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Green Corner


 

 

 

An A-Z of the environment & issues

by Peter Hatswell

 

 

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Q is for Quality Partnerships

This jargon phrase is normally used to describe a group of participants in a scheme to provide the best services to local people. These partnerships can cover areas such as transport, health, prisons and other services which form part of local or national government policy. The relevant authority chooses which partners to work with which can include you ‘the customer’ and also those with technical experience and a financial interest.

Our County Council for example, have a Bus Quality Partnership which attempts to bring together the bus operators, highway providers, bus passengers and environmental groups who have a shared interest in getting people out of cars. This saves energy, reduces pollution, cuts accidents and minimises traffic congestion. Regular meetings are held to reflect on the success or otherwise of the Bus Strategy and to iron out any misunderstandings or to agree remedial action. Unfortunately, the partners sometimes have conflicting aims or a commercial interest which is not in tune with passenger needs. Deregulation of the bus services in our area 12 years ago and rising car ownership has led to a massive loss of bus services and around 50% of our remaining routes are subsidised by Councils.

There is nothing wrong with subsidies provided they are useful and accurately targeted. Bearing in mind the amount of tax that motorist pay for the use of the roads, (of which a large percentage goes into general taxation) the Government should have enough funds to pay the bus operators and supply the public transport infrastructure that is needed to expand the service and achieve the environmental benefits. Currently the Councils are starved of cash for these purposes by HM Treasury or asked to raise it through Local Council Tax.

This is a political issue that can be influenced by individuals and groups by writing letters, sending emails, attending meetings or ‘surgeries’. Our elected representatives have a duty to listen to you and to take quality action. See that they do.

 

National

Friends of the Earth

 

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