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People travelling to The Big Weekend on 6 July urged to leave their car at home to avoid severe congestion

News release from 28/06/2019

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.

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.”


  1. The city council declared a ‘climate emergency’ in February, calling 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.
  2. Specifically, the council has called on the government to make available the funding and policies needed to tackle the climate emergency, including:
    - Investment in the necessary infrastructure at the national level for clean, efficient renewable energy to end CO2 emissions from the generation of heat and electricity;
     Funding for energy efficiency measures for homes;
    - Investment in energy efficient public transport across the country;
    - Taking action to make electric vehicles more affordable and accessible to people and businesses.

  3. In February, the city council also reaffirmed its commitment to reducing carbon emissions from the council’s buildings and services through developing and investing in carbon reduction projects, as outlined in its Carbon Management Plan for 2016-2021. 

  4. By implementing a range of projects, including installing solar PV panels and LED lighting across a number of leisure centres, car parks and office buildings, the council has already reduced its carbon emissions by its target of 15% and is on track to achieve its aspiration to reduce carbon emissions by 20% by March 2021. 

  5. The council also established a Cambridge Climate Charter, which calls on all organisations, businesses and individuals in the city to each establish their own carbon reduction plans to work towards achieving the city’s net carbon-zero aspiration.

  6. The council will also continue to support residents and businesses in Cambridge to reduce their carbon emissions by implementing a range of measures set out in its existing Climate Change Strategy for 2016-2021, including:
    - Installing more than 20 rapid electric chargers for taxis in Cambridge by 2020 and making changes to taxi licensing regulations to encourage a shift from diesel vehicles to low or zero-emission alternatives;
    - Working with partners in the Greater Cambridge Partnership to promote use of sustainable transport through investment in cycleways and better bus transport;
    - Ensuring that the high energy efficiency and sustainability standards set out in the council’s Sustainable Housing Design Guide are met in new council housing developments where viable;
    - Collecting a wide range of recyclable materials from residential and commercial premises.

  7. Cambridge City Council’s Climate Change Strategy 2016-21 sets out five key objectives for how the council will address the causes and consequences of climate change by:
    - Reducing emissions from the council estate and operations
    - Reducing energy consumption and emissions from homes and businesses in Cambridge by promoting energy efficiency measures, sustainable construction, renewable energy sources and behaviour change
    - Reducing emissions from transport by promoting sustainable transport, reducing car travel and traffic congestion, and encouraging behaviour change
    - Reducing consumption of resources, increasing recycling and reducing waste
    - Supporting council services, residents and businesses to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

  8. The council’s Carbon Management Plan 2016-21 sets out how it will reduce carbon emissions from the council’s estate and operations to address Objective 1 of the Climate Change Strategy. The council has set a target of reducing carbon emissions from the council’s estate and operations by 15% from 2014-15 levels by the end of 2020-21, with an aspiration to reduce emissions by 20% over this period. By implementing a range of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, the council has already reduced its carbon emissions by 18.4% and is on track to achieve its aspiration to reduce carbon emissions by 20% by March 2021. Measures installed include:

    Solar PV panels on a number of the council’s main buildings:
    - The Guildhall
    - Mandela House
    - Parkside Pool
    - Abbey Leisure Complex
    - King’s Hedges Pool
    - Cambridge City Crematorium, and
    - Whitefriars Court sheltered housing scheme.

    LED lighting upgrades at:
    - Mandela House
    - Grand Arcade, Grand Arcade Annex and Grafton East Car Parks
    - The Corn Exchange
    - Solar thermal system at Abbey Pool to heat the pools, and a subsequent upgrade of the  system to utilise the heat generated in the hot water system for the showers and other services

  9. The city council is promoting the actions that individuals can to take to reduce their emissions and help tackle climate change which include:
    - Buying less meat, milk, cheese and butter, buying more locally sourced seasonal food and throwing less of it away
    - Driving electric cars and walking or cycling short distances
    - Taking trains and buses instead of planes
    - Using videoconferencing instead of travelling for business
    - Using a washing line instead of a tumble dryer
    - Insulating homes properly

  10. This year, The Big Weekend festival of fun and free entertainment features live music from Doctor and the Medics, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, a DJ set from Craig Charles plus the traditional spectacular fireworks display on the Friday evening. Saturday sees more live music acts on stage, plus a host of market stalls, food and drink, family activities, a sports zone, science demonstrations, and a silent disco plus DJ sets from the Alley Club. The Big Weekend is rounded off by the annual Cambridge Mela celebration of Asian music, dance and culture on the Sunday with Panjabi MC, Apache Indian and much more.