Government has given up on food standards


Recent votes in the House of Commons have undermined earlier promises on food and animal welfare standards. “This has been sneaked though while everyone is focussed on Covid” says Paul Zukowskyj, County Cllr for Hatfield South.

“Chlorine-treated chicken and hormone-injected beef are likely coming our way. Why? Because that is what they do in the US and this government is desperate to do a deal with a Trump-led US, even if it means these lower standards.

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Stop the cardboard sprawl

Cardboard piling up at Waitrose, Welwyn garden City.

”The mess around the paper and cardboard recycling banks most of the time is unbelievable” says Liberal Democrat council group leader Malcolm Cowan.

“The problem has persisted for several years and I have regularly sent the council photos of the problem. The rise in home delivery while we are in lockdown is making it worse.

“I have seen banks fill up within a few hours of being emptied. Then people leave cardboard all around. Cardboard needs to be cut up or folded flat, but even then the banks fill up very quickly. There is simply not enough capacity. This is particularly bad at Moors Walk in Panshanger.

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Covid Care Home Crisis

Careworker in a mask

Nationally there is growing concern over the outbreak of Covid-19 in care homes. Care workers in Welwyn Hatfield have been on the front line of this battle for months. The travesty unfolding in care settings isn’t just nationwide but here in our area.

Carers working during this crisis have told us of the many failings they have witnessed from the very beginning. These failures have put strain on a system that has been facing cuts for years.

The carers have told us how their involvement in dealing with the virus in their settings has been a series of false promises and dangerous actions.

They have seen people admitted to their setting with COVID whilst still in the infectious period. Carers work to high infection control levels every single day but this virus is new and it’s hard to contain anywhere. In a care home where the most vulnerable live is especially challenging.

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A Coronavirus message from Welwyn Hatfield Lib Dems

Covid-19 Coronavirus

The Coronavirus situation is changing very rapidly and we are all naturally anxious about the next few months. I want to reassure you that your local Councillors are here to help you in whatever way we can (but we can't do anything about lack of toilet rolls though!).

Normally, we routinely knock on residents' doors throughout the year to check if people have any problems we can help with. Because of the current risk of virus transmission, this isn't sensible at the moment but you can still contact us by email or phone.

Social media reporting can be very inaccurate and stoke fears rather than reducing them. For accurate information, it is a sensible to seek information from trustworthy sites such as:

for sound information.

For detailed and up to date information about world trends, is an excellent site.

May you, your family and friends stay well in the coming weeks.


Malcolm Cowan

Leader Liberal Democrat Group, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council

Graffiti vandals strike White Bridge

Nigel Quinton wants the graffiti dealt with swiftly and effectively

County Councillors call for full repair of White Bridge in Centenary Year as graffiti vandals strike

Welwyn Garden City’s iconic White Bridge recently fell victim to a graffiti attack, which has caused outrage amongst local residents.

LibDem County Councillors Barbara Gibson and Nigel Quinton, who represent Haldens and Handside & Peartree divisions, were in touch with county council officers immediately to make sure the graffiti is dealt with swiftly and effectively. They are also putting pressure on the County Council to undertake overdue repairs to the bridge in time to celebrate the town’s centenary. 

Nigel commented: “I have been pressing officers on behalf of the Centenary Foundation to make sure the bridge is repaired and properly painted, and the lights re-established, as it is becoming an embarrassment. Despite initially being told that the current schedule for this work is several years away, I remain hopeful that this will be done this year in recognition of Welwyn Garden City’s hundredth birthday.”

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Motorway decision not so Smart

Smart motorway in operation cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Bill Boaden -

LibDems renew call for halt to A1(M) ‘upgrade’ as Highways England carry on regardless

After visiting the “Information event” put on by Highways England last Friday outside Waitrose in WGC, local LibDem Councillors expressed deep concerns that work is still scheduled to start in a matter of weeks.

