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Lib Dems accuse county council of failing to control city pollution

October 16, 2008 12:18 PM

Furious Cambridge Liberal Democrats have accused the county council of failing to control pollution in the historic city centre in relation to the Guided Bus and other new bus services.

With city centre buses predicted to more than double per hour in the city centre by 2021, the Lib Dems claim the county council has failed in its partnership working with Cambridge City Council over air quality management.

Executive councillor for environmental and waste services, Colin Rosenstiel said: "A minimum emission standard has been set for the Guided Bus which is far from the best standard available. This is simply not good enough for Cambridge.

"The Lib Dem city council pushed for higher emission standards and this is vital to protect the air quality in the historic city centre. It is difficult to see how a considerable increase in buses will be managed in a way that does not lead to higher carbon emissions."

A city council officer warned that total emission levels will rise despite in the fall in the pollution from individual buses because of the growth in numbers.

His report said that the levels of improvement currently are not stretching enough, in terms of emissions, to accommodate the growth in services envisaged.

The advice was given to the Cambridge Environment and Traffic Management Area Joint Committee but not even asked for by the county council Cabinet.

And with only six months to go before the Guided Bus is due to be launched, Cambridgeshire County Council has just revealed that up to 33 new stops could be needed in the city centre for its exclusive use.

One hundred and twenty five buses an hour run through the city centre at the moment, but this figure is expected to increase to 267 an hour by 2021 including 36 Guided Bus journeys.

Executive councillor for climate change and growth, Sian Reid, said: "This aggressive new programme of bus stops seems to take no notice of the impact increased carbon dioxide emissions will have on air quality. If we are to have more buses in the city centre they must be of a very high quality.

"Cambridge needs a progressive and environmentally sensitive and strategic approach to public transport, which is properly funded