There is a clear need for the the county council and other authorities to ‘up their game’ as further heavy rain threatens continuing misery and disruption to St Albans residents. Yes, the amount of rainfall is virtually unprecedented. But we all know that gullies have not been maintained and road-side ditches in countryside stretches have not been dredged, forcing the closure of crucial local links like Sandpit Lane and Colney Heath Lane and quite unnecessary flooding of neighbouring properties. In London Colney there are always likely to be problems at the riverside. But there is no excuse for the misery inflicted on the residents of Five Acres.
Before these local floods happened, I have been challenging county council officers in my capacity as Opposition Spokesperson on the Environment at County Hall on whether they need to adjust their thinking in the light of the flooding elsewhere in the country and the likelihood of climate change related increasing frequency of extreme weather events. Frankly they were amazingly complacent, on the basis that ‘this sort of thing does not happen in Hertfordshire’. Well it has and we urgently need to plan for increased long-term resilience against flooding – our residents deserve nothing less. While individual staff have worked tirelessly to mitigate the problems after they have happened, there needs to be better leadership at the top and a relentless focus on how to prevent similar events.