MPs conflict in BBC Politics East debate

Motion is required to resolve transport issues in Cambridge however plans for a metropolis congestion cost faces opposition, a BBC Politics East debate has been advised.

the Better Cambridge Partnership (GCP) – a physique that features three native councils, companies and the College of Cambridge – has proposed what it calls a sustainable journey zone, overlaying a lot of the metropolis.

Automobiles that drive within the zone between 07:00 and 19:00 on weekdays must pay a day by day cost of at the very least £5.

The cash raised shall be used to pay for a £50m bus community growth, aiming to create a “London-style” service, in addition to bettering infrastructure for strolling and biking.

Map showing the proposed Cambridge congestion charge zone

Map exhibiting the proposed Cambridge congestion cost zone

The BBC Politics East debate, held at The Perse Faculty in Cambridge, included representatives of the Conservative Get together, Inexperienced Get together, Labor and Lib Dems. An invited viewers was additionally current.

Peter Blake, GCP transport director, mentioned: “We stay in a really profitable atmosphere. It is an important place to stay, work and get educated.”

What GCP say the plans would result in

  • An additional 20,000 journeys made by bus

  • The variety of automotive journeys in Cambridge lower by 50%

  • Carbon emissions from transport lowered by about 5%

  • 10,000 further park and experience areas offered across the metropolis

However that has created “challenges” round congestion and its influence on the atmosphere.

“These are the potential options,” he mentioned.

He mentioned the important thing ingredient to the proposals was to “considerably” enhance the bus community, making it “an terrible lot cheaper” and extra dependable.

Roxanne De Beaux, government director of Camcycle, supported the plans.

She mentioned: “We want the sustainable journey zone to scale back the variety of automobiles on our roads and supply the house and funding we have to enhance our public transport and our strolling and biking infrastructure.

“We want fairer selections for all, it doesn’t matter what type of transport they select. If not now, then when? It is time to create a sustainable journey zone for Cambridge.”

Mom Lucy Kingsford, 22, from Hauxton, close to Cambridge, opposes the plans and mentioned the cost would go away her and her son “socially remoted”.

“I stay simply outdoors Cambridge with my son Leo and I’ve to drive into town day by day to go to work, to see my family and friends, to take my son to nursery,” she mentioned.

“I couldn’t afford to pay the congestion on daily basis and this would go away me and Leo actually socially remoted.”

When requested by an viewers member whether or not he supported the plan, Daniel Zeichner, Labor MP for Cambridge, mentioned: “I need a reworked transport system for this metropolis.

“Persons are spending 65 hours a yr caught in visitors jams in Cambridge. What a waste of time and harm to the atmosphere, harm to individuals making an attempt to get to work and small companies.

“We have now an opportunity to have a transport system match for this metropolis. Everyone knows that for therefore lengthy this metropolis has struggled with transport.

“We want a brand new bus system that’s low-cost, dependable and that individuals can imagine in. I believe it’s value having a attempt.”

Lucy Frazer, the Conservative MP for South East Cambridgeshire, mentioned: “I am completely towards the cost due to the influence it may have on my constituents who’ve completely no different to get into Cambridge, aside from by utilizing their automobiles.

“They’ll be charged when there isn’t any different. I’ve spoken to companies which might be actually involved concerning the influence on their clients and on their workers.

“I’ve spoken to individuals who work throughout the well being sector, at Addenbrooke’s [Hospital] who’re involved about workers who work there and individuals who use the companies, who’re going to be charged.”

A road works sign on one of the main roads into and out of Cambridge

Drivers could be charged at the very least £5 in the event that they drive into or round Cambridge between 07:00 and 19:00 on weekdays

Bridget Smith, the Lib Dem chief of South Cambridgeshire District Council, mentioned she wanted additional info from the session earlier than deciding if the proposals have been the “proper reply”.

However she added: “I drove right here as we speak as a result of I’ve no alternative. I stay in Gamlingay. There is no bus service right here however I am privileged as a result of I’ve received a automotive. For an terrible lot of individuals, they do not have that alternative.

“We even have 20% increased carbon emissions in Better Cambridge than the remainder of the nation. The one method we’re going to take care of that’s take automobiles off the street. And congestion is dangerous for individuals’s well being and well-being.”

Naomi Bennett, chief of the Inexperienced group on Cambridge Metropolis Council, mentioned the controversy was not nearly “sure and no”.

“The Greens need to see higher public transport and fairer selections. The issue we now have with this session is that it is vitally a lot a piece in progress and never a closing product,” she mentioned.

“So sure we’re eager to see higher public transport however my social gathering has additionally submitted 11 pages for enhancements to the present session that we’re eager to see.

“This debate can’t be about sure and no. What we now have to do is pay attention to one another and discover a consensus that works for all of us.”

Addenbrooke’s Hospital could be throughout the congestion cost space.

Dr Michael Extra, chairman of Addenbrooke’s Hospital, mentioned: “We welcome the controversy. I believe all people is aware of that transport is grinding to a halt in Cambridge. We do have an issue. ‘Can we enhance public transport sustainably?’ could be a basic query for our workers.

“We make use of 13,000 individuals. A few of our workers are very a lot towards it. A few of our workers can see the advantages of it. So I welcome a debate so we will fulfill ourselves that public transport could be improved and biking measures could be improved. “

Prof Andrew Neely, Senior Professional Vice-chancellor of the College of Cambridge, mentioned the college needed to see an improved transport system and was speaking to the GCP about its plans to double its funding in buses.

He mentioned he needed the cost capped at £1 for journey throughout the metropolis, in addition to improved cycle routes.

Sweet Richards, of the Cambridgeshire Federation of Small Companies, mentioned she was involved small companies would “carry the associated fee” of the congestion cost.

She mentioned a survey discovered that 66% of small merchants wanted entry to a automobile.

Shapour Meftah, of the Mill Street Merchants’ Affiliation, mentioned companies would “undergo” or should “go on the charge to their clients”.


By Ben Schofield, BBC East Political Correspondent

Let’s begin with the areas of settlement.

Air pollution and congestion: dangerous. Higher buses within the metropolis and county: good. That a lot appeared clear from all sides.

A consensus additionally emerged that the present proposals wanted altering earlier than they may very well be put in place.

The disagreements have been over simply how a lot to vary them – or whether or not charging drivers ought to be dropped altogether.

However different concepts for elevating funds for buses – or the exact stipulations about what wants to vary and the way – have been frustratingly harder to identify.

Sure, there are 24,000 session responses being crunched by the GCP, which can suggest revisions in the summertime.

And the difficulty with tweaking the plan is that with every tweak comes the chance it will not ship the promised advantages.

Oonagh Monkhouse, from Papworth hospital, within the viewers, mentioned the way in which the controversy over that is dealt with is essential. Workers, she mentioned, are questioning about their futures.

They are not the one ones.

You may see extra on this story from Politics East on the BBC iPlayer.

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