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Bus lanes, air quality and planning need better consultation by the Labour Council & Tory Government

October 17, 2020 12:15 PM

"Much better public consultation is needed to build consensus on tackling key issues such as the housing shortage and improving air quality," demanded Robert Plimmer, Chair of Slough Lib Dems, in a letter published in the Slough Express on 9th Oct, and the Slough Observer on 16th Oct.

Robert went on to explain how recent events show neither Slough's Labour Council nor the Tory Government seem willing to allow adequate consultation or long-term thinking on topics such as bus lanes or house building.

Bath Road Bus Lane-Robert Plimmer & Matthew Taylor call for proper consultationThousands of Slough residents have called for the Council's A4 bus lane experiment to end. It was rushed in with no consultation when the Labour councillors' running Slough used the money from a Government scheme with apparently tight deadlines. Residents are clear that the extra congestion caused is increasing air pollution.

Robert listed a series of factors the Council should have taken into account and properly consulted about. These include:

1. the very limited number of buses using parts of the A4;

2. the possibility of introducing a park and ride scheme to reduce the traffic prior to forcing virtually all vehicles to use a single lane each way;

3. the future impact of the eventual green number plates; and

4. the potential for relying instead on the earlier bus lane scheme from a few years ago that still runs along the northern service road on the Trading Estate.

Robert wrote to Slough Council asking:

"what has happened to the earlier bus lane scheme that the Council heavily promoted less than four years ago as being intended to run along both the southern and northern service roads through the Trading Estate?

Why was it necessary to introduce additional bus lanes with all the congestion they are creating instead of building on the 2016 scheme?"

But the Tory Government's plans could eventually make Slough's traffic congestion and poor air quality even worse. Applying the Government's methodology Slough Council reportedly needs to agree to an additional 15,460 homes in Slough over the next 16 years. And recently, the Tories announced proposals for new planning laws that will considerably reduce the say that local councils and their residents have over developers' housing applications. Across the country Lib Dem are campaigning against this Tory power grab on planning.

Finally, Robert said:

"I call on Slough Council to halt their experiment now, and go back to the drawing board on bus lanes and start long-term thinking with proper consultation, and I call on local Tories to demand their Government drop its plans to substantially reduce consultation on planning"

The full version of Robert's letter to the Slough Express can be accessed here: Long-term thinking on proper consultation