Plans to charge operators £50 every time their HGVs enter Cambridge city centre look likely to be abandoned after concerns were raised by business groups and politicians about the impact of a proposed peak time congestion charge amid a cost of living crisis.
The RHA said it welcomed the scrapping of the congestion charge proposals, but Cambridge City Council told Motor Transport no formal decision had yet been taken.
Nevertheless, the ruling group on the council said it did not believe the current proposals should proceed.
In a statement by the Cambridge Labour party, it said it had reservations about a peak-hours only charge, as well as the extent of the mitigations for people on low incomes as the charge would impact bus and coach passengers too.
Local councillors and business representatives recommended that a paper was prepared to outline the consequences of not proceeding with the proposals, which include introducing a road user charge between 7am and 7pm on weekdays.
The RHA said it had campaigned to scrap the charge and added that lessons needed to be learned from the furore surrounding London’s recent ULEZ expansion plans:
“We all want better air quality and less congestion and we must find ways which avoid causing financial problems for communities and businesses,” said Chris Ashley, RHA policy lead for environment and vehicles.”
Ashley said policies like the ULEZ did not allow a second hand market of affordable compliant vehicles to develop.
“We need to learn these lessons as we continue the journey to net zero. We must think differently – there are other ways to improve air quality.
“The rules must be attainable for everyone – we’ve got to make it easier for people and businesses to move away from fossil fuels.”
A spokesman for the city council said there would be a meeting on 28 September to make a formal decision. “Whatever the outcome, the city council will continue to work closely with partners to tackle congestion, improve air quality, and reduce emissions in Cambridge including through improved public transport and better, safer infrastructure for sustainable travel,” the spokesman said.
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