Petition against household waste site changes

Most people in the St Albans area use either Sandridge Road or Waterdale. The Conservative administration at County Hall plans to close them for two weekdays and restrict opening on the remaining days to the 8 till 4 pm winter timetable all year round.

Lib Dems think this is crazy and potentially a fly tippers’ charter.  We believe the sites should continue to open every day, and if hours have to be shortened, it should be in ways that suit residents and not the operator, for example later closing at weekends and at least one weekday evening.

If you agree with us, please sign our petition at and also complete the county council questionnaire at

It would be great if you can share this with friends and neighbours so that as many people as possible make their views known.  If enough of us show that we care, there is every chance that we can end up with a more customer-friendly outcome.

County still refuses to fund flood damage six months on

Despite significant funding from the coalition Government and an ‘of course it’ll all be fixed’ message from County Hall, highways damaged by flooding over the winter have still to be repaired, and even more alarming is the decision by the Conservative administration to withhold funds to repair all the damage.

The Lib Dem group have asked time and again for funds to repair all the damaged roads to be committed, a request rejected time and again by the Conservative leadership.

Most recently, Lib Dems learned that despite almost £16m being redirected to pay for staff and councillor pensions, the County Council still had £4.1m unspent and uncommitted from its 2013/14 budget.

Lib Dems Paul Zukowskyj and Malcolm Cowan submitted a motion to redirect £2.6m of this to ensure flood repairs were ALL delivered. All the Conservative councillors on the panel voted no, the Labour councillors abstained and so the motion was unsuccessful.

Paul commented “The Conservatives are living in some sort of dreamworld where disintegrating roads and flood damage are of no concern to them or their residents. There’s some really substantial damage outstanding across many areas of Hertfordshire, and this could all have been repaired, but no, it’s not their priority.

“What are residents and road users to make of this? They’re being abandoned by the Conservatives to potholes, road collapses and developing world ‘highway standards’.”

Household waste site service to be cut back

A week after the local elections the Conservative run county council has announced they plan to award a new commercial contract to run its Household Waste sites that will mean two will close and others will see a massive reduction in opening hours with sites closing at 4pm and two day closures.

Opposition Liberal Democrat Councillors had already warned that agreeing to a new contract without discussing it with councillors was wrong.   The Conservatives have proposed a public consultation on the changes.

Leader Democrat Leader Stephen Giles-Medhurst (Central Watford and Oxhey), said, “ I am all for public consultation but the Conservatives have already set the goal posts, closure and restricted hours- are they being honest if the public say no to both, will they then dump the contractor?  Frankly I have no faith in their public consultation process on this judging by the way they have ignored the public in the past. They ignored the massive objections to the closure of the  Watford Wiggenhall Waste  and Tring household waste recycling sites with tens of thousands of objections. It seems that the decision has been taken already behind closed doors. How nice they held off telling anyone until after the local elections!”

Environment Spokesperson, Sandy Walkington  (St Albans South), said, “Asking for cost savings in the operation of the network is one thing, of course there are savings to be made.  Putting the customer first should still have been at the core of the service.  Instead the proposals smack of operator convenience”

“We will need to see the justification for the closure of the Hoddesdon and Elstree sites.  But the proposed random weekday closure of the remaining sites and restricting their opening hours to 8 am to 4 pm could not be more customer unfriendly.   Are they really suggesting that having found that Waterdale site – the most used in the county is closed on a set day residents then drive 16miles to Rickmansworth- stupid comes to mind and flytipping is more likely if this goes ahead!  How many householders will realistically want to use the 8 am slot given work and school runs?    It’s a licence for fly-tipping,” Sandy said.

The Liberal Democrats have particularly condemned the proposal for a 4 pm closing time at weekends when most sites are open till 6pm, as being completely at odds with the way that residents lead their busy lives.

“At the weekend in particular, people want to come to the sites at the end of the day when they have done their clearing up.. A 10am opening and 6pm closing with no random  weekday closures is the service that residents expect” said the Liberal Democrats.

Lib Dems welcome recovery grant

Last week Hertfordshire was allocated £3.6M from the government flood recovery fund.  Leader of the Opposition, County Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst, commented: “£3.6 million pounds is a step in the right direction.  Now the county must prioritise and spend this wisely as there is a huge amount of work to be done.

“Of course, if the local Conservatives had listened to the Liberal Democrats and implemented our budget proposal we would be spending another £9M, which would make a real difference to our highways.  There is still a shortfall of funding for the work that needs to be done, and County need to address this urgently”.

Household waste sites crumple as the sun shines


The weekend sunshine inspired the county’s gardeners and DIY enthusiasts to tackle all those post-winter jobs and then take stuff to the dump – no surprise there.  So it is shocking that the county’s household waste site network promptly crumpled under the strain.

More than half of the county’s household waste sites – Buntingford, Harpenden, Hemel Hempstead, Letchworth, Potters Bar, Rickmansworth, St Albans and Ware – had emergency partial or full closure because they were unable to cope with the demand.


Flooding processes at HCC leave something to be desired

Liberal Democrats today successfully called for Herts County Council to take action as a result of recent flooding.

The Leader of the opposition, Stephen-Giles Medhurst (central Watford and Oxhey) commented, “I am glad that Liberal Democrat concerns about local residents and the impact of flooding have been listened to today.  We must ensure that we help local families and businesses recover from the flooding, and that the County Council use the full range of Government and European funds available to support this”.

Sandy Walkington, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on the Environment (St Albans South), added “This sort of ‘exceptional’ weather is no longer exceptional, it’s becoming the norm and we need to plan how to improve the resilience of local infrastructure.  It’s about keeping gullies and ditches clear, ensuring that schools and other county buildings can cope with much heavier rain, and then being certain that we have the right fire service equipment to deal with floods as often as flames.”

Luton airport expansion – council seeks government intervention

St Albans City and District Council is asking that a decision by Luton Borough Council’s Planning Committee related to the expansion of Luton Airport be called in*.

St Albans Council has written to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, making a formal request for a call-in.

On 20 December 2013 Luton Borough Council Planning Committee granted permission for proposals which would increase capacity and passenger throughput at London Luton Airport.   (more…)