Members of the Cambridgeshire Sustainable Travel Alliance in Drummer Street, Cambridge

New alliance unites behind the Sustainable Travel Zone and calls on residents to help build a better future for Cambridgeshire

Cambridge Living Streets, Camcycle and Cambridge Area Bus Users have today announced the formation of the Cambridgeshire Sustainable Travel Alliance. They call for other local groups, businesses and individuals to think big and speak up for the changes that can rapidly transform our places and transport.

The three organisations, which campaign for better walking, cycling and public transport respectively, support the principle of a Sustainable Travel Zone for Cambridge. They believe that the funding and opportunity presented by the Greater Cambridge Partnership offers a unique moment to reshape the city and wider county around the needs of its people. They urge local residents to respond in support of the Sustainable Travel Zone in question 9 of the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s current consultation. Individuals should also use the consultation survey to share their transport concerns and transform them into dreams for better places and transport. With £50 million of sustainable transport funding at stake, it’s vital that everyone gets involved to shape the proposal’s success.

The Cambridgeshire Sustainable Travel Alliance aims to unite and inspire people in Cambridgeshire working for a transport network that protects our future and offers genuine choice. Its vision is for a thriving region of opportunity and inclusion where people can get to where they want to be safely, easily and affordably. It believes that places should be designed around people, and streets organised in line with the Highway Code’s hierarchy of road users. Transport should be integrated, accessible, healthy, fair and fit for the future. The Alliance encourages sustainable transport groups from across the region to get involved, so that its voice can better reflect the needs and aspirations of everyone in Cambridgeshire. It also welcomes other groups, businesses, organisations and individuals as supporters.

David Stoughton, Chair of Cambridge Living Streets, said: 

“Too many people in Cambridgeshire aren’t able to walk safely to their local destinations including school, work, shops and local amenities. Together with our partners in the Cambridgeshire Sustainable Travel Alliance we want to change that. The Greater Cambridge Partnership must look to improve the transport system as a whole and work with communities to create walking, cycling and bus networks that complement each other.”

Roxanne De Beaux, Executive Director of Camcycle, said:

“A recent survey showed that 88% of our members support the principle of a Sustainable Travel Zone for Cambridge, which could be transformative for people in the area. They want local authorities to create a greener, healthier and more pleasant city to live and work in. It is vital that high-quality sustainable transport networks are put in place over the next few years. We’re proud to join voices with Cambridge Living Streets and Cambridge Area Bus Users to create an alliance which will speak up and work for the positive changes we need on our streets.”

Richard Wood, Secretary of Cambridge Area Bus Users, said:

“With ever-deteriorating services affecting people’s lives, jobs and independence across the region, we must work for a frequent, reliable and sustainable bus network that becomes a preferred transport choice for people throughout Cambridgeshire. For too long, the voices of existing and potential bus users have been ignored, so we’re delighted to join the Cambridgeshire Sustainable Travel Alliance and help amplify their needs.”

18 thoughts on “New alliance unites behind the Sustainable Travel Zone and calls on residents to help build a better future for Cambridgeshire”

  1. For the elderly population which may not be able to buy an electric car and have to resort to electric mobility scooters, electric wheelchairs and other trolleys to be able to get around, it is also important that safe spaces on the road and/or possibility to get on a bus is available. A reliable public transport is essential to reduce isolation and improve participation in the social life of the city and its surroundings.

  2. The purported document regarding the congestion charge reads as it being a done deal already and as a cyclists manifesto. I would have assumed that it should have at least pretended to be a proper consultation

    1. The organisations in our alliance are still scrutinising the document in detail to see what the proposals would mean for people walking, cycling, wheeling, using public transport and more. We appreciate all feedback on the consultation and thoughts on what needs to change to achieve a better future transport system for all.

