Herts County Council are set to agree an emergency £3m programme to tidy up the sides of the county's highways - measures such as cleaning road signs , cutting back vegetation that obscures the signs, repainting white lines and clearing drains. But Liberal Democrat county councillor Malcolm Cowan says these are things the contractor should be doing anyway.
"Many of these are things local residents tell me are annoying them. Not repainting white lines is a safety issue, for example."
"I discovered there are no penalties for not doing these things, so surprise, surprise, they get ignored, under a maintenance regime that gives the contractor enormous scope to pick and choose what they actually do.
"It really does look like ignore it, don't get penalised, then get paid extra to do it. And what is even worse is that the first source of money for this is the councillors locality budget, - what councillors were previously given to allocate to the most needy local groups such as Homestart, Citizens Advice Bureau, Domestic Violence helplines and youth groups.
"It really is time the local Conservatives who run the council, woke up and smelled the coffee" he added.