Cambridge congestion charge

Many residents have expressed surprise and dismay at Cambridge City’s proposed congestion charge. This is a letter from the Chief Executive of Uttlesford District Council to the Greater Cambridge Partnership objecting to the imposition of the congestion charge for car journeys to the Biomedical Campus (which includes Addenbrookes and its associated hospitals).

At the full Council meeting on December 6th members of the council voted to approve the following motion:

The council requests the chief executive to respond to the consultation expressing this council’s serious concern about the financial impact and stress of the proposals on the many patients, carers, visitors and staff from Uttlesford for whom alternatives to car transport are not realistic. The GCP is to be strongly requested to exclude the Cambridge Biomedical Campus from any congestion charge implementation.

The population of Uttlesford at the 2021 census was 91,300. Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Royal Papworth Hospital and the Rosie Maternity Hospital are the providers of most hospital and out-patient medical services to the largest proportion of our residents, particularly in the North of the district, there being otherwise only one small community hospital in the district.  Uttlesford is a largely rural district with limited, and to many areas, no public transport, and so travel must by many be by car.

In the debate approving this motion, our Councillors discussed:

  1. The Biomedical Campus situation on the southern outskirts of Cambridge, reached from the M11 by a recently built road entering from the south. Driving to the hospitals from Uttlesford therefore does not add to congestion in the city centre. It was considered unreasonable for patients, carers, visitors and staff from Uttlesford to pay a charge to alleviate something they do not create, and intended to support bus services they would not be serviced by.
  2. It was considered unrealistic that those who are ill and their carers would switch travel mode to, for example, park and ride, regardless of a charge. Personal examples were quoted.
  3. The financial impact on people who are already under medical stress was an acute concern
  4. It was also noted that the £10 or £50 charge for larger vehicles would be a levy on all the deliveries to the hospitals and add to the costs for the NHS, as would likely be passed on.
  5. It was noted that there is no local air quality issue to be addressed and ‘The Air Quality Report for Cambridge covering 2020 shows no exceedances of statutory limits anywhere since 2017, year on year pollution reductions, and the roadside monitor near Addenbrookes showed less than half the legal NO2 limit and also on a reducing trend’

Overall, the conclusion of the debate in agreeing the motion could be summarised as the Congestion Charge for going to the hospitals would be a tax on those who are ill and add a further stress to those with no choice about going there, and for all that obvious disbenefit, would in any event achieve no material reduction in road congestion in the crowded city centre.

I ask therefore on behalf of the members of Uttlesford District Council and the residents of our district that the GCP take full account of these objections to the inclusion of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus in the proposed congestion charge system

Yours sincerely

Peter Holt, Chief ExecutiveUttlesford District Council


The consultation closes at midday on 23 December 2022.

One comment on “Cambridge congestion charge

  1. Another way to tax people going about their business- the park and rides are already full and so there is no way of people avoiding this tax
    If the main aim is to reduce congestion in Cambridge then at least offer an alternative and improve the infrastructure first – still no station at Addenbrookes hospital which would offer staff and patients an alternative and reduce the parking issues there and also serve hills road, long road, the Perse school and all the new housing estates in that area – implement this before putting in a congestion charge

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