Press Release by Cambridgeshire County Council
PEOPLE intending to travel to Cambridge for The Big Weekend or to visit the city centre on Saturday 6 July are being urged to leave their car at home and walk or cycle to the event – or use public transport, including the park and ride.
The Big Weekend, which is organised by the Cambridge City Council, will once again welcome thousands of people of all ages across three days of free entertainment on Parker’s Piece from Friday 5 to Sunday 7 July.
This year, the city council, Cambridgeshire County Council and Cambridgeshire Constabulary are all strongly advising people to travel to the event by public transport, particularly on Saturday 6 July, in order to avoid severe congestion similar to that sometimes seen on Bonfire Night.
An organisation known as Extinction Rebellion Cambridge is planning a protest in the city centre on 6 July that will involve them blocking a number of roads and preventing access to the Grand Arcade car park.
These road blocks, on a busy Saturday in Cambridge, are expected to cause major congestion in the city centre.
Residents of Cambridge are being urged to walk, cycle or use local bus services to get to The Big Weekend or the city centre on 6 July in order to avoid contributing to congestion.
The road blocks currently being planned by Extinction Rebellion include closing a rectangle of roads north of Lensfield Road, involving blocks at Regent Street, Trumpington Street and Tennis Court Road to the south, at the western end of Pembroke Street and initially at the north end of Trumpington Street and Regent Street to stop vehicles using the streets from the north (see attached map).
The protesters have said they will hold carnival style activities on the blocked roads and that they intend to allow public transport to operate, although some diversions will be necessary. They have also said that they do not intend to disrupt The Big Weekend.
The council has written to city centre businesses, colleges and other organisations to advise them about the protests and to suggest they plan appropriate contingency measures.
Cllr Rosy Moore, Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Environment and City Centre said: “We strongly encourage anyone thinking of coming to The Big Weekend, or visiting central Cambridge on 6 July, to leave their car at home and to walk, cycle or use public transport.
“If people have to make part of their journey by car they should leave it at one of the park and ride sites to avoid getting stuck in city centre congestion. I would urge people to plan their journey and think about how they can walk, cycle and use public transport wherever possible.”
Commenting on the protest, Cllr Moore added: “We absolutely understand and support the message behind this protest and that is why the city council declared a climate emergency in February.
“We are wholly committed to doing all that we can to tackle climate change and we have already achieved a good deal.
“We continue to invest in initiatives that cut carbon emissions from council buildings and services, and to use the powers and funding available to us to help local residents and business to reduce their carbon footprint.
“So, we have the plans in place, but the reality is that we can only do so much. That is why we continue to call on government, industry and regulators to implement the necessary changes to enable Cambridge and the rest of the UK to reach net zero carbon by 2030.
“It is imperative that the government gives councils more powers to act locally and provides the national policies and the investment in renewable energy sources, home energy efficiency, public transport and low-emission vehicles needed if we are to achieve the 2030 target.”