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Cambridgeshire and Peterborough transport rethink is under way

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A complete rethink of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s local transport plan (LTP) is under way by the Combined Authority.

Dr Nik Johnson the new Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority seen in Ely where the mayor's office is based. Picture: Keith Heppell. (49957690)
Dr Nik Johnson the new Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority seen in Ely where the mayor's office is based. Picture: Keith Heppell. (49957690)

The authority says it will put “compassion, cooperation and community” at the heart of any new masterplan and hopes to bring it back in front of its board in September.

But concerns have been raised over the timescale of such work, with a public consultation on the plans not likely to take place until the end of the year.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayor Dr Nik Johnson has also promised that the masterplan will prioritise “left behind communities, tackling inequalities and accelerating carbon reduction”.

The Combined Authority board agreed to proceed with a reinvention of the transport strategy in the region through a revamped plan at its meeting last Wednesday (July 28).

It followed a decision to suspend the work of the metro (CAM) programme until a comprehensive review is undertaken.

The mayor also highlighted the use of consultants, and the need for more work to be done in-house by the Combined Authority wherever possible. And a review of their use will be brought back to the Combined Authority board in September.

Work is also taking place on a bus service improvement plan, with the mayor already highlighting the need to explore the potential of franchising and how it could make a transformational impact on connectivity for people and places.

Collaborative working will also form an important part of the new transport approach, especially with the Greater Cambridge Partnership. Part of the transport plan revamp will see a specific focus on supporting the GCP’s work on developing ways to improve journeys across the Cambridge city centre. More detail on the specific transport investments resulting from this new approach will be tested with the public through consultation on the LTP planned for the autumn.

Dr Johnson said: “What I want to see are effective, deliverable projects, which accelerate our journey to net zero carbon, and that make a difference to people’s lives.

“I want to take those projects to the public to see what they think. So in the autumn, when our transport team has developed more detail on potential improvements, we will be consulting to hear feedback and improve our plans further.

“And I believe we need to be extremely judicious in our use of consultants. At the Combined Authority board on Wednesday, I did not approve £350,000 of consultancy spend on taking learnings from the CAM to develop new transport schemes in the area. We are reviewing the use of consultants in delivering transport schemes and I would always prefer to see projects worked on in-house whenever possible.”

Since the publication of LTP in January 2020, there have been many changes to the transport landscape.

These include the initial recommendations of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Commission on Climate Change, new CO2 and electric vehicle targets published by the government, and the changes in travel caused by Covid-19.

The development work on the revamped plan it set to take these changes into consideration.

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