From Trish Marsh, published 19 July 2018
Herefordshire looks set to be squeezed over transport choices due to bus service cuts and an anticipated rise in fuel duty.
A new national report – ‘Buses in Crisis’ – shows Herefordshire is hardest hit in the West Midlands following 31.25% cuts to council funding of bus services from 2010/11. Shropshire made 3.8% cuts to buses, Worcestershire 11% and Staffordshire 20%.
Many of our rural residents, young people and the elderly bear the brunt. The number of our residents aged over 65 is 24 per cent above the national average and rising. At a time when people might otherwise think of giving up their car because of costs and health reasons car use here is increasing.
A shrinking public transport network means more cars on our roads, more problems in meeting environmental goals and health risks for residents unfortunate enough to live near traffic pollution hotspots.
Herefordshire Council must act to prevent further bus losses and join other councils to vigorously make the case to Central Government for a new deal on public transport. Last year local-authority bus budgets were slashed by £20 million due to lack of government funding.
Yet at the same time more than £50 BILLION is being spent on the widely criticised HS2 vanity project which will cause major environmental damage and benefit few. (The Institute of Economic Affairs says there is “no economic case” for HS2).
Money would be better invested in local public transport services in Herefordshire and across the country.
Councillor Trish Marsh,
Green group leader,