Newly appointed Herts County Council Leader outlines his vision for next four years - with priorities including Covid recovery and climate change
Councillor Richard Roberts has served as the member for Kings Langley
Developing health and social care, Covid-19 recovery and climate change are among the priorities for Hertfordshire County Council's newly appointed leader.
Councillor Richard Roberts has set out his priorities to deliver for the people of Hertfordshire over the next four years, subject to his formal appointment at the Full Council meeting today (May 25).
Having served as the Member for Kings Langley since 2003, Councillor Roberts was appointed as Leader of the Council following two years as Cabinet Member for Adult Care Services. He previously held responsibility for Children’s Services and Public Health.
Alongside the delivery of the core services, the new leader’s priorities are outlined as:
> supporting the county’s recovery from Covid-19
> developing the way in which our Health and Social Care system delivers for Hertfordshire
> delivering on the commitment to tackle climate change and inspire our residents to do the same
> ensuring responsible and sustainable growth for the county.
Leader of the Hertfordshire County Council, Richard Roberts said: "I have an ambitious agenda for Hertfordshire and am excited to embark on this incredible journey leading the County Council in this next chapter.
"Working alongside the newly appointed Cabinet, Councillors and hugely talented cohort of officers, I know our Local Government can deliver what really matters to people over the next 4 years.
“Fundamentally I am driven by a desire to allow people to live the lives they want to, in the towns and villages called home, with the opportunity to learn, work, contribute to society and enjoy our beautiful countryside.
"But as a resident I recognise we all have concerns for the future; pollution and climate change, jobs and education, good health and wellbeing, and a desire to protect our precious green spaces, amongst many other issues.
“Over the last year the pandemic has tested us in every way imaginable – but we have risen to meet the challenge and by working ever closer together it has taught us that we can overcome adversity.
"From keeping our essential public services running, to mobilising thousands of volunteers and protecting the most vulnerable in our communities, as an authority we have played our part to support our county through the most troubling of times.
“Right now as a society we are collectively aiming for a return to normality.
"It will be a different landscape we return to, but I am confident that our community focused approach will ensure Hertfordshire’s social and economic recovery over the years to come.
"This includes providing opportunities for everyone, with learning, training and building confidence at the heart of all we do.
“My priorities will be centred on the things that matter most for Hertfordshire; the health and wellbeing of our residents, the environment, and sustainable and responsible growth to ensure we remain a county fit for the future.
“Some in our society struggle every day with disability, poor health, abuse or just bad luck, and supporting those facing such hardship, challenge or discrimination will continue to be a key focus of mine.
"My vision is for Hertfordshire to have the best possible health and care services, with the NHS, all local Government, and our incredible volunteer partners all joined at the hip.
"By working together, we can provide support to those who need it, to enable everyone in Hertfordshire to live healthy and full lives where they can contribute and connect with their communities.
“Our environment both built and natural cannot be taken for granted, it affects our health, our work and our wellbeing.
"The places we live in shape our lives, and we are on a journey to create a cleaner, greener and more sustainable Hertfordshire.
"Our ambitions to be carbon neutral, send nothing to landfill and to improve nature on our land by 20%, all by 2030, are central planks to this vision.
“For me it is not a choice between protecting our environment and growing our economy - we can do both at the same time.
"Up to 100,000 new homes and 100,000 new jobs are planned in Hertfordshire by 2031, and we are already delivering on the infrastructure and services needed to support this growth.
"And, at the heart of everything we do are our plans for this to be sustainable growth, reducing our environmental impact wherever possible, whilst enabling the county to grow responsibly.
"We aim to create communities where our residents want to live, learn and work in well-designed, healthy and safe towns and villages.
“The county council has always played a central and important role, but now more than ever we must listen carefully, plan together and deliver across a vast range of activity to ensure Hertfordshire remains a county of opportunity for all.”
For more information about the role of the Leader and Hertfordshire's County Councillors, please visit Your Councillors | Hertfordshire County Council.