By Harry Mottram: New mother to seven month old Ted, Larkhall resident, and a Senior Marine Consultant for a firm in Timsbury with a Degree in Environmental Science Elena Maher is more than qualified as a member of the Green Party to discuss some of the issues facing Bath – not least of all the bus crisis.
“Following consultation with First Bus it has been announced that several bus routes in Bath and North East Somerset could be cancelled with timetables stripped back,” she said, “obviously there are huge issues with funding and finding enough drivers at the moment, but it is something we can’t compromise on.
“It’s not just the economy that is affected but also the environment and buses are lifelines for people who need to get to work.
“They are vital for people who don’t have or can’t afford cars and for people who have made the decision to not to use cars for environmental reasons.”
She said the result was to force more people to use their cars creating increased congestion and pollution.
“Bath wasn’t designed for today’s traffic,” she continued, “but it is really complex as people do need access if they have mobility problems.
“But we do need to move away from the idea that everywhere is accessible for everyone by car.
“Recently in the Netherlands there was a big football match where every spectator arrived by foot, bus or bike.
“That’s where we need to go and have a more holistic view.
“If you walk down London Road as I do with my child it is not nice.
“The pollution from all those vehicles is not good as air quality is very poor.”
Petitions and community campaigns have paid off with the reversal by First Bus of the scrapping of plans to axe the 173 service between Wells and Bath.
An online petition is currently gathering signatures to oppose the scrapping of the Number 2 bus and the 22 service connecting the city centre and Combe Down while there is concern about the D2 bus service to Frome which could end this autumn.
Another key issue for Bath and the whole country is that of energy and energy conservation.
Elena has a fairly basic and economical plan which would cut energy bills overnight and doesn’t involve building more power plants.
“We really need to insulate our homes properly,” she said, “all new properties should be insulated and have solar panels fitted.
“The same should be for all council properties as it shouldn’t take the current cost of living crisis for us to reduce our gas and electric bills.
“We saw the Government’s Green Grants that were introduced but then cancelled meaning many people didn’t get a chance to apply for them.”
Ella is also keen on the introduction of a Green Energy Hub in Bath to showcase all the ways residents can cut their energy use and bills with alternative ideas which are fast becoming mainstream.
From a heavy curtain over a front door to cut draughts to recycling rainwater from gutters into garden tubs for watering plants.
Funding for insulation she said is the key along with free advice.
or more on Bath visit http://www.harrymottram.co.uk/bath-voice/bath-news/6
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