Cambridge roads charge could fund better buses in Saffron Walden

An Ultra Low Emission Zone sign in London; Inset: Babraham Road Park&Ride in Cambridge; Inset: A bus stop in Saffron Walden

A congestion or emissions charge could help promote green schemes around Cambridge - Credit: PA Wire and Archant/Will Durrant

Saffron Walden could benefit from a bus to Cambridge every 10 minutes as part of the city's pollution-busting plan.

The Greater Cambridge Partnership is asking residents for their views on a draft green travel plan which could enhance the bus network south of Cambridge from 2023.

The plan includes emissions or congestion charging in the city centre amid warnings that more than 100 city and South Cambridgeshire residents die early as a result of air pollution each year.

Bus travel times between Saffron Walden and the city are set to fall by up to 40 minutes if the scheme goes ahead.

The Greater Cambridge Partnership forecasts an extra 26,000 daily car journeys in the region by 2031 if nothing is done to combat car dependency.

The partnership's Making Connections report reads: "We need to reduce traffic and provide better alternatives to cars to address the climate emergency.

"Switching every vehicle for an electric one cannot be the answer.

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"Building electric cars still uses energy and resources - including rare metals that have to be mined.

"Electric cars still produce particulate emissions through their braking systems, contributing to air pollution.

"Simply swapping petrol and diesel cars for electric will not tackle the congestion that prevents the running of fast, regular and reliable public transport."

The region between Saffron Walden and Cambridge will become a "bus corridor" if plans go ahead.

Between 7am and 7pm, a mix of express and stopping routes will run every 10 minutes between Saffron Walden and Cambridge, via the biomedical campus.

Some routes will plug into a proposed Cambridge South railway station or a Cambridge South West Travel Hub.

A bus map showing a range of bus routes between Cambridge and Saffron Walden or Royston

Saffron Walden and Royston's proposed "bus corridor" with Cambridge - Credit: Greater Cambridge Partnership

A bus will also run every 15 minutes between Cambridge and Haverhill, with some stopping at Linton.

A new A11 Travel Hub and Park-and-Ride could open near Abington to boost capacity.

Buses from a new A11 Park-and-Ride at Fourwentways could use a guided busway.

A green Babraham Road Park and Ride, Cambridge bus

Babraham Road Park and Ride, Cambridge. Picture: Will Durrant - Credit: Archant

The Making Connections report promises "lower fares", but road user charging could be introduced to promote future bus, walking and cycling schemes.

A consultation on the plan is online and ends on December 20: http://www.greatercambridge.org.uk/making-connections-2021