Better TIF proposals needed to implement congestion charge - City

June 18, 2008 12:00 AM
Cllr Ian Nimmo-Smith

Cllr Ian Nimmo-Smith

Cambridge City Council Leader Ian Nimmo-Smith has indicated that the City Council would support a congestion charge for Cambridge in a better-crafted set of TIF proposals.

Councillor Nimmo-Smith was commenting while publishing his response to a question formally tabled by an opposition Conservative councillor.

Councillor Nimmo-Smith said:

"We would like to work with the County Council and neighbouring authorities to develop an acceptable set of TIF proposals. We have long believed all the evidence that some form of fiscal demand management is a prerequisite to sorting out Cambridge's transport problems.

We believe that commuters to Cambridge, visitors and residents need significant enhancement of public transport before any road pricing is introduced, and that any revenues from congestion charging must be spent in a way that is fair and transparent to all users of the city and their representatives.

Our criticisms of the current scheme, and suggestions as to how it might be better designed, have been clearly set out in a report to the City Council."

Sian Reid, Executive Councillor for Climate Change and Growth, added

"We believe that the new Joint Transport Forum, representing as it does the both urban and rural authorities, is the ideal place to hammer out a scheme to which the City Council could sign up. Its first working meeting is on 27th June 2008."

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1) Cllr Ian Nimmo-Smith is on 01223 457257

2) Cllr Sian Reid is on 07770 382190 or 01223 356100

3) The Joint Transport Forum is a forum of the Cambridgeshire County Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridge City Council. The next meeting is on Friday 27th June 2008 at Shire Hall at 11am and the agenda will be on the County Council website.

4) The City Council's criticism of the current scheme and suggestions on how to improve it are in a report at http://www.cambridge.gov.uk/public/councillors/agenda/2008/0108env/06.pdf

5) A written response to a question from City Councillor Chris Howell to Cllr Nimmo-Smith is set out below:

"Cambridge City Council Annual Meeting Thursday 22 May 2008;

Oral question from Cllr Chris Howell to Cllr Ian Nimmo-Smith

Does this Council believe some form of congestion charging or road pricing should be implemented in Cambridge City?

Since no time was available to answer this question orally at the meeting, Cllr Ian Nimmo-Smith issued a written response on 17 June 2008.

Modal shift is the key to achieving sustainable transport in Cambridge both now and in the future. The evidence of a string of studies from CHUMMS onwards is that the necessary level of modal shift in personal travel in the subregion can only be achieved if there is a stick in the form of fiscal demand management as well as the carrots of significantly enhanced services and facilities for public transport, cycling and walking.

The Liberal Democrats in Cambridge have recognised this for some years and at the Guided Bus inquiry pressed for the County Council to do the necessary studies. The recent survey in connection with the current TIF proposals confirms this likely effect of road pricing on modal shift so long as it is introduced after introducing significant enhancements to public transport.

While we have considerable reservations about the currently proposed scheme we would not rule out supporting a better-founded set of proposals. We would like to develop the TIF proposals with the County Council and with South Cambridgeshire District Council via the new Joint Transport Forum, which will now have its first working meeting on Friday 27 June.

We have set out criteria in the report to Environment Scrutiny copies of which were tabled for members at the Annual Council meeting. It is available on the council website at

http://www.cambridge.gov.uk/public/councillors/agenda/2008/0108env/06.pdf]

The essentials of this are: significant enhancement of public transport before any road pricing is introduced; very substantial resident discounts; scales of charging related to fuel emissions; transport planning for the area to be under an Integrated Transport Authority set up under the Local Transport Bill when enacted.

National policy of the Liberal Democrats expresses a commitment in the longer term to a national scheme of road user pricing that would charge vehicles according to their use of congested roads and according to their emissions. More particularly Liberal Democrats support the use of local congestion charging schemes, where local areas are in favour of these and where public transport alternatives are available."

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