Experienced Liberal Democrat councillor, Malcolm Cowan, writes to the Welwyn Hatfield Times to point out that not only are our roads and paths falling apart and full of holes, so too are the tired excuses offered by the Conservatives for their failure to address these widespread problems. These are failings that could potentially put lives at risk.
Letter to Welwyn Hatfield Times
Having served 12 years until last May as a LibDem county councillor, specialising in highways issues, I have been following closely the efforts of the local Conservatives to say by implication that potholes only occur in LibDem-held areas and it is in any case the county councillor's fault.
Of course anyone who drives far will see potholes all over Herts and in other counties as well. And there are plenty on the motorways which are run at arms length by the government. So no monopoly of fault.
It is of course totally cynical for a ruling party (the Conservatives) to blame the opposition for anything when it is the budgets, control systems and contractor chosen by the ruling group that dictate performance.
The end of every winter nearly always brings an explosion of potholes, caused by rapid freezing and thawing and we have just had some very cold spells this winter. Or do the Conservatives wish to blame opposition parties for the weather? Add in inadequate maintenance and an almost total lack of supervision of much highways work; and who is responsible for that?
In the case of the highways service, the problems go far beyond potholes - look at the widespread areas of road and footpath flooding every time it rains. Most of the flooded areas were reported as a problem up to 10 years ago, but the highways contractor told me "they are not a priority for us", in other words don't expect any action.
At a slightly smaller level, look at how many zebra crossings and mini-roundabouts have almost lost their markings, bringing a safety risk.
I left the county council very frustrated at the lack of money and poor supervision of the contractors. The chickens have come home to roost this winter and it is those in control who must take the blame, not try to pass it on to those in opposition trying hard to improve things.