‘Inaction is a political choice’: Camcycle statement on the Sustainable Travel Zone, September 2023

Following recent political annoucements from the Liberal Democrats and Labour parties that imply that current proposals for a Sustainable Travel Zone in Cambridge are unlikely to proceed, Camcycle has released this statement ahead of the meeting of the Greater Cambridge Partnership Joint Assembly.

“Inaction is a political choice that will have a detrimental impact on our transport network. It will not address the urgent issues of our growing region including health, pollution, road safety and carbon emissions.

Cycling has always been, and will continue to be, part of the solution. Camcycle will never stop campaigning for the things that enable more, better and safer cycling, which will in turn deliver benefits for everyone, even those who do not ride themselves. To achieve a high-quality, accessible cycle network across our region, it is essential to secure both an increased level of investment in dedicated cycle infrastructure and a reduction in the speed and volume of motor traffic on our roads. Our rural routes should be safe for all ages and abilities, and our urban areas should be places for people not traffic jams.

When we surveyed Camcycle members in October 2022, 88% supported the principle of a Sustainable Travel Zone (STZ) for Cambridge. If decision-makers are going to completely give up on this idea, and all the benefits it would have brought, urgent action is needed on alternative schemes that will achieve a reduction in motor traffic and the income for sustainable transport modes that is equal to what the STZ was forecast to achieve. The Greater Cambridge Partnership must accelerate work on the other parts of its City Access project: the road network hierarchy review, quick wins on walking and cycling, an integrated parking strategy, sustainable solutions to last-mile deliveries and behaviour change programmes to support individual and business transitions use of active travel and public transport. It should also consult on other income-generating proposals including a Workplace Parking Levy: a concept that has cross-party support and could be implemented quickly. All local authorities must also play their part in improving transport at all levels of decision-making from planning to bus reform.

What cannot happen is that our region wastes another decade and more millions of taxpayers’ money failing to take action for change. Since 1990, when congestion charging was first discussed, our young people (the majority of whom supported the Sustainable Travel Zone in the 2022 consultation) have been failed. The poorest and most isolated in society have been failed. Our local businesses, strangled by congestion, have been failed. It’s time to turn the tide.”