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August 4, 2018 8:00 PM

.Ludlow South Shropshire Councillor Vivienne Parry has called on the Ministry of Transport to urgently rethink its proposed threat to voluntary drivers as it emerged that the voluntary sector is the play a big part in the new health structure in the County.

Cllr Parry said "Future Fit is currently developing its transport strategy for the new health care structure in the County. Given the very rural nature of our County and the repeated cutbacks in bus services, minibus and car services run by voluntary organisations are going to play an integral part in this strategy. Unfortunately these very services are threatened by a initiative by the Department of Transport which could impact drastically on the number of voluntary drivers available."

The Department of Transport announced in April that it is carrying out a consultation to determine whether drivers need to be reclassified as commercial drivers. This would mean having to take additional training at considerable cost and also have a significant impact on insurance costs. *

Cllr Parry concluded "Its time for Shropshire Council and our MPs to redouble their efforts on this issue. Lack of joined up thinking like this could derail plans to improve healthcare reform not just in Shropshire but across England.

" Quite apart from the health debate many, many people, especially the elderly are dependent on the services of Dial a Ride and voluntary cars to get around. With many cuts to rural bus services they will be needed more than ever. In the Ludlow area alone I know of the Community Bus run by Age UK the ,Rotary Bus and the Ludlow Traveller that may be affected by this measure."

Cllr Parry is urging residents to write to their MP and Shropshire Councillors to put pressure on the Government before this poorly thought out measures deals a body blow to voluntary bus services