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CHILD SAFETY-BELT LAW GETS COUNCILS IN A TWIST

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Councils across Wales are trying to flout new school transport safety laws in order to save money, the Western Mail...
Councils across Wales are trying to flout new school transport safety laws in order to save money, the Western Mail reports (p1).

Safety campaigners are accusing local authorities of circumventing department of transport regulations, which come into effect on February 10 and require seat belts to be fitted on coaches carrying children - additions that could cost authorities thousands of pounds

However, vehicles classed as buses are exempt, and some councils are side-stepping the legislation by fitting speed limiters on coaches so that they can be reclassified.

Pembrokeshire CC has already approved the fitting of speed limiters rather than seatbelts. A spokesman for the council said it was committed to offering the safest school transport, and that its policy fully complied with the law.

Neath & Port Talbot CBC education director Viv Thomas said councillors were exploring every option. 'Safety is paramount but we just haven't got the cash for this and a price must be paid', he said. ' We have costed this at£300,000. The education budget would be hit and teachers' jobs could be lost'.
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