Statement on the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s decision not to take the Sustainable Travel Zone proposals forward

This statement was released to the press following the 28 September meeting of the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) Executive Board.

The politicians who voted against the proposed Sustainable Travel Zone (STZ) road charge today leave a legacy of failure. 

The decision not to proceed is a deliberate decision to ignore the damage congestion does to Greater Cambridge and a conscious choice not to turn around our struggling bus network. Politicians have opted to ignore high pollution levels and bury their heads in the sand about the need to reduce carbon emissions. And they have put personal political ambition and party politics over the needs of the people they represent. Their decision will impact us all directly or indirectly. 

What will we remember them for? 

Participants in the 2019 Greater Cambridge Citizens’ Assembly on Congestion, Air Quality and Public Transport  were acutely aware that positive outcomes depended on politicians having the courage to take difficult decisions. Their key message to politicians was: “Be brave, be bold and take action”.  As one Assembly Member put it: “…have some backbone – we can’t afford not to act on what this assembly has concluded.”

Cambridgeshire’s politicians can only avoid a legacy of failure by finding their courage, burying their differences, and resolving to bring about a series of alternative schemes to reduce congestion, raise revenue for public transport, encourage people to make the switch away from driving and enable bus reform. 

And, crucially, they must stay the course and turn their plans into action. They will have failed unless they achieve measurable outcomes. We are watching and waiting.