Working to support the delivery of bus services in National Parks

We think that providing buses in National Parks is really important. If the Parks are to be living and working landscapes that are enjoyed and valued by all, then everyone needs to be able to move around within them.

In May, the Government unveiled the new Bus Services Bill which will give some local authorities new powers to plan and manage the bus services in their area.

While we welcomed some aspects of the Bill, like opening up data on services, we were very disappointed to see that there is no requirement for National Park Authorities to be consulted if local authorities take up the new powers in the Bill. Bus services are vitally important for both residents and visitors in National Parks. It is essential that the bus services currently supported by National Park Authorities and voluntary groups in National Parks are taken into account when planning any changes in an area. As the National Park Authorities are the planning authorities for the Parks, we also believe they are best placed to understand the vision for the area. This needs to be fed into planning for public transport services.


Over the last month we have been briefing members of the House of Lords to make the case for getting National Parks included as statutory consultees in the Bus Services Bill. In late June, the day before the Bill was discussed in Committee Stage, our chief executive, Fiona and our vice President, Lord Judd, had a very constructive meeting with the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, Lord Ahmad.

Although the Bill still has to go through a number of further stages before it is finalised, including being debated in the House of Commons, the debate in the Committee Stage that took place this week was very positive. Lord Ahmad said, “I will now consider how best to ensure that the Bill achieves the objectives outlined by the noble Lord [Judd]…  I will consider what he has proposed.” So we await with interest what the Minister will bring back as an amendment at Report Stage.

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