Think about restaurant hygiene ratings when booking Christmas meals

Note from the district council

If you are planning a Christmas meal with work colleagues, friends or family in St Albans District check the food hygiene ratings for restaurants before you book.

St Albans City and District Council inspects local food businesses to check they comply with food safety and hygiene regulations and gives them a score.

The food hygiene ratings run from 0-5, with five representing a very good level of hygiene and a zero indicating that urgent improvement is required.

The Council is a part of the Food Standards Agency’s Food Hygiene Rating Scheme and puts all its ratings on the scheme’s website at: Local restaurants and food businesses are also given a Food Standards Agency green and black sticker showing their food hygiene rating to display on their windows.

You can’t tell a restaurant’s hygiene standards by how clean and tidy the staff look, or by how busy it is. It’s the things you can’t see – like germs spread by bad hygiene practices – that you need to consider when selecting a restaurant. If there is no green and black sticker in the window or you spot a low rating online, you can make an informed choice about where to book.

Nationally, 93% of food businesses are rated three or better through the Food Standards Agency’s scheme so there are plenty of eating places with good standards.

Hertfordshire Tories won’t let go of Veolia and New Barnfield incinerator

Today Hertfordshire County Council discussed its next steps in long-term planning for the disposal of household waste.

The Conservative administration decided to leave the door open for the Veolia plan for New Barnfield, despite the Planning Inspector and the Government both turning down the proposal. Liberal Democrat councillors attempted to amend this policy and end once and for all an arrangement that has already cost local taxpayers millions while delivering nothing.

Sandy Walkington, County Councillor for St Albans South and opposition spokesperson on the environment, said, “I proposed that we stop wasting Council Tax on this failed project and move forward to find a solution which reflects the latest technologies, and offers flexibility and resilience over the long term.  There are other solutions which will be better for the environment and offer genuine value for money. “Sadly every Conservative on the Panel voted to carry on with Veolia, when it’s clearly time to go back to the drawing board.”

Fresh funding to improve Alban Way

A sum of £30,000 has been secured to improve vegetation and woodland along the Alban Way for the benefit of wildlife, pedestrians, cyclists and other users.

The money will be used to implement a programme of work agreed by St Albans City and District Council following consultation with the public earlier this year. It forms part of a wider management plan that is being developed for the route.

The funding is a share of a £130,000 grant received by Hertfordshire County Council from the Department for Transport’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund. The grant money will also fund other schemes in St Albans, Watford and Hemel Hempstead that encourage local economic growth, improve sustainable transport options and reduce carbon emissions.

The County Council’s Countryside Management Service (CMS) will now implement work on the Alban Way to develop a more diverse woodland structure and wildlife habitat.

The vegetation will be managed to open the route and to let light into the path, making it a more attractive route to use. This work will take place over the winter to be completed by the end of March 2015.

It follows re-surfacing work carried out last year as part of the Council’s strategy to promote active travel in the District by improving facilities for cycling and walking. The Alban Way forms part of the Green Ring being developed to help cyclists and pedestrians to get around the City with minimal use of roads.

Save energy and money by joining Transition Streets


Neighbours can help each other save energy and money by signing up to Transition Streets, St AlbansCity and District Council’s City Neighbourhoods Committee heard on 25 September.

The Transition Streets community project enables neighbours in the same area to work together as a group to reduce their impact on the environment. Each group is provided with an information pack providing them with tips on cutting their carbon footprint by, for example, reducing their energy and water use.

The project is run by the community group Transition St Albans and is free to join. It is based on a similar scheme that was introduced in Totnes in Devon. (more…)

District to survey people about recycling

Note from the district council

Residents are invited to complete a survey giving their views on how to improve St Albans City and District Council’s recycling service.

The results of the survey will help us develop our service and make it easier to recycle waste.

The Council’s market researchers from Enventure, will be visiting 20,000 homes in the District to speak to residents about how they use the recycling service. The doorstep survey starts on Wednesday 1 October. It will be carried out in the early afternoon and evening on Monday to Friday and from 11.30am to 5.30pm on a Saturday.

