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How we beat Zero Carbon mania in Cambridge, Ian Black how CRG won campaign against congestion charge

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Published on 14 Apr 2024 / In News and Politics

Cambridge congestion charge plans 'are not going ahead'
6 September 2023

The congestion charge proposals have divided Cambridge residents

By Ben Schofield Political Correspondent, BBC East

Plans to charge drivers to use roads in Cambridge will not go ahead, according to the leader of the city council.

The Labour group on the council voted to withdraw support for the proposals and said it was worried about the "impact on low income families".

Its move follows concerns raised by Liberal Democrats in Cambridgeshire.

Plans to charge motorists at least £5 to drive into or around the city in peak times were due to be discussed at a meeting on Thursday.

Under revised plans the charge would have raised around £26m a year and helped pay for an expansion of the bus network.

'Rug was pulled'

Councillor Mike Davey, Labour leader of Cambridge City Council, said there were parts of the proposals, known as Making Connections, his group supported but others it did not.

But, he added, the "rug was pulled" after the Liberal Democrats said they had "further concerns".

Asked how "dead" the plans were, Mr Davey said: "They are not going to go ahead.

"There were bits we liked and bits we remained concerned about.

"Sustainable travel has not gone away – something is going to have to happen.

"Something will have to go ahead because we have a problem with congestion in this city, which is only going to get worse."
'Fundamental conundrum'
Mike DaveyImage source, Ben Schofield/BBC
Image caption,
Mike Davey, Labour leader of Cambridge City Council, said "something" was still needed to help ease congestion and boost public transport

He said his group planned to work closely with the directly-elected Labour Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to improve public transport, especially buses.

The Greater Cambridge Partnership's Joint Assembly, which offers advice to its executive board, was due to meet on Thursday to discuss the plans. The executive board was due to meet on 28 September.

"We need to work with our colleagues – both officers and politicians – to see if we can find an alternative," Mr Davey added.

He accepted that the issue of "how do you afford buses if [congestion] charging goes" will "come back again".

"We all want to go shopping and nobody wants to pay for the things that we have bought," he said.

"It's how do you address that fundamental conundrum, bearing in mind we face a climate emergency and growth in this city."

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