RECENTLY Vic Barlow (Barlow’s Brew, August 22) criticised me for repeatedly raising the issue of climate change.

Vic is quite right that residents elected me and rejected the Conservatives because they “expect their council to look after the roads, empty the bins, provide decent social care and not become a national laughing stock.”

Taking the last point about Cheshire East Council being a national laughing stock, I am conscious that under the Conservatives the council featured 20 times in Private Eye’s ‘Rotten Boroughs’ section and I realise the impact this had on morale of both staff and residents. Steps have already been taken to address the problems identified.

Looking after the roads and providing decent social care is a major challenge, particularly with the financial austerity imposed by the government – Cheshire East Council now receives NO revenue support grant from the government and the new administration has inherited an £11.2 million hole in next year’s budget. As Cheshire East has an ageing population the pressures on the social care budget are set to increase.

The roads have been in ‘managed decline’ (a direct quote from previous council documents) for several years; to bring all the roads up to standard would cost hundreds of millions of pounds.

Furthermore, before leaving office the Conservatives signed a 15-year outsourced highways maintenance contract.

Despite these constraints I am determined that the new administration will provide routine services reliably and efficiently.

But this is no reason not to tackle climate change and other issues.

Climate Change is the greatest challenge facing our generation and local authorities have an important part to play in meeting that challenge.

Addressing climate change cannot wait. Parliament has declared a climate emergency and CEC is responding by preparing an Environmental Strategy.

We need to address climate change as well as (not instead of) the routine business of the council – and we will.

Cheshire East Council leader