PR: Bathampton Meadows Alliance invite Abbey Ward by-election candidates to visit Bathampton Meadows

 Campaigners against an eastern Park & Ride have said they would like to invite all candidates in the Abbey Ward by-election to come and see for themselves what is at stake if the council presses ahead with a plan to build a 1,400 Park & Ride on Bathampton Meadows. The invitation comes after Conservative candidate, Lizzie Gladwyn, earlier this week alleged that opponents of the plan were ‘re-packaging’ some ‘flat featureless fields next to a by-pass as meadows’.
 Bathampton resident, and spokesperson for the Bathampton Meadows Alliance which is campaigning against the Park & Ride, Fiona Meldrum said: “We would like to invite Ms Gladwyn, and all the candidates, to come and see what an important part Bathampton Meadows play in the landscape and the green setting of Bath, which is why they have been defended by both the National Trust and the Bath Preservation Trust, the custodians of our heritage.”
 “The Meadows are one of Bath’s oldest landscapes. People have grazed their animals here since Bronze Age times, and they’re loved by people both in the city and the villages. Of the more than 13,000 people who have signed the petition to save Bathampton Meadows, a third come from central Bath postcodes.”
 Ms Meldrum said: “We understand that many voters in Bath are angry at the lack of action, as Ms Gladwyn said, and frankly so are we. But even the council now acknowledges that a Park & Ride will not solve Bath’s current traffic and pollution problem. Instead, we need a reasoned and informed debate on what is one of the most important issues facing our city, and to work together to come up with something that does work.”
 Research shows that Park & Rides encourage more people to use their cars, and they are no longer part of official government policy on tackling air pollution. Official BANES data also shows that existing Park & Rides in Bath on an average day are only around half full. BANES has acknowledged that the proposed Park & Ride will not make a difference to traffic or pollution coming into the city. However, it has said that the £12-million development is needed to cope with future demand.
 Campaigners argue that there are better, far more cost-effective ways to tackle air quality in the city which have been successfully used elsewhere. Ms Meldrum said: “This is too important to be a party political issue. We must all come up with practical, effective measures to reduce pollution now, not at some point in the future. Our children’s health is at stake.”