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Durham MP presents parents' school safety petition to Parliament
A PARENTS’ school safety campaign has gone all the way to Parliament, after an MP presented their petition to the House of Commons.
Hundreds of people have signed a letter calling on the Government to tighten guidelines on what makes a safe walking route to school.
Durham City MP Roberta Blackman-Woods put the petition to the Commons on Tuesday night (January 29). It has now gone to the Department for Education and the MP has pledged to write to ministers in an effort to ensure parents’ concerns are addressed as soon as possible.
Dr Blackman-Woods said: “The fact that so many people have signed this petition shows what a hugely important issue it is.
“I was very pleased to be able present this petition to Parliament and will continue to urge the Government to address the concerns that have been raised.”
The campaign involves parents in Sherburn Village, Sherburn Hill and West Rainton who are angry that, responding to Government grant cuts, Durham County Council cut home-to-school transport funding, meaning children must live at least three miles from their secondary school to receive a free bus pass.
Previously, the cut-off point was two miles.
The change, which came into effect initially for year seven pupils only last September, is thought to affect about 26 families across the three villages whose children attend Belmont Community School.
Parents in the Sherburns say the route their children are expected to walk is unsafe as it includes The Scrambles, an open area which council transport chief Adrian White previously said he would not want to send an 11-year-old child of his down because of safety concerns.
West Rainton families are unhappy because their route involves walking next to the A690.
The campaigners say “safe routes” should have to be lit, should not be too isolated and should be safe for children to walk unaccompanied.
Dr Blackman-Woods said a number of groups from around the country had been in touch to say they were facing similar problems.
“Clearly this is a nationwide issue the Government must address,” the MP said.