Watford is a town that is growing and thriving. More and more people are choosing to move here to live or work. With this growth there are challenges. One of the biggest is how to grow in a sustainable, environmentally-friendly way. This is something that I have made one of my top priorities as Watford’s new Elected Mayor.

Our town can become more sustainable by improving our public transport. I want better, more reliable buses in our town. I have already started work to bring new bus services to the town centre so that residents can get about on public transport easily. We need better, more reliable buses to keep our town moving. I also want to see a bike-hire scheme introduced, as well as better facilities for cyclists in the town. The improvements currently taking place to our high street will make our town centre more pedestrian-friendly. Better transport infrastructure is essential if want people to choose to leave their cars at home.

However, it’s not just improving our transport infrastructure that will make our town more sustainable. I’m passionate about our parks and our green spaces. In Watford we have more green flag parks than any other place in Hertfordshire. As your mayor, I want to get even more of our parks up to the Green Flag standard to encourage greater use of our fantastic green spaces. I also want to see more public recycling bins in our parks and I’m pleased that the first of these were put in place in Cassiobury Park last month. I will also be working with others to create a biodiversity action plan for Watford. This will mean that we can conserve habitats and species that are considered national priorities for conservation. I am pleased about the government’s recent announcements on reducing the use of single use plastics but I want Watford to take a lead in this too. Working together we can reduce the use of harmful single use plastics across Watford.

For many years the River Colne has been in a poor condition. The days of people rowing boats in the river in Oxhey Park are long gone and pollution has reduced the biodiversity of this natural habitat. Work has already started to improve this situation. Over the next few years I will be working with other to regenerate of the River Colne.

Growth and expansion are the biggest challenges facing our town. I am determined as your Mayor to make sure that we can manage that growth in a sustainable, environmentally-friendly way.