The formal announcement to end plans for a congestion charge in Cambridge has been made by Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) executive board.

The board has said it will now stop further development of its Sustainable Travel Zone (STZ), part of its Making Connections concept, following a meeting of its members on Thursday, September 28.

The plans proposed a £5 weekday road charge between 7am and 7pm with some exemptions and discounts, which would fund an expanded and cheaper bus service and improvements to cycling and walking routes.

Of the 24,000 responses to a consultation 58 per cent said they opposed the congestion charge although 70 per cent supported the proposed expanded bus network.

Officers will now look at issues such as resident parking, road hierarchy and freight consolidation and continue work on other infrastructure projects.

Cllr Elisa Meschini, chair of the GCP’s executive board, said: “Last year’s consultation told us many things. We learnt seven out of ten people wanted cheaper, greener, and healthier ways to get around Greater Cambridge.

“The public told us they needed more buses to more locations, with cheaper fares and longer operating times as well as better walking and cycling infrastructure to give them genuine alternatives to using the car.

“We also discovered how those on low incomes do not have the access to cars which many perceived, how frustrated young people are by services which constantly let them down and how those in rural communities feel isolated by the lack of connectivity.

“These were the issues we hoped Making Connections would be able to tackle. However, we cannot escape the reality that the support for the Sustainable Travel Zone was not there despite the amendments made to the scheme.

“We understand without the groundswell of public and political backing for the changes which were being proposed they could not be delivered effectively.

“However, the challenge remains. Congestion in and around Cambridge is real and constant, grinding the city to a halt and this is before further growth comes to our area.

“We say this, not to defend Making Connections, but to bring a sense of perspective about what happens next. It is easy to say action should be taken, that something should be done about climate change or air pollution must be tackled for the sake of future generations but finding consensus as we have seen is difficult, requiring both courage and compromise.

“Going forward the GCP’s focus will be on delivering the safe, efficient, and much needed transport infrastructure communities, residents and businesses tell us they want.”

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