Page last updated at 17:47 GMT, Tuesday, 13 October 2009 18:47 UK

Congestion charge plan for city

A congestion charge is to be introduced in Cambridge if transport improvements fail to materialise or do not work.

Cambridgeshire County Council is to raise £500m for transport and cutting traffic congestion is a priority.

Plans hinge on a new railway station in Chesterton as 80% of traffic comes from the north side of the city.

If this fails to cut vehicle use then a full bid will be made for the remainder of a £500m package and a congestion charge will be introduced by 2017.

The council said this would need to be agreed by the public, businesses, partner authorities and the government.

The charge would be seen only as a last resort if transport investment did not help.

The bid for further finance would include a "trigger point" when congestion reached a critical level and nothing else would help.

Keep city moving

Roy Pegram, cabinet member for growth, infrastructure and strategic planning, said: "Getting Chesterton railway station delivered as quickly as possible is a top priority.

"This will immediately help reduce congestion as around 80% of people who use the central station currently travel from the north.

"I expect to hear back from government on this first part of our proposal by the end of the year.

"Although I do not welcome the prospect of a congestion charge, people in Cambridgeshire recognise that this is what might be needed in the future to keep Cambridge moving.

"It is vital that the public in Cambridgeshire, councils and organisations set the point with government when enough is enough and congestion charging must be brought in.

"If people are not persuaded out of their cars in significant numbers by the transport improvements and we allow the city to come to a grinding halt nobody would thank us."

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