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Road-charging debate: Rival marches oppose and support Greater Cambridge Partnership plans for Sustainable Travel Zone

Rival marches are planned during the consultation on the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s plans for road charging.

A ‘Let’s Say Yes to Better Buses’ family-friendly event will be held on Saturday, December 10 in support of plans for a Sustainable Travel Zone in Cambridge.

Traffic congestion in Cambridge
Traffic congestion in Cambridge

The event, which has been organised by the Cambridge Parents for the Sustainable Travel Zone, will feature a walking bus from Parker’s Piece to Drummer Street bus station, as well speeches, cake and music.

It will follow two weeks after a march opposing plans for a city-wide road charge, which is being held on Sunday (November 27).

This weekend’s rally has been organised by the Cambridgeshire Residents’ Group (CRG) in conjunction with the Mill Road Traders’ Association and is supported by Cambs Against the Congestion Charge – which say they recognise the “need for change but stand firmly against the current proposals”.

The rally will start in three locations – Sainsbury’s in Coldhams Lane, Tesco in Newmarket Road and the Shire Hall car park in Castle Hill – at midday on November 27 before marching to Parker’s Piece for 1pm.

Elisabeth Whitebread, Cambridge resident and member of Cambridge Parents for the Sustainable Travel Zone, said: “We started the campaign as a group of Cambridge-based mums who support the proposals to radically improve public transport around Cambridge.

“We believe the plans would have a huge positive impact on the health and safety of children locally and vastly improve quality of life for people living and working here. In 2020, 121 deaths in Greater Cambridge were attributable to air pollution.

“But it’s no wonder our streets are clogged with cars when public transport is so unreliable and expensive.

“Why do we put up with this, when other cities around the world have high quality public transport and clean air?

“This situation has already gone on far too long. With the climate crisis looming, it’s surely time to grasp this chance for a better future with both hands.”

The Cambridgeshire Sustainable Travel Alliance has pledged its support for the ‘Let’s Say Yes to Better Buses’ event.

The Greater Cambridge Partnership is currently consulting on plans to provide cheaper bus fares and more frequent services with longer operating hours, funded by a road charge on motorists. This would be priced at £5 for cars, with higher fees for larger vehicles, and would operate from 7am to 7pm on weekdays.

Visit consultcambs.uk.engagementhq.com to comment.

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