Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cambridge Conservatives Win Congestion Charge Battle

Cambridge Conservatives' long-running battle against congestion charging scored a win yesterday as the government belatedly admitted that its plan to force congestion charging on places like Cambridge was unpopular. The Transport Innovation Fund has been scrapped and Cambridgeshire's TIF bid was rejected by the government. There is a new replacement scheme going out for consultation that does not at first sight appear to include compulsory congestion charging.

Coleridge's Labour county councillor is left with egg on his face after voting for congestion charging for Cambridge with a declaration of praise for the Labour government, only to find his own party yesterday abandon TIF! Coleridge deserves better than "yes" men who will just follow their party line regardless of what local residents want. As candidate last year I pledged to vote against congestion charging and as prospective candidate for the city council elections this year I again pledge to oppose congestion charging for Cambridge.

We haven't heard the Lib Dem line yet - since they support congestion charging in principle we need to be vigilant for the likelihood that they will be lobbying to include congestion charging in any bid under the new scheme. We also need to watch out that the government doesn't include conditions that bring congestion charging back on the agenda.

Richard Normington has pre-empted some of the myths likely to be forthcoming in the pro-TIF propaganda.


Frugal Dougal said...

Well done!

Andrew Bower said...

And Lib Dem County Councillor Nichola Harrison seems to be first off the blocks to prove my prediction:

"It seems to me that the idea of a congestion charge is far from dead and needs to be looked at with fresh eyes."

The Lib Dems really are hell-bent on subjecting us to a congestion charge and it shows how out of touch they are with most Cambridge residents.

Equinox said...

I'd be interested in this observation:

The County Council has control of local transport policy. Therefore, councillors of whichever political party who are elected to wards outside of the city are going to find themselves penalised by a congestion charge. Therefore there is an incentive for them to vote against it, unless they voted to give themselves an exemption to the charge.

The question that then follows is what is the tangible alternative to the charge? (i.e. beyond the "Improving public transport/roads/cycling" sort of statements).

Also, when's the Cambridge to Oxford rail link going to be re-established?