ONE of the difficulties - as well as one of the benefits - of living in this part of the world lies in the remoteness of our communities.

Travelling round the countryside, part of the beauty of the villages is in the setting of such spectacular landscape around them. It’s that very thing that draws visitors from all round the world.

It’s also the very thing that can cause residents - particularly the elderly, the vulnerable, those who don’t drive, those caught up in rough weather for example - to feel socially isolated, lonely and cut off.

That’s why the plea for better rural bus services from the region’s new Bishop, Helen-Ann Hartley, reported in today’s Craven Herald, is so resonant.

She is right that public transport links - or lack of them - are a crucial issue around the region.

And she is right that accessible transportation is an issue of ‘social justice’ - that such provision is reflective of a fair and kind society of the type we should be striving for in Britain today.

It’s undeniable that local authorities are facing horrific funding shortfalls, and that bus companies need to be economically viable.

But Bishop Helen-Ann is correct to warn that the people who make decisions on local bus services must carefully weigh the hugely-significant social effects of their policies.