Have your say on Derbyshire transport

Derbyshire County Council is launching a consultation on proposed changes to transport for children and young people.

Residents are being asked for their views on changes that will save the authority £700,000 a year.

A proposed new policy has been drawn up which covers:

* Transport to school and other places of learning

* Transport for children aged 16 and over

* Travel to and from school and short breaks for children and young people with disabilities

* Transport for children in care

Coun Mike Longden, the county council’s Cabinet Member for Education, said: “We want to hear the views of as many people as possible.

“The proposed new policy replaces a whole host of documents relating to transport for children which could be confusing.

“We hope that people will find the new policy easier to understand and more accessible.

“It aims to make sure that we are providing a fair service, getting value for money and promoting independence for young people.”

The eight week consultation can be viewed online at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/council?have_your_say

Schools will be encouraged to take part and families of children with special educational needs will receive letters telling them how to give their views.

Foster carers and parents attending parenting courses will also be encouraged to have their say.

Changes in the proposed new policy will see:

* Raising the age limit so that no child in Derbyshire under 11 has to walk up to three miles to school. Nationally the age limit is eight.

* A clearer statement prioritising efficient, cost-effective methods of transport

* Parents of children with special educational needs will provide transport to short breaks of a night or longer

* Foster carers will be paid a mileage rate of 45p a mile for taking children to school and for contact with their parents

* An increase in charges from £190 to £317 a year for children not entitled to free transport who use a spare seat on a vehicle

Coun Longden added: “By raising the age limit for children who walk to school we are benefitting many more families across Derbyshire who will be entitled to free transport.

“I’d like to stress that children who are entitled to help with transport costs will continue to receive help from the county council.

“However, we will continue to ensure that we provide value for money through the use of cost-effective suppliers and careful planning of routes.”

To give their views residents can e-mail nicole.chavaudra@derbyshire.gov.uk or write to Nicole Chavaudra, Room 297, North Block, County Hall, Smedley Street, Matlock, DE4 3AG