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Countryside Matters
Burning Issues

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2005

Index

Rural Proofing!

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Rural Cash Machine Charges

A recent report, by the Nationwide Building Society, shows that in the West Country the majority of cash machines are now fee charging. The figures are among the highest in the country with nearly 890 charging to access cash against 760 non-charging machines. (Only Plymouth has a majority of free machines and that is only by 13.)

Concern is being expressed by MPs and others at the fees and the sell off of free machines to fee charging organisations. Most fee charging machines are in village shops and garages, filling the vacuum left as banks have closed their rural branches. The banks agreed not to make charges after public outcry 5 years ago. They continue to maintain free machines in the cities because, they say, they are easier to maintain and increasingly used. What happened to 'Rural Proofing'?

See the original article from 2002 'Rural Proofing' - Cash machines

Customers of some banks are able to withdraw money from Post Offices, but many of these are closing too. Why should we pay to get our own money? If there is no free machine in your village then maybe using a bank which has an arrangement with the Post Office will give you free access to your cash and help to keep your local Post Office open. The other alternatives are:-
reverting to payment by cheque, not everyone accepts 'plastic';
or doing a minimal shop in the supermarket and using the 'cash-back' facility.

One thing is certain - if we pay to get our cash without protest all machines will soon be fee-charging

T.W./V.E. Brighton February 2005

Railways
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Railways

Campaigners are concerned over plans to close regional offices and dismiss 150+ rail service monitors. At present there are 6 regional Rail Passenger Committees (RPC) which act as independent voices for passengers. These will be wound up under the Railways Bill which is currently going through Parliament. The campaigners fear that rail closures will follow. At present the RPCs are required to report on rail closures that might cause 'local hardship' but the new proposed national board, of Ministerial appointees, will not have that statutory obligation. This will leave rural areas without a voice at national level and raises yet again the fears that many rural lines will close (see Rural Proofing? May 2002) or become the responsibility of local authorities as 'community' lines. This would then lead to closure if adequate funding was not provided from the Government. Members of Transport 2000 and of the South West Public Transport Forum have expressed their concern at the proposals.

Lines under threat, in the Westcountry, are the route from Exmouth to Barnstaple, the Tamar Valley, St Erth to St Ives and Newquay to Par lines.

If the countryside is to thrive for both residents and for tourists we need our branch lines to be given proper attention and funding. That is best achieved by those who know the areas concerned rather than some-one in London. 'Rural proofing'?

Cash machines
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Burning Issues 2002
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2003
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See also
Food for Thought 2002
and
2003