  3. Sheila Gresham

    I see that disabled people, the elderly and those that have need to use vehicles for employment are not being considered here I think if the congestion charge goes ahead cyclists should pay a charge. Also they should need to pass a road test to ensure they are following the highway code and not contributing accidents. It should be noted that the majority of accidents involving bikes are between cyclists

    1. Cambridgeshire Sustainable Travel Alliance

      We prefer not to generalise about the needs of whole population groups: many people don’t drive or have access to a car. We need to look closely at the transport needs of everyone and make sure that future plans offer a genuine choice.

    2. You should read the proposal. Blue-badge holders can nominate 2 vehicles for a 100% discount. As for the elderly, these sorts of initiatives directly benefit the elderly as they provide better transport for those who can’t (or shouldn’t) drive.

      As for your comments about cyclists, they’re a bit silly. Of course the majority of accidents involving bikes are between cyclists: that’s where the bikes are. What you’re missing however is that when cyclists collide, typically no one dies. The same can’t be said about cars vs. bikes.

      1. Do you know how difficult it is to get a blue badge out of Cambridgeshire County Council, especially for those with hidden disabilities? (e.g. cognitive impairments, incontinence, lung disorders, severe arthritis, diabetes, MS, certain forms of autism, anxiety disorders…). To get an idea of how hostile the process is, the application forms are available to view here:
        My elderly parents have a number of health conditions which conspire together to make it impossible for them to use buses (let alone get on a bicycle) to get to their medical and personal care appointments, but because they would be able to shuffle a few laps of a carpeted office, they would be deemed ineligible for priority travel assistance. Anecdotal stories from local dementia carers forums (Alzheimer’s Society, Age UK) suggest that people who are unsafe venturing beyond their front doors on their own are routinely rejected by CCC because their physical impairment is not “severe enough” and/or they haven’t been on the clinical pathways sufficiently long enough (the waiting list for getting just the initial meeting with the Cambridge Memory Clinic is well over six months now and it can take years to get a final diagnosis for some conditions).
        Social care provision and facilities in Cambridgeshire were already close to collapse before the pandemic and the situation has got worse due to the County Council withdrawing so many of its face-to-face services because of it. None of these local plans and proposals are joined up and the overall experience of living in Cambridgeshire as an older person is getting increasingly worse because of it. It really does feel like there is a general attitude of ‘don’t be thinking about getting old here’ developing.
        In the past year, I have had to take on caring responsibility for my parents, getting them to where they need to be (giving up work in the process) and the safest way for them is by a door-to-door car journey. I only drive a car in order to get their shopping in and take them to their appointments and very rarely am I doing it before 10am or at weekends, so generally, I am not contributing to the worst of the congestion. They already live very limited lives and are practically house bound due to prevailing local Covid infection rates. By the time those subside, any notion of having ‘a nice day out’ at a venue that they can be driven directly to will have been overruled by the psychological effect of the congestion charge coming in (it will make them feel like car journeys are not allowed), so they will have nothing to look forward to except “essential” trips, such as the dentist or podiatrist. They came to Cambridge in the late ’90s thinking it would be a nice place to retire to. More fool them, it seems.
        The GCP itself recognises that those reliant on informal care provision will be hard hit by the congestion charge but it offers no support or solutions for them. Not everyone has the physical and/or mental capacity to cycle or walk to/from a bus stop, but with the strain on local social care and mental health services as it is, many will struggle to get the formal recognition of their situation that they need to then qualify for the help they deserve. And I’m sorry, but my father is just too tall and heavy to be hoisted into and out of a cargo bike, so a warm car that goes straight from his home to where he needs to be (with assistance at both ends, which sadly, most Taxi drivers are unwilling to provide) is the only option for him.

        1. Cambridgeshire Sustainable Travel Alliance

          Thanks for your detailed comment, Len. We do agree that more detail is needed on the exemptions. We believe that some areas of the city (e.g. the station area, Addenbrooke’s access road) do already use a system that is more nuanced than just blue badge holders so it can be done. We encourage you to respond to the consultation to make your points.

