Thank you for your letter and for sharing your suggestions with me. I recognise the multitude of factors that you have raised with me and support your commitment to ensuring the creation of sustainable and integrated transport within Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. The Combined Authority, Cambridgeshire County Council, Greater Cambridge Partnership, Peterborough City Council and other constituent bodies remain in constant contact regarding our Active Travel plans and I will ask my officers to ensure our plans remain aligned with those of our respective local authorities. We note your point regarding Cambridgeshire County Council’s position on developing an Active Travel Strategy. We are part of these discussions and welcome that the County Council are taking a proactive step forward which links in with our overall strategy.
I recognise your concerns regarding the title of Cycling Tsar which was publicly announced on the 6th of August 2021. I am pleased to confirm following conversations with my officers and with other authorities that have appointed a Tsar/Commissioner. I have been able to reflect on these discussions and confirm that this has now been revised to an Active Travel Tsar to represent the multifaceted composition of journeys in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Proposals are to bring together interested parties within our Forum to ensure all modes of transport are considered within the discussion.
Following the announcement, we have also developed a role profile for the Active Travel Tsar, and we will be looking to advertise the position in the near future. I am heartened by the number of my constituents that have been interested in taking on the role of Active Travel Tsar. They will all be invited to formally make an application in the very new future. Part of the Tsar’s role will include organising the structure/composition of the forum, and the inclusion of different parties within this. I share your concerns about ensuring that this individual remains independent, and this will form a part of the job specifications of this appointment. Furthermore, I recognise your concerns about ensuring Access for All within our Active Travel proposals, and I will take this on board to ensure a full breadth of views are represented within the future Forum.
As you have also outlined there is a very distinct need to undertake a quick, high-quality review of the Local Transport and Connectivity Plan (LTCP). These changes (both challenges and opportunities) include:
- New CO2 and EV targets published by government, contained within:
a) Decarbonisation of Transport Plan (DTP)
b) The Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution document
- New national walking and cycling policy published by government entitled Gear Change.
- Climate Change Commission recommendations (February 2021);
- A number of developments within the OxCam Arc, including England’s Economic Heartland Transport Strategy and the changes to the spatial strategy framework;
- The effects of COVID-19, which are being felt across the transportation sector with impacts on public transport and active travel. In addition, it is important to ensure that there is not a predominantly car-based recovery during the establishment of the “new normal”;
- The Comprehensive Spending Review, which was undertaken in late 2020 (one year review) and it is anticipated there will be a three-year review at the end of 2021;
- As the LTP was published early in 2020 much of the data is now more than two years out of date, both in relation to transport and non-transport related challenges and opportunities; and
- Since the publication of the LTP the Combined Authority and partners have made significant progress in relation to strategic schemes, including A428, East-West Rail, Peterborough Station quarter and the Greater Cambridge Local Plan. The acceleration of these schemes together with the changes in government (local and national) policy has increased the need for a refreshed LTCP.
I hope that I have been able to convey my commitment to all these matters, and in alignment with my 3c’s, Compassion, Co-operation, and Community, I will endeavour to share further updates with you in the foreseeable future.
Dr Nik Johnson
Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough