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What could a Clean Air Zone in Cambridge city centre look like?

Cambridge city Air Quality Management Area map
Cambridge city Air Quality Management Area map

There are three potential ways the zone could be implemented.

There were 10,970 individual responses to public consultation and three petitions opposing the ‘peak-time congestion control points’ (PCCPs), gathering 10,590 signatures in all.

Now, City Deal plans to push forward with the seven other proposals, including a workplace parking levy (WPL), with the addition of a ‘Clean Air Zone’ – described as a “more nuanced set of physical demand measures”.

A new transport officer is expected to be appointed this month to take the lead on schemes being lined up for delivery.

City Deal board chair Cllr Lewis Herbert also made it clear that a congestion charge for the city would not be progressed, despite growing calls for one from some quarters in recent weeks. A Clean Air Zone could be seen as a similar concept – so what exactly could it mean?

City Deal’s head of city access, Hilary Holden, told the Cambridge Independent that the zone would not necessarily mean a pollution charge and would likely not be used to generate revenue.

She said: “There are three ways of achieving a Clean Air Zone, only one is a pollution charge. The second is one which proactively bans certain vehicles that aren’t clean or sees that only certain vehicle types that are clean enter.

“There are a range of possibilities. We’re on a wave of momentum in delivering clean air, nationally. I think we can benefit from what they’re doing.”

“We are putting clean air up there because a lot of people brought it up on the consultation for PCCPs – conventionally fuelled motorbikes, for example, could go through but they contribute to poor air quality.”

The Clean Air Zone would likely share the same border as the Air Quality Management Area that is already in place in Cambridge - the red line on the above map.

In 2014, Public Health England published a study that concluded that ‘particulate air pollution’ accounted for 47 deaths of residents aged over 25 in Cambridge in 2010 and an associated loss of 468 years of life. Across the East, 5.6 per cent of deaths that year were attributed to poor air quality.

A workplace parking levy (WPL) would be used by the City Deal to raise funds, subsidising buses which would tackle congestion and air quality problems. In Nottingham, WPL money has been used to buy electric buses.

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