After consulting with constituents through my own survey and scrutinising the GCP documents, I cannot support the GCP proposals for introducing a road user charge in Cambridge and parts of South Cambridgeshire.
92% of people who responded to my survey oppose the introduction of a road user charge. The main objections include concern as to why Addenbrooke’s Hospital, have been included in the charging zone; the lack of detail as to how exemptions, discounts and reimbursements would work in practice; the lack of exemptions for important groups, such as NHS workers, carers, charity workers and residents; the unrealistic traffic reduction target and the damaging impact the road charge could have on local businesses.
The GCP proposes to use the revenue raised from the road charge to fund improvements to the region’s bus network. Having worked hard over many years for better bus services in South East Cambridgeshire, most recently fighting to protect the Ely Zipper and fighting against Stagecoach’s plans to cut or significantly alter 23 bus routes across the region, I appreciate any steps to improve our bus network, but I do not believe they would deliver the improvements to local bus services to replace the road.
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.
I hope both the GCP and Cambridgeshire County Council will take on board the concerns expressed by my constituents.