Enventure staff will also be inviting residents to give their views on how to improve our recycling service. They will be wearing a ‘recycle’ branded uniform and be carrying an identity card and letter of authorisation from the Council’s Head of Community Services.

You can also complete an online questionnaire about the service on the Council’s website from Wednesday 1 October. The survey will take five minutes to complete and is available until Friday 14 November.


Following yesterday’s debate at cabinet panel on the Conservative plans to slash opening hours at the county’s Household Waste sites, Cllr Sandy Walkington, Liberal Democrat spokesperson on the Environment said:

“Yesterday’s decision was a glass half full, a glass half empty.  The Conservatives caved in on shutting any of the sites completely and they recognised the common sense of moving to later opening hours on the days when the sites will be open.  Their minds were certainly concentrated by the thousands of petition signatures across much of the county.

“But they still need to show more flexibility even if they are determined to stick to a single shift operation.  It’s about serving local residents at the times they need, not just laying down a schedule to suit the operator.  The Liberal Democrat amendment to keep sites open every day even with shorter hours was defeated,  though this was clearly the most important factor in residents’ responses.  So lets now investigate whether there could be late opening on one day a week. (more…)

Gombards car park trees

Residents have been understandably been alarmed that yellow crosses have appeared on a number of trees – the traditional mark to show that they are due to be felled.

In fact these have been marked simply because NCP wishes to pollard them and there is no intention to fell.

Chris has been in touch with the district council who have given assurances and apologised for the alarm caused.

Victory over cardboard collection changes

The Liberal Democrat group on St Albans District Council have welcomed news that the cardboard collection service is to be improved.

Cllr Chris White said: ‘We have long criticised the entirely avoidable near collapse of the cardboard collection regime that we brought in when we were running the District Council. Far too many people have been left with huge piles of cardboard in their garages or been forced to ship materials to the household waste recycling centre, when previously they were able to rely on the District Council to collect.

‘It does seem that the Conservatives have now bowed to public pressure and listened to our criticisms. It is especially welcome that cardboard collections are now to be made available to flat dwellers.’

Grass cutting fiasco

Local Lib Dem County Councillor  Aislinn Lee has been forced to make yet another formal complaint about grass cutting – this time to the County Council.

Aislinn wrote to the county council outlining her concerns about the reduced number of cuts to the grass along the A405 towards St Albans and especially the safety implications on the roundabouts.

Aislinn said, “I have been absolutely inundated with complaints from local residents and many from further afield about the height and the safety implications, of the vegetation along the A405 from the Noke Roundabout through to St Albans.

“I am particularly concerned with the very real hazard (that I can confirm from daily personal use) of the height of the vegetation on the Tippendell Lane/A405 roundabout. For years Highways have been aware that drivers do not slow down when approaching this roundabout from both directions along the A405. Some works have been done in the past to try to remedy this, but right now there is little chance of this fast moving traffic seeing other vehicles manoeuvring around the roundabout as they approach it.

“This will inevitably lead to a tragedy if we do not make this area as visible as possible. I firmly believe that the County Council is failing in its duty of care by not cutting back this vegetation.”

Aislinn concluded by saying “I shall continue to pursue this matter as drivers from across the County are being let down by HCC”.


“Admit your catalogue of errors” demands County Councillor

Paul Zukowskyj, Lib Dem County Councillor for Hatfield South, where Herts County Council wanted to build a massive waste-burning plant in the green belt, has put down a motion asking HCC to own up to, and apologise for, the catalogue of errors in bringing forward plans for the development.

On Tuesday 8th July, campaigners learnt that the Secretary of State and the Planning Inquiry inspector both agreed the plant should not be granted planning permission.

HCC have spent huge amounts of council-tax payers money on pushing the development in the face of massive opposition.

Paul commented “Even now the Council are claiming the plant would have meant huge savings, but have completely and utterly ignored the huge damage the plant would have done, to the greenbelt, to the setting of grade 1 listed buildings, to the kids at the immediately adjacent school, to the natural environment and to local residents living in the shadow of their alien and unnatural “sea-urchin” plant. (more…)