THREE teenagers who are battling to halt the withdrawal of several rural bus routes yesterday took their fight to a meeting of Durham County Council’s cabinet.

Caitlin Brennan, Anna Renfrew and Anisha Harris, all 15, are fighting Arriva’s plans to cut the services in Teesdale, County Durham.

The girls, all pupils at Teesdale School, Barnard Castle, attended the meeting held yesterday at the town’s Bowes Museum to outline their opposition.

They also updated councillors on a petition they have launched against the move, which has so far attracted 857 names. It will be presented to the council next month.

A number of other Teesdale residents also attended to speak out against the loss of the bus routes.

Neil Foster, cabinet member for economic regeneration, is trying to set up a meeting between the teenagers, the council and Arriva to discuss the issue further.

Caitlin, from Cotherstone, near Barnard Castle, said: “Everyone feels really passionate about this. We’ve had a lot of support from local people who have wanted to sign the petition.

“Some people think there are not many people living out here but these people want to get their views heard.

“Without this bus service we’ll struggle to get to sixth form in either Darlington or Barnard Castle.

“I would have to rely on parents, who work full-time, or friends for lifts.

“Elderly people need the bus to get to the doctors or the shops and without it they’ll be totally isolated. We want to get in touch with Arriva to tell it of our concerns.”

From January, Arriva will no longer operate the 95 and 96 services through Teesdale, leaving the villages of Mickleton, Romaldkirk, Cotherstone and Lartington without public transport. The 84 and 85 service will also stop running between Barnard Castle and Darlington via Cockfield.

The company say the services are no longer commercially viable, given the increase in fuel costs, a rise in fuel tax and a 20 per cent cut in the Bus Service Operator Grant next April as part of the Government spending review.

John Fozzard, of Arriva, said: “We’re in discussions to see what can be amended or done to ensure the services continue.”