So Hertfordshire County Council is putting sustainability on the table, recognising the need to curb its carbon footprint, cut down its waste, greenhouse gas emissions, and pollution.

I think we all understand by now that if we carry on as we are, we will drive our life-supporting ecosystem and ourselves into the ground.

But how will that translate into action at ground level?

One of the mantras of the last Labour administrations was local jobs for local people. Much as it was spun into being somehow xenophobic it wasn’t about keeping people out, it was about recognising the local workforce were literally best placed to do local jobs. It was about common sense. It was about improving the quality of people’s lives, to avoid the chaos and insanity we have now of a mass migration of commuters - headless chickens - in the morning rush hour.

Conversely in Blair’s ‘best value’ policy, distance is no object. Great idea if you have shares in the petroleum industry.

But more damaging than any cigarette smoking in terms of pollution and greenhouse gases.

Ideally the stress and strain of fighting through the morning mayhem alone make people question the merit of remote working especially with the fuel bill.

But in the absence of common sense, the council need to incentivise local workers. In days gone by they got it right: many workers at the large institutions, eg Sun Printers, lived local and walked to work.

Perhaps road tolling is a step too far but the chronic congestion around the town centre calls for urgent action before it turns into terminal gridlock. Pollution recently reached dangerous levels.

No council has done more than Hertfordshire to accommodate the motorcar. Perhaps it’s time they changed tack and made life easier for the pedestrian and cyclist.

Dave Degen

Whippendell Road, Watford