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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 June 2007, 15:39 GMT 16:39 UK
Bus rules 'deeply disappointing'
A school coach

Campaigners say plans to improve safety on school transport in Wales are "deeply disappointing".

The proposals include a code of conduct for behaviour on buses and more free transport for primary school children.

Stuart's Campaign, set up after the death of Stuart Cunningham-Jones, 12, said it wanted "tougher and legally binding" school transport contracts.

Transport Minister Brian Gibbons, who will consult with the group, called the proposals an important step forward.

The group had called for a seat with a safety belt for every child, and escorts and CCTV on buses.

It also said "elderly and fuel-inefficient buses" should not be used.

There are too many vital omissions
Chris Howard, Stuart's Campaign chair

In addition, the group argued for the end of a so-called "three-for-two concession", where two seats were provided for every three pupils, should end.

Stuart died in 2002 when a bus from his school to his home in the Vale of Glamorgan crashed.

Campaign group chair Chris Howard said the measure "misses the bus by a long way".

Mr Howard said: "Last year the assembly accepted 29 recommendations from its own policy review intro school bus safety and in October accepted a motion to ensure that every child using school transport has a seatbelt.

"This statement of intent deals with only a few of them.

"There are too many vital omissions".

'Further progress'

Dr Gibbons said: "I believe that requiring authorities to make suitable arrangements in terms of safety and other issues - and backing that with statutory guidance as provided for in the measure, will enable us to achieve significant progress.

"However, we need to recognise that neither the executive nor the legislation competence for vehicle safety, construction and operation has been devolved from the Department of Transport to the assembly government.

"If the case is made during consultation that further progress should be sought through a further transfer of powers and a further measure, then we will consider that case - but that is not a reason for us not legislating now within our existing powers," he added.




SEE ALSO
Stricter school bus controls call
04 May 06 |  South East Wales

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