Azara Blog: Cambridge should allegedly introduce congestion charging

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Date published: 2009/03/30

The Cambridge News says:

Planners should consider building more homes on the green belt and introduce congestion charging if they want Cambridge to remain an economic success story, according to a leading think tank.

The Centre for Cities Group today (Monday, 30 March) warns Cambridge is in danger of becoming a "victim of its own success" if co-ordinated action is not taken to sort out transport networks and a shortage of affordable housing.

The so-called think tank (based in London, not Cambridge) claims to have Cambridge as a "Partner City" so the report is hardly independent. But even ignoring that, not surprisingly, just like all other academic middle class consultancies, they hate cars and love public transport, and believe so-called congestion charging is a wonderful idea. They start with this premise, so of course come to the obvious conclusions.

They ignore the impact of the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway (although it could of course end up being a white elephant, so have negligible impact). They ignore the impact of the recession (well, depression) in reducing traffic levels (this has already been observed on the A14). They ignore the impact that the coming change in central government from Labour to Tory control will make to house building, and hence population, targets in Cambridgeshire (i.e. the numbers will be seriously reduced). And they ignore the cost of implementing the scheme, conveniently just assuming that it is all irrelevant because central government is allegedly going to throw a big bribe at Cambridge in return for introducing the so-called congestion charging (a bribe that the county council currently has no good plans how to spend, so would likely just fritter away).

All in all, they ignore most of the relevant factors, so their report counts for little.

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