More than 23,000 respond to Cambridge congestion charge plan

Traffic queuing on a Cambridge road

The plans aim to cut traffic in Cambridge by half and create a “London-style” bus network

More than 23,000 people have given their views about plans to charge motorists to drive into and around Cambridge.

The charge would be at least £5 and pay for a £50m expansion of Cambridgeshire’s bus network, as well as walking and cycling upgrades.

A consultation into the proposals closed at 12:00 on Friday.

Officials at the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP), which put forward the idea, will now analyse the results.

The GCP said it had never before received so many responses to a consultation.

More than 23,000 people completed an online survey about the plans and another 900 emails were sent to the GCP during the 10-week exercise.

Elisa Meschini, a Cambridgeshire county councillor who also chairs the GCP’s executive board, said: “There has never been a more important time for us to find ways to create and provide a modern transport network that is fit for our growing and thriving region, so I would like to thank the thousands of people that contributed to the debate over the last 10 weeks.

“It has been incredibly important to us to hear from as many residents, businesses, voluntary groups and organisations as possible so to have had 23,000 surveys completed reflects the wide nature of the engagement.”

A No Cambridge Congestion Charge banner

The plans have prompted debate across the city and more than 100 public meetings have been held during the consultation

Under the plans, the GCP say a “London-style” bus network would be paid for by charging drivers entering or driving around a “Sustainable Travel Zone”.

The proposed zone includes most of the city, as well as Addenbrooke’s Hospital, but does not include park and ride sites.

The charges would apply between 07:00 and 19:00 on weekdays and include low and zero emission vehicles.

On Wednesday, South East Cambridgeshire’s Conservative MP Lucy Frazer said she “cannot support the GCP proposals”.

In a blog post she said a survey she had run highlighted concern at Addenbrooke’s being included in the charging zone.

Supporters of the proposals carrying a Yes to Better Buses banner

Rallies have been held in support of and against the proposals

She wrote: “The GCP proposals would leave large numbers of my constituents worse off and fundamentally, the GCP plans would charge people for driving their vehicles into Cambridge and parts of South Cambridgeshire without offering them a viable different option.”

In its response, Huntingdonshire District Council asked the GCP to remove the hospital from the charging zone.

But it also added: ” [We] welcome the introduction of measures that have the potential to improve sustainable travel across Cambridgeshire and specifically enhance economic opportunities in Huntingdonshire through improved connectivity.”

Cambridgeshire County Council has the final say over whether the proposals are adopted.

The GCP board is due to discuss the results of the consultation at a meeting in June but says conversations about “potential exemptions, discounts and reimbursements” will continue.

At the meeting in June the board will also decide whether to recommend that the county council implements the scheme.

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