CAMPAIGNERS are set to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner over a council’s failure to provide details relating to a £120,000 government grant given to develop new models of transport for rural areas.

Former bus firm managing director Barry Connor and other North Yorkshire villagers have taken the step against North Yorkshire County Council, who they believe should be doing more to help develop travel solutions for many areas in the county where commercial services are not viable.

The complaint comes ahead of the council’s transport, economy and environment scrutiny committee agreeing to examine campaigners’ allegations that the authority has mis-spent government grants to develop rural transport services.

The campaigners said the council received £120,000 from the government for a pilot scheme to integrate non-emergency NHS patient transport with public transport between 2015 and 2017, which created savings of £200,000.

However, they said an internal council email had revealed the council only spent half of the grant it was awarded for the project, and the balance was transferred into its community transport budget.

Campaigner Barry Connor said the final straw had been the council’s inability to explain how the £200,000 savings had been achieved, despite telling the government it would set up a project board to oversee the pilot scheme.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request from Mr Connor a council spokeswoman said the authority held no records about how the savings were achieved.

Ian Fielding, assistant director for waste and countryside services, said: “We recognise our duties when it comes to requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act and endeavour at all times to provide answers in an open and honest way. In this case we would be pleased to explain so to the Office of the Information Commissioner if required.”