Page last updated at 16:15 GMT, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 17:15 UK

Majority oppose congestion charge

An artist's impression of the Cambridgeshire guided busway
The Cambridgeshire guided busway aims to cut congestion

People living in and around Cambridge have rejected the idea of bringing in congestion charges, a series of council surveys have revealed.

Cambridgeshire County Council asked for residents' views as it looked at ways to deal with congestion in the city.

The first survey of 1,100 people, interviewed in their homes, found that 49% rejected a congestion charge in principle, while 31% supported it.

An online survey found 68% rejected the charge, while 25% supported it.

The county council surveys also found that more than 80% of people thought traffic congestion was a serious problem.

Improvement package

The surveys also found that 59% said they would support congestion charging if attractive alternatives were in place for travelling in Cambridge.

The county council organised the consultation following its submission of a 517m proposal to the Department for Transport for a massive package of improvements to tackle congestion.

The planned improvements put forward include:

  • New road schemes in Cambridge and in places like Ely, which requires a new by-pass.

  • A new rail station at Chesterton.

  • A doubling of bus services, improvements in their frequencies and new measures for both rural and Cambridge City services.

  • A new comprehensive network of cycle and pedestrian paths in Cambridge and linking to surrounding developments.

  • Major boost in rural bus services, cycle ways and paths.

  • Major safety improvements to junctions and roads.

  • A congestion charging scheme that would operate between 0730 to 0930 BST, Monday to Friday and cost between 3 and 5.

    'Congestion, a problem'

    Keith Walters, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "There has been a lot of interesting information revealed and it's going to take a number of weeks to digest everything.

    "For me, one of the key findings is that the vast majority of local people and our stakeholders recognise congestion is a problem and they want something done about it.

    "In terms of congestion charging, it's not surprising that many people have concerns about the scheme and I'm certain we need to spend more time investigating these concerns."

    The Council will now be considering the results from the consultation and meeting with partners including Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council to discuss how the consultation results affect the proposed transport improvements.

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