Inside The Council: We’re getting on with the job

EU Referendum
EU Referendum

I regret the result of the referendum vote to leave the European Union. But as leader of the council, my job is to respect that decision and get on with my job.

That is standing up for our community and fighting to get the best possible deal we can from national government.

We need some quick answers.
We need to know that the promise made by the leave campaign to protect existing European funding programmes will be kept.

We need as much certainty for our businesses, residents and communities as possible.
And in particular we need to be sure that the money we’ve been promised for flood recovery and prevention won’t fall victim to any future Government cuts.

As a community, we must strive to bring people together, trying to end the divisions caused by the referendum.

The hundreds of EU citizens living and working in Calderdale should continue to be welcomed and valued for the contribution they make to our community and our economy – and they need answers about their future, too.

Calderdale is a place where we are proud of our roots, but have always been outward looking and dependent on our trade with the wider world.

Our challenge as always is to make the most of our opportunities whilst standing with those who are vulnerable - I’ll continue to work with everyone who shares these values to achieve this.

What we need to fix the roads

I don’t imagine that reports from the Asphalt Industry Alliance feature on many people’s reading lists.

But every year they produce a very important report – their Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance Survey.
Fittingly, this is known by its initials as the “ALARM” survey.

And that’s very appropriate given what it tells us about the state of the nation’s highways.
Because year on year, it gives a stark picture of how inadequate government funding means a big and growing problem.

Nationally, unclassified roads – that’s minor roads and roads on local estates – are only likely to get fully resurfaced every 100 years.

Across the country, even the most important roads will have to wait an average of 35 years between resurfacing.

And as traffic volumes grow – and heavy rain and flooding cause further damage – that’s obviously not enough.

In total, the report tells us, £12billion is needed across Britain to deal with the backlog in highway maintenance issues.

No one is pretending that there haven’t been some problems with our highways service locally – and my colleagues and I are determined to sort them out.

But it’s obvious that the Government’s occasional gimmick of handing Calderdale a few hundred thousand pounds to fill potholes is simply scratching the surface.
Like every council, we’re facing a huge problem that only major funding can address.

So next time you see one of your local councillors pointing at a pothole, ask them what they are doing to get the Government to fund the huge spending gap which is the main cause of the poor state of our local roads.