Welcome to the website of the Liberal Democrat Group on Surrey County Council
In response to a question at the July County Council meeting from Stephen Cooksey, Council was informed that it was planning permanently to turn off 45,000 street lamps from Midnight to 5.00am. The first phase of 33,000 lights is scheduled for 1st October and the second, of 12,000 lights for December or January. Currently lists of the affected residential areas are unavailable but we are promised that they will made available to Councillors in August and published for residents in September.
At the Budget meeting of Surrey County Council on Tuesday 9 February, the Liberal Democrats called on the Conservative administration to protect vital services for Surrey residents.
Leader of he Liberal Democrats on Surrey County Council, Cllr Hazel Watson said: "Whilst I support the level of Council Tax proposed by the Conservative administration at County Hall, I oppose their Budget as it does not do enough to protect vital services for Surrey residents. Clearly the top priority is the funding of care for vulnerable adults and I support the 2% part of the Council Tax increase for that purpose. The County Council has repeatedly overspent the Adult Social Care budget because there was insufficient money to meet the growing demand for services. This additional money for vulnerable adults will be a life line to help meet this growing demand."
Cllr Watson continued: "However there are other vital services which are being under funded by the Conservative administration. These include, the youth service, bus services, Community Recycling Centres (refuse tips), road safety and drainage.
The Liberal Democrats are calling on the County Council to take into account the quality of life of local residents, including noise levels, when making decisions about different road surfaces.
Cllr Hazel Watson, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Opposition on Surrey County Council said: "When roads are surface dressed in order to prolong their life by sealing them and to save money before a full surfacing the road becomes noisier for residents living nearby.
"At present the County Council does not take into account the noise levels or the quality of life of residents living nearby to a road that is being resurfaced with a surface dressing. This needs to change so that local residents are not unnecessarily disturbed by noisy road surfaces when this can be avoided.
"I am asking the Conservative administration at County Hall to change its policy to take into account not just cost but also the quality of life of local residents, including noise levels of different road surfaces when deciding on types of materials and processes for surface dressing or full road resurfacing.
"Surrey residents should not have to suffer as a result of a noisy road surface when a quieter surface could be provided. Quality of life does matter and the County Council should be seeking to protect it for Surrey residents."
The Liberal Democrats on Surrey County Council are calling on the Conservative administration at County Hall to put more money towards improving Surrey's footways.
Cllr Stephen Cooksey, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Highways & Transport said:
"Surrey's footways are crumbling and need to be brought up to a decent standard for pedestrians. The most recent condition survey in 2014 showed that one-third of the county's footways were 'functionally or structurally impaired'. Since then little has been done by the Conservative administration to tackle the problem of Surrey's sub-standard footways while they have been concentrating on resurfacing Surrey's roads.
"The condition of Surrey's footways is just as important for pedestrians as the condition of Surrey's roads is for motorists. Footways and pedestrians have not been given the priority they deserve. It is a Cinderella service in Surrey.
"I am calling on the Conservative administration at County Hall to redress the balance by funding a programme of resurfacing and re-paving of Surrey's footways to bring them up to a decent standard. This continued neglect of our footways must not continue."
The Liberal Democrats have opposed the Conservative-run County Council's flawed decision taken by their Cabinet today to reduce the opening hours of Surrey's tips (known as Community Recycling Centres) and to introduce charges for DIY waste, gas bottles and car tyres at the tips.
Cllr Hazel Watson, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Opposition said:
The Liberal Democrats launched the "Lib Dem Fightback" to reconnect with Surrey residents and started planning for the County Council elections at a well-attended Conference in Guildford this weekend. The Conference follows on from a series of Council by-election wins in Surrey since the general election where the Party held council seats in Mole Valley, Elmbridge and Woking and gained a seat from UKIP in Mole Valley.
Liberal Democrats are calling on the Conservative administration at County Hall to ditch their controversial plans for changes to Surrey's tips as they would increase fly tipping across the county.
Cllr John Orrick, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Opposition on Surrey County Council, said:
"The County Council's recent consultation about Surrey's tips angered many residents because the changes would increase fly-tipping. The proposed changes included charging for disposing of DIY waste at the tips, reducing their opening hours or even closing some of them.
"The wording of the consultation only gave unacceptable options that would make it more difficult for residents to recycle or dispose of waste at Surrey's tips. It gave no opportunity for residents to say that the tips should stay the same or improve.
"Fly-tipping is already a big problem in Surrey with rubbish being dumped on land and roads. Not only is it a blight on Surrey's beautiful countryside, but it is hugely costly for landowners such as the National Trust, as well as district and borough councils, to clear up the mess. These so-called 'savings' would just push the costs onto others.
"Surrey residents should send a message to the County Council telling them to ditch these unacceptable changes to the tips. Residents can show their opposition by signing the online petition on the County Council's website."
Cllr Orrick concluded:
"I hope that the Conservative administration will listen to Surrey residents and drop these misguided changes."
The Liberal Democrats on Surrey County Council are calling for urgent action to tackle the sharp rise in the number of people killed and seriously injured on Surrey's roads. This follows the recently released figures for 2014 showing that Surrey had the third largest increase in people killed and seriously injured in England and Wales. The number of deaths on Surrey roads more than doubled, increasing from 18 to 38 deaths.
Liberal Democrat County Councillor, Will Forster (Woking South) said:
"The number of people killed and seriously injured on Surrey's roads is unacceptable. Each person killed is a tragic loss and impacts severely on their family and friends. This cannot be allowed to continue. The Conservative administration at County Hall has clearly taken its eye off the ball and not given road safety the attention it deserves.
"I am calling on the Conservative administration to give much higher priority to road safety. This must include more funding for road safety education such as through Drive SMART, road safety outside schools and highways improvements. Much more could be done to make Surrey's roads safer, for example by making sure that all roads have appropriate speed limits, warning signs and road markings to alert drivers to hazards, pedestrians crossings to help pedestrians cross the road safely, cycle lanes and junction improvements."
Cllr Forster concluded:
"This is a wake-up call to urgently improve road safety to save lives on Surrey's roads."
The Children's Improvement Plan 2015 to improve Surrey's inadequate Children's Services was today published by the County Council. The plan was required following the Ofsted inspection report published in June 2015 that rated Surrey's Children's Service as "inadequate". Inspectors concluded that there were "widespread and serious failures that potentially leave children at risk of harm."
New figures released by the Department of Health show the Conservative Government is planning a £2.2m cut to the public health budget across Surrey.
The public health budget pays to relieve pressure on local NHS hospitals and clinics by helping people to solve their own potential health problems before they become more serious. The budget includes work to help people to exercise more, give up smoking and tackle drug addiction.