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Sally Symington Portrait

Our candidate for the 2019 General Election is Sally Symington (@SallySymington)

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The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.

News

  • Article: Dec 3, 2021

    At the Hertfordshire County Council Cabinet Panel for Resources and Performance on 1 December it
    was revealed that a further £46m of slippage in the capital budget occurred in the second quarter of
    the financial year. Added to the slippage of £89m in the first quarter, this amounts to £135m in six
    months and represents 37% of the capital budget for 2021/22 agreed in February 2021.

  • We urgently need more on street charging points
    Article: Nov 16, 2021
    Herts Liberal Democrat Group Leader Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst has warned of a chasm between cities/towns and rural areas in the
    availability of electric vehicle charging points, as new figures show that drivers in county areas have one charging point every 16 miles,
    compared to one for every mile in London.

    New analysis from the County Councils Network (CCN) shows that there are more publicly available charging points in London - 7,865 - compared to the entirety of England's counties, which are home to almost half of the country's population.

    With 7,781 public charging points in total in the 36 county areas the CCN represents, this means the average distance between chargers is 16 miles in those places. They are lagging well behind London, which has a charger for every mile on average, and England's largest eight cities, which have a six-mile distance between chargers.

    "It is clear that this makes it more difficult to drive an electric vehicle in England's counties compared to cities and towns, which could
    put people off switching from petrol and diesel. Just 35% of electric vehicles are registered in county areas, despite them being home to half of the country's population. Emissions have decreased slower in England'scounties since 2005, compared to every other part of the country", said Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst.

    "What makes it worse is that the Herts County Tories are vetoing on-road charging points except in exceptional circumstances. Their policy says they will only be agreed as an "exception" and they have already rejected installing lamp-post chargers in Watford. This affects both towns and villages and the suggestion that they may just be installed at car parks and supermarkets is not sustainable. Many villages have no-off road car parks expect perhaps if they have a public house and in towns you might have to walk ten minutes to a car park. The failure of the county council to provide the investment, or to allow the district councils to do so, will undermine the government's net-zero by 2050 target. They also say having good access to charging points is vital especially for visitors." said Cllr Giles-Medhurst.

    Only 21,925 chargers have been installed in England as of last month. This is a long way off the government's target of 150,000 a year and 1.5 million charging points by 2030.

    The Liberal Democrats have pointed out that unlike Tory-run Surrey County Council which is set to install 80 residential on-street fast charging points across four towns, Herts has no such plans.

    "Failure of the county council to provide this infrastructure will undermine the government's net-zero by 2050 target. Emissions have decreased slower in England's counties since 2005, compared to every other part of the country, " said Cllr Giles-Medhurst.
  • Article: Nov 15, 2021
    Prior to Thursday's meeting, members of the Children and Young People's Cabinet Panel were shocked to receive a damning survey from 170 members of the SEND National Crisis Hertfordshire revealing the failure of the Conservative run County Council's SEND service to provide support for them, communicate with them, and oversee the assistance their children desperately need. The comments from the parents highlighted the drastic impact that these failings are having on them and their children. It was equally damning that the Chair dismissed this report as representing the views of only 170 families out of 7000, and officers were unable to clarify the true state of workload pressures their teams have to work under.

  • Offshore Hydrogen (BBC)
    Article: Nov 7, 2021

    Several European energy companies are currently exploring the feasibility of producing hydrogen out at sea. Although not particularly efficient, electroysis of water to produce hydrogen is a useful way to capture wind energy that might otherwise be in surplus. Batteries could of course be used shorterm energy storage and release, but future projections indicate hydrogen could handle greater quantities of energy over greater timescales and could also be an efficient way to transfer it to the mainland - with one hydrogen pipeline handling the same energy transmission as 5 DC interconnector cables.

