and Crime Commissioner spends your taxes on more admin staff rather than police officers

Liberal Democrat County Councillors were astounded when they were told today (8th November) that the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, David Lloyd, intends to employ an additional 20-30 administrative staff instead of funding more police posts.

County Councillors on the Community Safety and Waste Management Cabinet Panel heard a report from Colin Woodward, a County representative on the Police and Crime Panel (the body that is supposed to hold the commissioner to account), that David Lloyd planned to employ the coach-load of administrators to ‘help him do his job’.

Paul Zukowskyj, Opposition Deputy Leader and Lib Dem councillor for Hatfield South, commented: “Having presided over the loss of hundreds of police staff since he was first elected, to require now more admin staff to do the job he was elected to do is laughable.

“We’ve seen recruitment to the police plummet; in some areas over half of posts are vacant. Morale in the remaining staff is at an all time low, crime has started to rise as the force is stretched ever thinner, but our PCC needs more admin staff and is willing to spend your taxes on that rather than on police officers.

“Our PCC has recently put in a bid to run our fire service too. After this example of bloating bureaucracy I don’t think he should be trusted to run a bath, let alone critical emergency services.”

Highways contractor with £1m+ fines set to get further five year contract

Liberal Democrat opposition councillors at Herts County Council have hit out over a decision to recommend that its main highways contractor, Ringway, is set to be awarded an extended contract for another five years.

Ringway has been fined just under £1.2m for poor workmanship in the last 5 years, leaving opposition councillors scratching their heads over the decision to extend Ringway’s services.

Deductions totalling £1,187,348 have been made against Ringway’s contract for poor performance against set standards, with more fines pending this year.

The contract, in place since 2012, is worth over £182m and covers the provision of highways works across Hertfordshire. Only last week Shropshire Council announced that Ringway were to be replaced by Kier to manage its highways. Ringway had won the contract in 2011 but had a number of problems.

Liberal Democrat Leader Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst exposed last week that the Conservative council were to recommend that Ringway get an extended contract at the November meeting of the County Council’s Cabinet Panel for Highways. Stephen comments: “I am shocked that the Conservative council want to award Ringway another five year contract, just saying it’s ok because they are improving! There has, on the face of it, been no market testing, something I thought the Conservatives were in favour of. Are there no other highways contractors that are more efficient and cause fewer problems for Hertfordshire’s residents?”

“It is almost daily that my colleagues and I report issues that do not result in fines but are just sloppy jobs or things that are being ignored. One has to think there must be a better choice.”

 

Conservative county council set to agree current highways contractors can carry on for another five years

Opposition councillors at County Hall have been shocked and angered to hear that Herts County Council are intending to extend the contracts of much-criticised highways contractors Ringway for a further five years.

Councillors were informed in a short email sent on Monday afternoon, with the news that the full decision would be made in November.

“This was a bolt out of the blue,” said Leader of the Opposition, Liberal Democrat Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst. “Over the past six years there has been considerable criticism and many justified complaints from residents and councillors about the poor state of our roads and pavements. Despite the poor performance of the highways contractor it seems that Conservative councillors and county council officers are prepared simply to grant Ringway a further five year contract. (more…)

Care crisis cover-up: vulnerable residents to be asked to pay more to meet the funding shortfall in social care

The Conservative-run County Council is set to ask some of the most vulnerable residents in Hertfordshire to contribute more to social care charges to cover up the Government’s failure to fund social care properly.

The move comes at a time when demand for social care is growing, but continued cuts to social care budgets imposed at national level mean Hertfordshire County Council is looking to save £4m in its adult care budget.

Conservative councillors seem determined that it is our most vulnerable residents who should make up the difference. At the most recent Adult Care Services Cabinet Panel they voted to consult users on proposed increases to care charges that could leave some paying more than £130 a week extra for the care they receive. The move was opposed by Liberal Democrat Councillors.

Councillor Ron Tindall, Liberal Democrat Opposition Spokesperson for Adult Care Services and Health and Wellbeing, said: “These cuts are a direct result of the government’s continued failure to properly fund social care. We have some sympathy with the Council’s need to make savings, but these proposals will simply push more vulnerable people into poverty, and will likely mean that some will turn down services that they feel they can no longer afford.” (more…)