Congestion charge is not the answer, say District Councillors

26 January 2017

Councillors in South Cambridgeshire have reaffirmed today (Thursday 26 January) that a congestion charge is not the answer to solve transport problems in and around Cambridge.

A motion backed by councilors at a Full Council meeting of South Cambridgeshire District Council saw the authority reiterate its opposition to a congestion charge, on grounds that it would selectively penalise those residents in South Cambridgeshire who currently have no realistic alternative to using the car.

Cllr David Bard, local member for Sawston on South Cambridgeshire District Council, proposed the motion which was seconded by Deputy Leader, Cllr Wright.

Cllr Wright said: “A congestion charge is simply not the answer and I am very pleased councillors have backed this motion today. It once again puts a very clear marker down that this Council will not support this draconian measure. Lots of the congestion is from people making trips within the city and a charge would penalise our residents who may not have any genuine alternative other than driving into Cambridge.”

Cllr Francis Burkitt, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for the Greater Cambridge City Deal and the City Deal’s Vice-Chair, said: “Because of my dual role, I didn’t take any part in this debate, but I am of course interested in the views of South Cambridgeshire Councillors and the Council, which I will pass on to my fellow City Deal board members.  These views support and are entirely consistent with the Board’s decision to focus on other measures to tackle the City and District’s transport issues, as indeed we discussed yesterday at our Board meeting.

“For the District, I have been actively pursuing the idea of creating transport hubs in South Cambridgeshire through the City Deal. These would help connect our villages to high quality and quick public transport links into the city.  I also support the “Greenways” plan for lots of cycle paths radiating out from the City to neighbouring villages, provided they can be designed in sympathy with the rural environment.

“The Board approved further work on a Workplace Parking Levy at the meeting this week and, whilst I of course regret any levy, it will raise much-needed revenue which could, for example, help reintroduce the rural bus services lost recently, and indeed fund more bus routes running earlier, later and more frequently, either to and from the City, or between villages.”

The Greater Cambridge City Deal is a partnership between South Cambridgeshire District Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridge City Council, the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership and the University of Cambridge.