Focus: Policy and Politics - Question Time - Peter Lampl, chairman, Sutton Trust

Why do you want school buses in the UK?

Nearly 20 per cent of the traffic on UK roads during morning rush hour is on the school run, and this is increasing.

It contributes more than two million extra tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

Only 6 per cent of children take school buses in the UK - in the US, it is 50 per cent. It has a social cost too, because although well-off families have an average of two cars, some cannot afford to drive their children to a school too far away from their home.

Are you lobbying the Government on this issue?

We produced a report in June calling on the Government to include plans for a national network of dedicated school buses in the Education Bill.

The report recommends that during weekends and half term local education authorities should seek agreement with the local authority or voluntary bodies to use yellow buses for community activities in return for a small fee. We had a very good response from ministers Ruth Kelly and Jacqui Smith. We are also thinking about setting up a parliamentary group.

What is the Government's position?

It has been actively encouraging yellow bus pilot schemes in the UK.

In 2004, this led to the School Transport Bill, which would have allowed local authorities to adopt new approaches to home-to-school transport, but would have stopped short of a national network - we think there should be a compulsory requirement for local authorities to provide school buses.

The Bill didn't go through because of the election, but it's likely to be incorporated in the Education Bill in October.

Is the Education Bill likely to include such a requirement?

The outcome is likely to be somewhere in the middle between where we are now and what we are asking.

Who supports you in Parliament?

Barry Sheerman, chairman of the Education Select Committee, and Damian Green, the former Shadow Secretary of State for Education.

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