The newly appointed leader of Hertfordshire County Council has set out his priorities to deliver over the next four years.

Richard Roberts, who served as a county councillor for Kings Langley since 2003, was backed to take on the role following a meeting between Tory members earlier this month.

Former leader Mr Williams narrowly lost his Harpenden North East seat to the Liberal Democrats during the 2021 local elections held last week.

Following his departure, all 46 of the elected Conservative councillors at the county council met to select a new group leader.

Now setting out his priorities as leader for the county council, he outlined he will mainly support the county’s recovery from Covid-19 and develop the way which the health and social care system delivers for Hertfordshire.

Other priorities include continuing the commitment to tackle climate change and ensure responsible and sustainable growth for the county.

Speaking on what he has called an “ambitious agenda”, he said: “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.”

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Touching on the recovery from Covid, he said: “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.”

The leader added that local government will need to work together with the NHS and volunteer partners so that people in Hertfordshire can live “healthy and full lives”.

He said: “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.”