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Council rules out congestion charge

Congestion Charging

Back in July, the capital’s transport boss, Councillor Ralph Cook, said that council officers had been instructed to consider the issue of a congestion charge. Just weeks after saying this revenue-raising scheme was being considered, the Labour council administration has ‘categorically ruled out’ any such congestion charge.

The decision was announced yesterday, and follows a campaign by the Liberal Democrats, who ran a leaflet and social media campaign against congestion charges as part of its bid to win the Cardiff South and Penarth by-election.

Coun Cook is cabinet member with responsibility for highways, traffic and transportation, and said there was “never a proposal to introduce a congestion charge so there was nothing to drop…  I would be expected to acquaint myself with all the potential levers for tackling congestion on our city streets.”

Cook received a paper from council officers on the controversial proposal and reached the decision that a congestion charge would not be introduced by the administration.

Leader of the Lib Dems Judith Woodman and Dr. Bablin Molik, their candidate, considered that their party’s campaign had “put an end to Labour’s ill-conceived congestion charge plans.”

Dr. Molik said that “The voice of the people has been heard loud and clear and Labour have been forced into an embarrassing climb-down”. 

However, Stephen Doughty, Labour’s candidate for the by-election, said the Liberal Democrats, “… have stirred up fear and uncertainty in communities across Cardiff South and Penarth with a campaign that piled one piece of spin on top of another in a desperate attempt to smear the Labour council and deceive local people, while avoiding talking about the real issues locally.”

Cardiff drivers will no doubt be relieved that they will not face the charge. But those concerned about noise, traffic and the environment might question whether enough is being done to encourage the use of alternative transport in Cardiff, including cycling and public transport.

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