Proposal for £5 congestion charge in Cambridge abandoned

London, UK - July 16, 2019:Congestion Charge Charging Central Zone sign against blue sky. The road is a part of the London Inner Ring Road and forms p

A proposed £5 congestion charge in Cambridge will not be taken forward amid a lack of political consensus.

It had been suggested that the measure could help fund public transport improvements in the city, but in a public consultation some people said the charge would be “unfair or punitive”.

In the public consultation, 58% of respondents opposed the charge.

Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP), a body of elected representatives from local councils and university and business representatives, is not taking the proposal forward.

The executive board debated the proposal in a meeting on Thursday.

Elisa Meschini, chairwoman of the board, said: “It seems completely clear from the debate that’s gone on that we are not in a position to recommend that the county council receive the scheme for further work.

“As a result that recommendation today will not be made.”

She said there are “problems in our region, we’ve got to fix them”, adding: “Those who say we absolutely can do that, then step up your game.”

Other options to be explored include a workplace parking levy.

Liberal Democrat councillor Brian Milnes, of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said the area’s Lib Dems had “announced that they have reservations over the scheme”.

“I have to take that into account in assessing whether there’s any point, frankly, of putting it forward to the county council for approval,” he said, before confirming he did not recommend taking it forward.

Labour councillor Mike Davey, of Cambridge City Council, said that “four weeks ago the South Cambs Lib Dem group made a decision” not to support the congestion charge proposal.

He said it was “pointless proposing something that could not possibly happen” so did not feel the proposal should go forward to the county council.

Andy Neely, university representative on the GCP, said: “I think it’s clear there’s not political consensus at this particular point in time.

“It’s a shame the politics have got in the way.

“This is, as we talked about, a controversial thing.

“I think when you look at the data and the number of people in the younger generation that supported the proposals, the comment made earlier was that in 10 years’ time people won’t necessarily thank us for this.

“But at this particular moment it seems to be there’s not enough consensus to go forward.”