PARENTS in Wharfedale are battling to save vital school bus services which are facing the axe.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) is currently reviewing a number of its Mybus primary school services which do not meet its value for money criteria, including the P98 and P99 which serve All Saints, Ashlands, Ben Rhydding, and Sacred Heart primary schools. It proposes to withdrawn them after the end of the current academic year.

As well as providing a service for children in Ilkley and Ben Rhydding, they also bring in children from Addingham, Burley, and Menston.

In response Ben Rhydding resident David Nunns has launched a petition to save the two local primary school bus services.

The petition notes that nearly 70 children are registered for the services. It says the buses “provide an environmentally friendly, convenient and vital service to residents who need to get their children safely to school” and their withdrawal would increase pollution and lead to additional childcare costs for parents.

Mr Nunns said: “Over the past 40 years as a resident of Ilkley, I have seen Bradford Council approve development after development within the Wharfe valley without any due regard to the provision of new schools and general infrastructure. The provision of this bus service must be retained, and I urge all residents to support this fight to ensure our children’s and grandchildren’s needs are met by signing the online petition.”

District Councillor Andrew Loy (Conservative, Ilkley) commended Mr Nunns for setting up the petition and said: “Many residents rely on our local buses, whether that’s the P98 and P99, or the 962 and X84. It’s vital that we all work together to retain these services, so I urge residents to sign this petition to make their voices heard.”

Councillor Anne Hawkesworth (Ind, Ilkley) said: "I am very concerned about the apparent withdrawal of bus services in Ilkley.

"These school buses are tip of iceberg. Withdrawing these services will mean unnecessary car journeys from Addingham to Ilkley, overloading the A65 and additional parking problems around schools."

Ilkley's MP Robbie Moore said: “The P98 and P99 school bus services provide a crucial service for many children and their families in our community. Their potential withdrawal would only add to the burden of increased local pollution and add to childcare costs in our area. I met with WYCA just last week to raise my concerns and highlight the damaging impact the withdrawal of the service will have. I strongly encourage all residents in Ilkley, Ben Rhydding and Addingham to sign David Nunns’ petition to retain these valuable services."

A West Yorkshire Combined Authority spokesperson said: “We are determined to deliver the best possible start in life for every youngster in the region and that includes getting them safely to and from school.

“We are currently exploring the best way to protect the future of some school bus routes for pupils across parts of West Yorkshire where demand is low. We will ensure that we protect the most vulnerable as we do so.

"No decisions around these services have been taken yet, but record levels of inflation combined with a decade of austerity which destroyed local government budgets, means that we face some difficult decisions from September.”

You can sign the petition on Bradford Council’s website: