Unanimous backing for free school bus travel
Chair, Councillor Mark Dowd, has received unanimous backing for his
campaign for a national free bus fare scheme for schoolchildren.
Councillor Dowd, Chair of the Passenger Transport Authorities’
Special Interest Group (PTA SIG) is the driving force behind the
bid, which would enable every child aged 16 and under in England to
travel to and from school for nothing. Now, every 1 of the 6
Passenger Transport Authorities in the UK, serving more than 13
million people and with a combined budget of over £1 billion a year,
have signed up to the proposal.
Following yesterday’s crunch meeting of all of the UK’s PTA’s in
Glasgow Councillor Dowd said:- “Having the unanimous backing
of all the PTAs gives us a great platform to take this campaign to
the next level. Now we’ll put our concerted joint efforts to
working out the detailed nuts and bolts of a scheme, ready to take
to the government.
This is a scheme for parents, as well as children across the UK and
the benefits could be huge. All of the PTAs are convinced this
is something that is deliverable and could help millions of families
across the country. It could save parents with families
millions of pounds, encourage more young people to use public
transport and take cars off our roads during peak time rush hours.”
The PTA SIG is regarded as one of the UK’s most influential public
transport pressure groups and brings together all 6 Passenger
Transport Authorities in England. Merseytravel is the
Passenger Transport Authority and Executive for Merseyside.
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Tagging sheep worth £2 just doesn't add up
MEPs fight to save farmers from "astronomically expensive"
Electronically tagging sheep worth just £2 would place an "astronomically
expensive" burden on UK sheep farmers.
Conservative MEPs have tabled amendments to a report on electronic
identification of sheep and goats, calling for tagging to be
voluntary rather than compulsory and a cost-benefit analysis to be
conducted before the system is introduced.
The legislation was expected to come into force on 1 January 2008,
but the European Commission has said wider stakeholder discussion is
necessary before a final date for electronic identification can be
On 10 December, the Agriculture Committee voted in favour of
delaying the introduction until the end of 2009 and the European
Parliament will have its say on the 13 December. But Conservative
MEPs argue UK farmers would still struggle with the costs involved
in two years time.
Sir Robert Atkins, MEP for the North West of England, said:-
"It would be a real burden on UK sheep farmers if this legislation
goes through now, even with the slight delay until 2010. We are
simply not there yet with the technology needed to make this work.
Cast ewes are worth only £2 in some parts of the UK, so how can
farmers afford to tag them with microchips and purchase expensive
readers? It is simply not feasible. The sheer number of sheep
in the UK, combined with our specific topography, do not permit us
to even contemplate such an astronomically costly system at this
point in time."