    Germany has an advantage here with its own off-shore island of Helgoland, a one time WWII fortress in the North Sea but now a rather limited and lonely summer holiday destination and opportunity to buy tax free alcohol and cigarettes. The island could act as a collection base for platform-based hydrogen electrolysis and a distribution centre for hydrogen to be routed to neighbouring industrial centres in Germany, Holland and Scandinavia. Of course, this might well spell the end of both alcohol and smoking on the island!

    Die Presse reports that prominent among the companies is the Rheinisch-Westfälisches Elektrizitätswerk, better known as RWE, once the owner of Thames Water and 10 power stations in the UK. As the company remodels itself around the newer energy sources, Thames Water and 5 of the power stations (one of which was Didcot) have been closed and sold.

    Other companies involved are the Norwegian energie giant Equinor and the Dutch pipeline specialist Gasunie.

    At first an electrolysis capacity of 300 MW is planned by 2028, producing 20,000 tonnes of hydrogen a year. By 2035 this is expected to rise to 10 GW of electrolysis capacity for a variety of industrial uses and making it feasible to economically produce of 'green fertilisers', reducing the use of methane, and even 'green steel', replacing coking coal with hydrogen. UK Government please note!

    Meanwhile Reuters reports that, with other partners, RWE is investing in the Triton Knoll (near Grimsby) and the Sofia (Central Dogger) offshore wind farms, and is the preferred bidder for two other nearby sites on the Dogger Bank (thank you, Ed Davey!).

  • Article: Oct 21, 2021

    Liberal Democrat councillors were shocked and disappointed that their proposals to strengthen the Domestic Abuse motion were blocked by the Conservatives at the Full Council meeting of Hertfordshire County Council on 19 October.

    The Liberal Democrat proposals include Hertfordshire Police recording crimes which are motivated by sex or gender following the example set successfully by Nottinghamshire Police in 2016 and followed since by 10 other police forces; that the Council seeks funding from the government to support survivors and victims through the Spending Review; and that the backlog of domestic abuse court cases be addressed with urgency.

  • Railway Freight Locomotives (Network Rail)
    Article: Oct 19, 2021

    The Railway Industry Association (RIA) is the main industry trade group for railway equipment manufacturers in the United Kingdom and is based in Smith Square, London. They are emphatic that the UK needs immediately to double the current rate of rail electrification.

    Electrification is the main measure that will enable the UK Government to meet its commitment decarbonise by the railway system by 2050. However to do this means that at least 450 km of track need to be electrified every year.

    However, figures published by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) show that only 179 km of track were electrified in the UK in 2020-21.

  • Flag at Half Mast Cropped
    Article: Oct 17, 2021

    West Hertfordshire Liberal Democrats send their deepest condolences to the family of Sir David Amess.

    Sir David was cruelly stabbed to death on Friday during a routine constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea.

    He had served as the Member of Parliament for Southend West since 1997.

    He was a well respected man who worked hard as a constituency MP to represent the people in his local community.

  • Children in Care
    Article: Oct 10, 2021

    All children and care leavers deserve far more support than is currently on offer.

    By Liberal Democrats, Sep 18, 2021

    There are almost one hundred thousand children in care in the UK and they face significant disadvantages in life.

    The average child in care enters care at age 14, which is a crucial point academically. Only 12% of care leavers have entered higher education by the age of 23 and many care leavers rely on Universal Credit as their main source of income.

  • Article: Oct 4, 2021

    Liberal Democrat Councillors have expressed concern and disappointment in the £5.5m slippage of vital Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) capital spend from the current year.

    The delay in expenditure was revealed at a meeting of the Herts County Council Resources and Cabinet Panel on Friday 1 October.

  • No Planet B
    Article: Sep 30, 2021

    The climate crisis is an incoming storm. We must act now to undo the damage already done to our planet.

    By Liberal Democrats, Sep 18, 2021

    Soaring temperatures worldwide, flash flooding in central London and increasing numbers of wildfires. These are just a few ecological disasters we are seeing as a result of climate change. It is painfully obvious we must act.