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Experts assembled to support Citizens' Assembly

Published: Thursday, August 1, 2019


A team of independent experts has been assembled to support the Greater Cambridge Citizens’ Assembly in looking at how to tackle congestion, improve air quality and provide better public transport in Greater Cambridge.

The Advisory Group met for the first time this week and brings together a panel of experts on subjects including transport, public health, growth and sustainability. They will oversee the programme and the evidence for the Citizens’ Assembly.

The Assembly – made up of 60 people who travel in and around the area – was selected through an independent process known as sortition and will consider the question ‘how do we reduce congestion, improve air quality, and provide better public transport in Greater Cambridge?’ when they meet in September.

The Assembly builds upon the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s Choices for Better Journeys campaign, which saw more than 5,000 people give their views on measures to cut congestion and improve public transport.

The six members of the Advisory Group are:

·         Dr Tom Cohen – Senior Research Associate at the University College London Centre for Transport Studies

·         Andrew Carter – Chief Executive Centre for Cities

·         Carolyn Daher – Coordinator of the Urban Planning, Environment and Health Initiative Barcelona Institute for Public Health (ISGlobal)

·         Steve Gooding – Director at the RAC Foundation

·         Professor Michael Neuman – Professor of Sustainable Urbanism, University of Westminster

·         Darren Shirley – Chief Executive at the Campaign for Better Transport 

Andrew Carter, chief executive of the Centre for Cities, said: “Greater Cambridge is one of the most dynamic and innovative cities in the country. Ensuring the future prosperity of Greater Cambridge is important not just for its residents and workers but also for the rest of the country.  

“Securing this prosperity will require tough choices to be made around congestion, air quality and public transport and how this will affect the future development of Greater Cambridge.

“The Citizens’ Assembly is the ideal mechanism for involving the public in the process of considering the options, drawing on the possible evidence and insights.”

The Advisory Group will be assisted by Peter Blake, the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s Transport Director, and Philipp Verpoort from the Sortition Foundation. They will provide context about local congestion and air quality issues and offer advice about how to enable the Citizens’ Assembly to deliberate but they will not be members of the Advisory Group.

The Citizens’ Assembly will hear from a number of experts over two weekends in September and October before drawing up a series of recommendations.

These recommendations will be put before the GCP’s Executive Board in December along with the Choices for Better Journeys findings and a fully worked-up package of measures to transform the way people travel around Greater Cambridge.

Cllr Aidan Van de Weyer, Chair of the Greater Cambridge Partnership, said:

“I am delighted that we have an experienced independent Advisory Group to ensure there is a robust and meaningful debate about the challenges in Greater Cambridge.

“The Citizens’ Assembly provides a unique opportunity for people who travel in or around Cambridge to discuss the issues we all face and put forward ideas that will help us to improve air quality, cut congestion, transform public transport and enable more people to walk and cycle in Greater Cambridge.

“I look forward to seeing the recommendations from the Citizens’ Assembly later this year.”

The GCP was awarded £60,000 and expert support to launch the Citizens' Assembly, as part of the Government’s Innovation in Democracy Programme, jointly delivered by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government. 

People can apply to be an observer of the Citizens’ Assembly meetings and also share their experiences of travelling in and around the area to assist the Assembly.

Visit www.greatercambridge.org.uk/cityaccess/greater-cambridge-citizens-assembly/ for more information.