I agree that that should happen, but the amendment would ensure that, as part of the process, town and parish councils were statutory consultees.
If we are to create sustainable public transport networks, with the aim of providing greater access to services and facilities for people living in rural communities and, in the long term, reducing reliance on the car, transport schemes and local transport plans must be created with reference to the social and economic needs of local communities. It is essential that, when creating local transport plans, local authorities undertake accessibility planning. There is a need for more flexibility in the types of transport provided and for more demand-responsive services, such as minibus routes for a number of individuals in remote areas.
The appropriate planning of transport schemes and strategies in rural areas has the potential to rejuvenate communities and provide an essential lifeline for villages that do not have ready access to key services and facilities, thereby ensuring their sustainability. The Bill must take account of the needs of rural communities and those who live and work in the countryside, which is why it is vital to ensure proper consultation with that smallest form of government.