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"Herts Council Council's Inadequate Road Maintenance is a False Economy", say Liberal Democrats

May 16, 2021 7:57 PM
Originally published by West Hertfordshire Liberal Democrats
Inadequate road maintenance is a false economy.

Flooding at London Road, Hemel Hempstead (Hemel Today)The Tories idea of fiscal prudence is to put money aside "for a rainy day" - but then when it rains, they still don't spend it.

"There is one simple old trick the Tories kept missing all the 16 years I was on Herts County Council," Tring councillor, Nick Hollinghurst, "And that was... a good way to reduce flooding is to keep the drains and ditches clear! Who would have thought it? They didn't."

However, when Lib Dem Herts County Councillor, Paul Zukowskyj realised that the Herts CC Tory administration was taking unspent funds from the county's "Invest to Transform" scheme and putting it into reserves instead of topping up the budgets for highway maintenance and flood prevention, he had to protest.

"It's being saved for a rainy day - but it's been raining for the past 5 years", said Paul, referring to the annual highway maintenance budget cuts.

One issue that has perennially irritated councillors and public alike has been the length of time between drain clearance - 18 months to 2 years - and the continual failure to clear out these that are completely blocked. The neglect of roadside ditches has been even worse.

Former Lib Dem Herts county councillor Nick Hollinghurst, comments, "To give force to Paul's remarks there were heavy rainstorms roundabout that time and in this picture from "Hemel Today" (who reported on the incident) we can see the effect at London Road, Hemel Hempstead."

"The simple jobs of emptying the silt traps under grids and jetting clear any pipework blockages are low tech and relatively low cost. This, and ditch clearance, should be carried out now less frequently than annually - and in some places every 6 months!"

Both before and after this there have been repeated serious floods in Long Marston, Wilstone and certain roads in Tring, such as Dundale Rd by the 'Black Horse' - though Icknield Way and Cow Roast eventually benefitted from longterm solutions.

"It can be done," concluded Nick, "Fix the drains and ditches and you fix the flooding!"