ECDC votes against congestion charge



East Cambs District Council calls for halt to Cambridge congestion charge

Plans to implement congestion charging in Cambridgeshire should be stopped and alternative proposals, like improved bus services given a higher priority, according to East Cambridgeshire District Council.

A motion put forward by Conservative councillors at the Full Council meeting on 13 July called on Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA), together with the county council and the Greater Cambridgeshire Partnership (GCP) to cease work on implementing road charging.

It cited the fact 59% of East Cambridgeshire respondents to the Greater Cambridgeshire Partnership’s recent Making Connections consultation opposed the proposed Sustainable Transport Zone as a means of delivering the future transport network. This sentiment was agreed by over half (58%) of respondents overall.

It also expressed concerns the CPCA’s modified plans in response to the feedback would lead to a “serious erosion” of the business model presented in the consultation, which would lead to “increased bureaucracy and cost” for running the scheme. This in turn will mean less funds are available to invest in the future transport network and a failure to deliver much needed bus services and sustainable transport improvements.

Presenting the motion, Councillor Anna Bailey, who leads East Cambridgeshire District Council, said that while 58 percent of all respondents were against the sustainable transport zone, “over 70% of respondents were in favour of the new transport network – with more buses to more locations, cheaper fares and longer operating times supported by better walking and cycling infrastructure to give people faster, clearer and more reliable travel alternatives to the car.”

She added: “We believe the GCP has failed to consider or present alternatives to road charging.”

The motion called for all partners, together with MPs, businesses and organisations across Cambridgeshire to develop alternative proposals that demonstrate public support.

Cllr Bailey added: “Many people rely on traveling to Cambridge for jobs and important services, like healthcare. Instead of being set on charging people, we believe they should focus on the early delivery of multiple small improvements as well as accelerating work on larger projects that can and will encourage people away from private vehicle use.”

If the GCP and its partners refuse to stop work on the implementation of road charging, the district council has urged it to present thorough and detailed costs and feasibility studies for all permutations of the revised scheme under discussion, including necessary arising revisions to the future bus network and sustainable travel improvements.

The motion was passed with 13 votes in favour, 0 votes against and 9 abstentions.