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Opinion: Road wars is ‘chicken and egg’

We currently have a chicken and egg situation here in Cambridgeshire.

There are two powerful local authorities determined to get us out of our cars and onto public transport, our own two legs, or a bicycle.

And we have one less powerful one promising to do everything it can to allow us to use our cars as freely as we need or want.

I have sympathies with both sides.

I am utterly in favour of more people using public transport, walking, and cycling, but I am also fully aware of just how vital owning a car is, if you live in the rural parts of our county.

Cambridgeshire County Council and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority are trying to introduce policies and schemes to reduce car use on our roads and streets.

Fantastic, there is a need for more of us to leave the car at home and use a greener alternative. Not least because it will make the air we breathe less polluted, and hopefully in the long run play a small part in saving our planet from global warming.

But here is where the chicken and egg situation comes in.

Public transport links in our county, and frankly across the country, are so haphazard and also comparatively expensive, that they offer little allure to those blessed with owning a car.

Why would you risk taking a bus to wherever it is you want to go if there is a strong possibility it will either be late, or in some circumstances cancelled, or you will be faced with a lengthy wait for a bus home? The same goes for the trains.

Services are changed or cancelled at the drop of the hat and that makes them of little use to those wanting a reliable way of getting about, and as I have previously pointed out they are expensive.

Don’t get me wrong, an outing in the car can prove just as difficult with roadworks everywhere and congestion too – especially as there is very limited dual carriageway in our area.

Fun fact the only piece of dual carriageway that comes officially under Fenland District is Churchill Road in Wisbech – and we all know how that can get backed up.

Fenland District Council has agreed a motion that will see it fight what it has labelled the “war on motorists” by the two more senior authorities for our area.

And again I sympathise. Councillors are right to stand up for car ownership in rural areas where we have very few buses and our largest town still doesn’t have a rail link – or let’s be honest even a glimmer of one despite years and years of campaigning.

So while the fight to get us out of our cars must start somewhere, it may be a little premature because the alternatives for a large part of Cambridgeshire are not yet there for people to use – as I said a chicken and egg situation.

How you solve that is hard to imagine, as basically, it will require frankly mind-blowing sums of money to get everything in place and then it will require a massive change of attitude from drivers – so good luck with that…

I can not imagine the pain of losing a child at any age or under any circumstances, but there is something even sadder bout the death of a baby.

How parents cope I don’t know, as there is always so much excitement and anticipation about the new arrival that makes the loss that much harder.

This is why reading the story of a March couple who lost their baby at five days old was heartbreaking, especially when the tragedy could have been avoided.

Mother’s intuition is often regarded as a bit of a cliche – but I truly believe it is much more than that.

If a mother has a feeling something is wrong then they should be taken seriously, because nine times out of 10 they are right.

We all have intuition or as some call it a ‘gut feeling’ about things and if we listen and are honest, I think most would agree that feeling is usually right.

So when Kirsty Birkenshaw told doctors she had a feeling things were not right with her unborn baby, Scarlett, she should have been listened to.

Something the North West Anglia NHS Trust has admitted through its lawyers after an investigation into Scarlett’s death.

That acknowledgment is too late for Scarlett, but I truly hope lessons have been learned and that the next time an expectant mum says she has a ‘feeling’ something is not right with her baby she is taken seriously...

It’s a long time ago now – but I remember the excitement of receiving my first pay packet, and how I spent it entirely on myself and things I really coveted.

So how wonderful is it that one young man has chosen to spend his first one on helping a good cause?

I know that ticking a skydive off his to-do list was something 18-year-old Ryan Barnes wanted to do.

But that does not detract from the fact that he spent his entire first wages from his job as an apprentice with Anglian Water to complete a parachute jump in aid of Fenland schoolboy Hunter Martin.

The escapade, which will happen later this month, in fact, cost more than he earned so he had to dip into his savings too.

So I say well done Ryan and I really hope you enjoy the adrenaline rush...

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