Just weeks ago, Mike Penning, the former roads minister responsible for signing off Britain’s smart motorways, called for a halt to the rollout of further schemes of this type. He accused Highways England of killing motorists by “casually ignoring commitments” on the systems fundamental to the safe operation of these roads.

In a subsequent statement Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps promised that Smart Motorways would be put on hold pending a full safety review, but at the event last Friday, representatives of Highways England were absolutely clear that work on the A1(M) between junctions 6 and 8 is still scheduled to start in March.

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Conservative Councillors vote to close three short break respite homes across Herts

Respite care offers a lifeline for many people

Hertfordshire Liberal Democrats decry the decision by conservative members to close three short break respite homes across the county, significantly reducing capacity.

The three sites slated for closure are at Tewin Road, Hemel Hempstead, Hixberry Lane, St Albans and Apton Road, Bishops Stortford.

At the Adult Care and Health Panel today, a petition was presented by the Carers organisation, Carers in Herts, making very valid points and seeking a cooperative process with Adult Care Services to build the right respite strategy service before closures are considered, and Cllr Ron Tindall as LibDem spokesperson put this forward as an alternative recommendation to the panel. Sadly this vote was lost with all Conservative members voting against, despite several of them having echoed the concerns of the petitioners and opposition members during the debate. Instead the proposal to authorise closure was voted through; all opposition members voted against. One Conservative Member who had suggested that the recommendation should be amended to consider the plans further before committing to closures at least abstained (much to his credit).

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Tower blocks on Shredded Wheat site set to soar higher

How high will the high-rises go?

At the Local Plan meeting of 25th January 2020, Colin Haigh, head of planning at Welwyn Hatfield council revealed that the landowners of the Shredded Wheat site are asking to build a further 700-900 homes, literally on top of the 1450 they have permission for; this would likely mean much higher tower blocks, already set to be 8 storeys tall.

Malcolm Cowan, Liberal Democrat group leader and Peartree councillor, said “This threatens to create tower blocks that could be seen from much of the town. I thought that in our Centenary, this was still supposed to be a Garden City, not part of Inner London, where tower blocks are taking over.

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Council Housing Targets – Tsunami of Damage no choice at all

Cllr Paul Zukowskyj is angry that our precious Green belt under threat from Council Housing Targets

Borough Council planners are intending presenting ‘options’ to councillors on proposed housing, but they really give no choice at all.

Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel (CPPP) on Thursday 23rd Jan will be presented with four ‘options’, but the difference between each is whether the damage to the green belt is massive or only enormous.

Paul Zukowskyj, Lib Dem Borough Councillor for Welham Green and Hatfield South, and a member of the CPPP commented: “The options presented all deliver a tsunami of house-building on our green belt. None of the options balance the damage to our green spaces with the need for housing. The ‘preferred’ option suggests building 15948 homes, just 52 less than we would need if we had no green belt. Is protecting our green space worth just 0.3% of the housing need?

“I can’t accept any of the options offered, and I urge fellow councillors to join me. We are supposed to defend our communities, not stand by while they’re trashed.”

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Lib Dems set out £100bn plan to tackle climate emergency

Smoke in the sunset

The Liberal Democrats have set out ambitious £100 billion spending plans to tackle the climate emergency, including generating 80% of our electricity from renewables and retrofitting all homes by 2030.

The plan includes the full costings of how the Liberal Democrats would spend £100 billion tackling the climate emergency and details on how they would cut greenhouse gases in every sector of the economy to achieve net-zero by 2045.

Targets in the Liberal Democrat’s ‘Our Plan to Tackle the Climate Emergency’ include:

  • generating 80% of our electricity from renewables by 2030
  • retrofitting all homes – cutting energy bills – and targeting those in fuel poverty first by 2025
  • planting 60 million trees a year to increase UK forest cover
  • ensuring all new cars sold are electric by 2030
  • banning all non-essential non-recyclable single-use plastic within three years.
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