Wednesday, 16 December 2009

No Council priority on transport to school

he transport Cabinet member for B&NES has come under criticism from Liberal Democrat Councillors following his announcement that sorting out transport to schools will not be a priority for the Conservative-run Council next year.

Councillor Nathan Hartley, Liberal Democrat spokesperson on young people, questioned the Cabinet member over school transport at the recent Cabinet meeting; the response was that there are there are “no plans to expand the funding or subsidy of public transport that is used by children and young people to reach school”.

Councillor Hartley (Peasedown St John) said:

“Once again the Conservative-run Council has dismissed this important issue. Sorting out the school run would make a major contribution towards reducing traffic jams and air pollution, but the Conservatives have refused to make it a priority.

“Most people would prefer to use public transport to send their kids to school, but the cost is prohibitive.

“The Council’s scrutiny panel for children’s services recently carried out a review on transport to school; this cross-party panel put in months of hard work on the issue and concluded that funding for school transport should be a top priority in next year’s budget. The Cabinet decided to ignore these recommendations.”

Bath MP Don Foster commented:

“Everyone can tell the difference in traffic levels from term-time to holiday time. It’s about time the Conservative Council started prioritising some common sense solutions to Bath’s congestion problems, rather than wasting millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on a bus road through people’s gardens.

“At the moment we are in the hands of the bus companies when it comes to getting our kids to school; what we need is some political leadership.”

Councillor Caroline Roberts (Newbridge), Liberal Democrat spokesperson on transport, added:

“The Conservatives are showing once again that they have no answers on transport for B&NES. They are only interested in chasing after government finance for new roads and tarmac, whilst ignoring simple ideas which could make a real difference.”