Azara Blog: Cambridgeshire County Council might drop their "congestion charge" proposal

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Date published: 2008/06/23

The Cambridge News says:

Brakes have been put on plans for congestion charging in Cambridge.

In a shock announcement, Cambridgeshire County Council has said it is going "back to the drawing board" over the proposals.

It had planned to charge everyone driving in Cambridge between 7.30am and 9.30am Monday to Friday, including residents, between £3 and £5.

Citing "lack of support" from the public and businesses, the council is to set up a commission involving key public and private sector groups including Cambridge University and the business community which will listen to evidence on the controversial subject.

Plans for congestion charging were met with a storm of protest when they were unveiled last summer, despite the prospect of up to £500 million upfront to be spent on transport improvements before a charge would be introduced.

Cambridge Chamber of Commerce dealt a blow to the council's plans last month when it launched the People Against Congestion Charge Alliance.

Members of the Cambridge Cycling Campaign rallied to the defence of congestion charging a few days ago with the UnclogCambridge campaign.

It ain't over until the fat lady sings. So this announcement does not necessarily mean the end of the scheme. Needless to say, the proposals worked against the interests of the ordinary workers of Cambridgeshire. Needless to say, the main proponents were the usual car-hating academic middle class people (including the Cambridge Cycling Cambridge) who dominate Cambridge (well, Britain). With these kinds of proposals, if the car-hating bureaucrats and politicians can get business on board, they can afford to just ignore the views of the ordinary people. But if, as seems to have been the case here, larges swathes of business object, then that is a sign of trouble. Central government (half-)offered a bribe to local government to try and kickstart this scheme. Now local government will have to offer some kind of bribe to business to get the scheme back up and running. Meanwhile local government will continue to perfectly happily persecute car drivers the old-fashioned way (reducing capacity to make congestion worse, charging extortionate car parking fees, etc.).

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