Sick people in Budleigh area can’t get to medical appointments due to lack of voluntary drivers

“People across Budleigh Salterton are missing vital medical appointments due to of a severe lack of voluntary car drivers.

Transport charity TRIP, which runs Budleigh Voluntary Car Service, has eleven drivers helping out, but most can only do limited times and days.

Neil Hurlock, office manager for the charity, said: “We desperately need more drivers.

“We are turning away several people a week because we have not got drivers.

“We had a case where we had no drivers available one day – this happened two weeks on the trot.”

The car service was created to provide transport by car for disabled people or frail elderly people who struggle to use public transport – either because there is no transport available or because they cannot walk to a bus stop or easily climb on and off a bus.

As well as covering Budleigh, the service extends to residents living in Colaton Raleigh, East Budleigh, Otterton, Woodbury, Woodbury Salterton and Yettington.

Mr Hurlock said a lack of on-call drivers could have serious implications to those relying on the service to get to appointments.

He said: “It means some of our users will not be able to attend medical appointments. If we do not get more drivers, then people are unfortunately going to be continuing to miss appointments.

“That is going to have a knock-on effect on their health because they will not be getting to their appointments at Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

“We want to make sure these people are attending their appointments.”

The voluntary car scheme sees people utilise their own vehicles to help people visit hospitals and go shopping.

Anyone can become a voluntary driver and full training is provided by TRIP.

The charity also offers the opportunity for those interested to attend a ride-along to see if they are suited for the role.

The charity offers 45p a mile in fuel expenses.

For more information, drop into the TRIP offices in New Street, Honiton, or call 01404 46529.”

https://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/voluntary-drivers-needed-in-budleigh-devon-1-6329908

Government has to concede rail privatisation not working

“Northern rail could be renationalised, says transport secretary.

The Northern rail network could be renationalised after years of late and cancelled trains, according to the transport secretary, who said the current franchise cannot continue as it is.

Grant Shapps told the Commons transport select committee that first steps had been taken towards taking the Northern rail network back into public hands. He said he had asked the Northern franchisee, the German-owned Arriva, and the government’s operator of last resort to draw up proposals to improve the service.

Highlighting that barely one in two Northern trains ran on time, Shapps said: “I consider that it cannot continue delivering in the current delivery method.”

He added: “I entirely believe we cannot carry on thinking it is OK for trains not to arrive, or Sunday services not to be in place – that simply has to change.”

His remarks were welcomed by politicians who have criticised the service, whose vast network runs from Newcastle to Leeds, Liverpool, Hull, Manchester and Stoke. Greater Manchester’s mayor, Andy Burnham, said: “After months of misery it is a relief for us to hear government finally accept what we’ve been saying repeatedly, that things can’t carry on as they are.

“Northern passengers will agree with the transport secretary that the current situation of unreliable, overcrowded trains cannot continue. …

Labour said all rail franchises should come under the state’s wing, joining Network Rail. Andy McDonald, the shadow transport secretary, said: “Northern Rail’s incompetent operator should have been stripped of its contract years ago over its abysmal performance record. The government’s refusal to do so has meant massive inconvenience for rail passengers and damage to the region’s economy. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/oct/16/northern-rail-should-be-renationalised-says-grant-shapps-transport-secretary?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Devon “new town” runs out of parking spaces

“Sherford bosses have sought to calm a brewing storm over parking arrangements in the town amid claims there’s not enough spaces available for everyone.

Neighbours say it’s a daily ‘nightmare’ trying to find somewhere legitimate to leave their car overnight in the new-build South Hams town.

Some are even being forced to break a town covenant which bars anyone from leaving their cars on the High Street at night because there’s too many cars per household lining the streets, it’s claimed. …”

https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/plymouth-news/sherford-drivers-say-town-run-3377885

“Give up your car and get free bus pass, transport campaigners say”

“Drivers should get free bus passes if they agree to take a car off the road, campaigners say.

The Campaign for Better Transport says the idea could reverse the trend of declining bus use and help take polluting diesel and petrol cars off our streets.

