Local Elections 2021: Cambridge-Cambourne busway divides candidates

Media caption,
Local Elections 2021: Cambridge to Cambourne busway 'a bad scheme'

Plans for a £160m Cambridge to Cambourne busway have been discussed since 2015 but after six years and multiple proposed routes there is still no agreement. Campaigners have labelled it a "bad scheme". How will mayoral candidates improve transport for commuters?

The proposed Cambridge to Cambourne busway, an extension of the city's current scheme, has been one of the county's most controversial transport projects.

An independent audit was commissioned in January after key stakeholders failed to agree on the preferred route.

Coton parish councillor Helen Bradbury said the current proposals would damage the countryside and not be an attractive option for commuters.

She said: "There's no good links to key commuter destinations.

"You could reduce congestion on that route from 40 minutes to 10 minutes by putting bus lanes at pinch points. You could do that for one-twentieth of the cost," she said.

All three candidates for Mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority have plans to improve public transport, but each is drastically different.

In alphabetical order, they set out their plans below.

Nik Johnson, Labour

Image source, Nik Johnson

"I will immediately prioritise taking all local buses under the direct control of the combined authority and plan for a huge investment in a green, low-carbon bus network of "Fen Tigers", with flexible fare policies, linking rural communities, market towns and our two cities.

"A proposed plan for a new busway continuing up to the Fens alongside other bus routes radiating in all directions from Cambridge complement the vision of enhanced bus networks."

James Palmer, Conservatives

Image source, Terry Harris

"The Cambourne to Cambridge Busway is a scheme that has been poorly thought-out and scandalously handled from day one by the Greater Cambridge Partnership. A busway to nowhere, it does not and will not address the congestion problems facing Cambridge.

"It has been poorly consulted and little or no consideration has been given to east/west rail, CAM metro or where all those buses will go when they get to West Cambridge.

"Unlike the GCP's ill-conceived busways, CAM metro is a fully integrated, complete transport vision that will create a platform for sustainable growth across the region. If I am elected mayor, I will bring the GCP into the combined authority and offer streamlined, joined-up transport solutions that benefit the whole area."

Aidan Van de Weyer, Liberal Democrats

Image source, Aidan Van de Weyer

"It is vital to get a really good public transport link between Cambourne and Cambridge. Cambourne shouldn't have been built without one.

"We've not been able to get agreement on the exact route, so I'm pleased to say we are now having an independent audit of the process so far, which will report in a couple of months. We then need to come up with a plan that everyone can stick to."

Current figures from the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU), show that for every £100 spent by Cambridgeshire County Council £4.74 goes on Highways and Transport. However, this does not include other forms of council spending such as one-off capital investments.

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Note: This lookup covers national elections in Scotland and Wales, the Hartlepool by-election, as well as council and mayoral elections in England and Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections in England and Wales. There may be parish council elections or council by-elections where you are. Check your local council website for full details. Last updated: May 11, 2021, 12:35 GMT

A special programme with all three candidates - called A Mayor for Cambridge and Peterborough - will be broadcast at 14:20 BST on Sunday on BBC One in the East.

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