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Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayor James Palmer responds to Extinction Rebellion Cambridge

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayor James Palmer says he hopes Extinction Rebellion “do not endanger the safety or people” with their week-long roadblock in Cambridge.

Mayor James Palmer. Picture: Keith Heppell.
Mayor James Palmer. Picture: Keith Heppell.

Responding to next week’s planned action by Extinction Rebellion Cambridge Youth and Rebel for Justice, Mr Palmer said he hoped the demonstrations “cause minimum disruption”.

He said: “While we support the right to peaceful protest, we hope planned demonstrations cause minimum disruption and do not endanger the safety of people across the area.

“We agree it is vital Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have a comprehensive public transport system which is reliable, sustainable and accessible to all and that’s exactly what our Local Transport Plan will deliver.”

Mr Palmer said the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority was committed to eradicating carbon emissions across the area by 2050.

“The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Local Transport Plan, which will be delivered by all local authorities in the area, will transform public transport across the entire region and play a major role in helping to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050,” he said.

He continued: “High-quality, fast and affordable public transport is essential to reducing reliance on cars and tackling congestion.”

Mr Palmer pointed to plans for the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro, which is forecast to eradicate 25,000 daily private car trips across the county each year.

It will operate with high-quality, zero-emission ‘trackless metro’ vehicles, powered by electric batteries.

He added that the combined authority was also undertaking major upgrades of the bus and rail network, considering a range of ideas for improving bus services including greater use of technology such as driverless shuttles, more use of alternative fuels including electric buses and ways to bring the network more under our control including franchising and enhanced partnerships with service providers.

The planned action by protesters will take place in the city from Sunday, February 16 to Saturday, February 22.

It will involve roadblocks preventing access by all vehicles to the city centre via Trumpington Road and The Fen Causeway.

Moderately Spicy XR Extinction Rebellion Madingley Road Park & Ride. Picture: Jeremy Peters
Moderately Spicy XR Extinction Rebellion Madingley Road Park & Ride. Picture: Jeremy Peters

The group says the protest will go ahead unless its demands are met. Their demands are that:

  • The University of Cambridge cuts its ties with the fossil fuel industry
  • Cambridge City Council holds a citizens’ assembly on climate justice
  • Cambridgeshire County Council works with other relevant regional authorities to provide a plan for a just transition away from an inadequate transport system reliant on fossil fuels.

Mr Palmer continued: “Alongside rail and bus enhancements, the combined authority is keen to promote ‘active’ transport modes such as the Healthy Streets initiative. Following advice from the Committee on Climate Change Net-Zero report (2019) that to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, 10% of car miles should be shifted to walking, cycling and public transport, we are prioritising investment in cycling and walking infrastructure, for example the Chisholm Trail in Cambridge.

“We understand that climate change, a global issue, requires interventions at a local scale. That is why we are setting up an Independent Commission on Climate Change to gather together the best evidence of how our local environment is changing and to help build a plan for the future.

“Everybody has a role to play in tackling this important issue.Devolution has given us a unique opportunity to change how things have been done before and to get on and deliver major new transport projects that will make a real difference to our community.”

Read more:

Cambridge City Council meeting cancelled as Extinction Rebellion activists occupy chamber

Extinction Rebellion plans 24/7 roadblock in Cambridge city centre for half-term

Police to ‘strike a balance’ between allowing peaceful protest and disruption during Extinction Rebellion action

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