The idea comes in a “manifesto” – The Future of the Bus – which has gone to the government as part of a national strategy to re-invest in Britain’s most popular form of public transport.

Bus services provide the “backbone” of the local public transport network, but savage cuts are leading to a reduction in bus use and services have shrunk every year for a decade. …”

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/give-up-your-car-free-20068860

Today’s Sunday Times headlines about railways

4 Sunday Times headlines on rail travel:

1. 280,000 commuters have to stand every day on crowded trains.

2. FirstGroup reaped a £50m dividend from Great Western Railway last year, thanks in part to government payouts for disruption on the line. The dividend climbed from £40m a year earlier, as profits were boosted by payments from state-owned track operator Network Rail for hold-ups to line upgrades and maintenance.

3. HS2: The cost of the new rail line is expected to rise from £56bn to about £80bn.

r. … all is far from well at HS2. The future of the new north-south rail line — Europe’s biggest infrastructure project — has been thrown into doubt. One of Boris Johnson’s first acts as prime minister was to launch a review. Soaring costs and repeated scandals have made the line a key target for Johnson and his closest aide, Dominic Cummings.

NINE years of Tory privatisation …

Hinkley C: Beware the consequences of large infrastructure projects

Hinkley Point C brings London-level traffic to small Somerset town.

Air and noise pollution, traffic chaos and rising rents are blighting the Somerset town that has found itself the gateway for the marathon construction of the new Hinkley Point C (HPC) nuclear power station, locals say.

Limits for air pollution have been exceeded on main roads on multiple occasions this year, while Highways England data shows truck numbers have increased by more than 20% since building work started in 2016.

On some roads, two heavy goods vehicles pass through every minute. Not all are delivering to Hinkley but, with no bypass built for the nuclear site, locals say it has made the town unnavigable at times.

Buses transporting 4,000 construction workers to the site add to the traffic – and the influx of workers is pushing up rents. Rat runs are in gridlock and a town that is home to just under 40,000 people is experiencing London-level traffic on some roads.

Friends of the Earth, which looked at the air quality data for 2018 and 2019 provided by the local Sedgemoor district council, said it was concerned about the high incidences of particle matter on some roads.

Data shows that particle matter measuring 10 micrometers (PM10) has exceeded safe limits on Quantock Road 16 times already this year, while on nearby Bristol Road those limits were exceeded 15 times.

The latest data for traffic shows the number of HGVs has increased from 470 a day in 2014 to 900 in 2018 on Quantock Road, the principal artery out of the town to Hinkley.

For nearby Horsey Level, the number of trucks a day is registered at almost 1,500, while on Taunton Road, the main road coming from the M5’s junction 24, residents have to endure 1,050 a day, making it difficult to cross the road and forcing many cyclists on to the paths for their own safety.

HPC says the number of HGVs travelling every day to and from the site is capped at 750.

… Hinkley agreed a fund to fit double-glazed windows on some of the busiest roads in Bridgwater. It says this is a goodwill gesture and not an admission of responsibility for the noise of HGVs.

“EDF have paid to replace all my windows, and it’s made no difference. On a summer’s night, I’m not able to sleep with the windows open at all,” said Balcombe. “I am woken up every morning at 5am from the noise of lorries. And when these lorries are empty the clatter they make is unbelievable with the metal bouncing round.”

HPC points out that the HGV movements will ease in the autumn when it switches supplies to the sea. The jetty is now complete and the permission it got for an extra 250 HGVs a day will expire.

For Bridgwater locals a bypass would have been the answer and helped relieve the town of its perennial traffic problem.

The former Labour councillor Mick Lerry, who was involved in the fight for a bypass, said the attempt was stymied because it was never part of the development consent order submitted by EDF. “As it was not part of the application, it could not be considered,” he said.

The government said it had considered the impact of HGVs on Bridgwater and was satisfied. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/aug/14/hinkley-point-c-london-traffic-bridgwater-somerset?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other