    3. The disabled and the elderly are among the obvious groups that would benefit from this proposal: car-heavy cities are particularly unsafe and inaccessible for vulnerable groups. With an aging population on our hands, it is vital that we move away from total reliance on modes of transport that force people either behing the wheel or into isolation.

      As for your final points, the overwhelming majority of accidents between cyclists are not harmful. And of course everybody should follow the highway code – but with fewer cars on the road fewer serious accidents will naturally follow, whether or not cyclists pass a road test (though the suggestion is obviously unworkable for e.g. small kids). It is time our society accepts that cars are singularly dangerous, instead of desperately trying to cast cyclists as the villains.

  4. Stephen Biddle

    It is bizarre that there is a suggestion that cyclists should “make a contribution” to the roads when car drivers, who cause far more damage, don’t contribute either. Car tax, as such, was abolished in the late 1930s by Winston Churchill and roads are now paid for out of general taxation so we do ALL pay! Out and about it is very apparent that vehicle drivers flout the Highway Code constantly speeding and using phones at the wheel whilst in charge of a ton or more of lethal force. A cursory look at the news reveals carnage is caused by motor vehicle drivers everyday. Grid locked roads are going to get far worse so full marks to those who are trying to find a solution to this problem.

  5. Hilary Jackson

    The alliance is an excellent idea. Too much of the opposition so far is concentrated on the congestion charge – which isn’t due to come in yet anyway. Is there not some way that the details could be debated separately? Surely some of the questions are ” If this STZ boundary is wrong, where should it be? Why do most existing bus routes go into the centre (Drummer Street)? Isn’t it time that the centre was traffic free anyway? Have people who use buses been asked about their journeys. Does the route go to where they wish to go? If you were designing a bus network from scratch surely some data is needed? How else can there be an expansion in bus coverage without some funding? What has happened to the idea of companies contributing to a transport fund if they wish to locate in Cambridge? What about section 106 money? What about Science Park contributions? The better future that’s proposed is wonderful but the money for it has to come from somewhere

    1. Cambridgeshire Sustainable Travel Alliance

      We agree, there is still a lot to be debated, and the survey does allow for that. For example, question 11 asks ‘Do you have any feedback on the proposed Zone and its boundary?’ Our alliance member Camcycle is hosting a meeting on 1 November on its Facebook channel ( with the scheme’s technical director Alistair Cox – do come along and ask lots of questions!

  6. Do you support a tax on Cambridge residents leaving and returning to the city by car? Effectively bits of the proposals may be great but you are going to pay for it the wrong way / by taxing low and middle income families to live their daily lives making Cambridge a prison? It’s not up to you to force people to walk / cycle/ take bus. People have millions of reasons to use cars

  7. Cathy Michell

    I am about to go and read the consultation paper and so may be able to answer my own question, but is it being proposed that city centre residents within the designated charge area, will have to pay the congestion charge just like those coming into Cambridge who are not resident? And are there time limits on when the charges will apply, e.g. rush hours morning and evening?
    I would certainly have a problem with charging residents within the zone. We have no choice but to use our cars to get to places outside the city; e.g. I have to go to Toft at 8.50am every Wednesday. There is no bus service I know of to get me there by 9.15am and back home in good time. It’s too far to bike for me, so I drive. This is just an example of many similar problems for residents, that the congestion charge will pose on our ever dwindling incomes. What’s the answer?
    I am, however in favour of the proposals as I understand them, and certainly for the further extension of private cars’ prohibited zones in the centre. But all such proposals demand bus services that currently don’t exist and are privately owned. How is this to be overcome I wonder?? Back in the 1960s Leicester, my home town, had a City Council run bus service – those were the days!!
    I will now read the proposals in detail!!

    1. The reverse is also true for people that live in villages such as Toft, as you mention, or others who have little or no bus service when they have to get into the City for an appointment be it with a bank, doctor, osteopath etc. This works both ways for those going in and out of the city.
      I also agree with the proposals in principle, but it is the detail that needs to be right e.g. access to regular routes for all, be it for remote villages or the elderly and infirm. A joined up system.

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