THE council’s education chief has hit back after the local authority was slammed for making changes to school bus transport provisions.
The council officially ratified its plans to alter the entitlement for free transport for secondary school children from those living within a two mile radius of their school to three miles at a meeting earlier this month prompting an angry response from local campaigners.
However, the council’s head of education, Lynn Sherry, insists the matter was not taken lightly blaming falling council income and an increasing demand for services.
She said: “As part of the council’s efficiency programme, it was proposed to increase the qualification for entitlement to free mainstream school transport for secondary pupils from ‘more than two miles’ to ‘more than three miles’, in line with national requirements.
“The statutory consultation period, which gave people the opportunity to put forward their views on the proposed change, is now closed and we will now consider the responses received before producing a final report on the matter.
“In terms of the concerns received about road safety, it is worth highlighting that the council will of course continue with its criteria for evaluating safe-walking routes, with the child being accompanied by a responsible adult, by using the West of Scotland Road Safety Forum Guidelines.
“We are also aware of other concerns being expressed by some parents and will consider them before making any final decision.”
The council has put a number of ‘safe walking routes’ on its website. However, that has not included a number of routes pupils would take including the likes of Kirkfieldbank Brae. Campaigner Julia Marrs is organising a protest march from Kirkfieldbank Primary to Lanark Grammar on Saturday, June 27, at 8.45am.