Buckinghamshire Council leader Martin Tett writes exclusively to Bucks Free Press readers.

Last month we could finally hold the local elections postponed from May 2020, meaning our 147 Buckinghamshire Council councillors have now been elected.

I spent a lot of time before the election knocking on doors and talking with people across our county. It means we have now put forward a plan of action for the coming years based on the issues most important to you.

I want people to be able to see and feel the difference of what we’re doing – ambitious, yes, but that’s not held us back during the pandemic and it won’t now.

We know the condition of the roads is a top priority. That’s why, after spending £27m last year, despite all the Covid pressures, we plan to spend another £24m this year.

We are also adding more money for clearing litter and, importantly, another £4m to clear every drain in the county, including all those blocked ones.

The environment is really important to us and we will be doing lots more to contribute towards reducing climate change such as installing more electric charging points for cars, putting solar panels on our buildings and changing to LED lights.

Importantly, we are planting more than half a million new trees, creating a new woodland in the north of the county and building a new country park in the south.

Whilst we can’t stop HS2 - and we know the construction is wreaking havoc in many parts of the county, we can hold them to account. We have put new teams in place to do just that.

Despite the delay in ending restrictions, we are looking ahead with a heavy focus on the Covid recovery. That means helping local businesses get back on their feet and it means looking after the health and well-being of everyone.

We’re making sure all our schools can access good mental health support and we’re launching various campaigns aimed at improving peoples’ physical and mental well-being.

These aren’t empty words, it’s all part of a direct plan of action. After the last 15 months or so, I’m genuinely excited for what the future holds. In spite of all the challenges of the pandemic, we’ve got a brilliant platform to build on.