1. ITV Report

Severe congestion as campaigners block Cambridge roads

Drivers in Cambridge were faced with severe congestion this weekend due to a combination of climate change protests and an outdoor festival in the city centre.

An estimated 20,000 people were expected to attend the Cambridge Big Weekend on Parker's Piece which started on Friday evening and runs until Sunday.

The festival will clash with a planned protest by the Extinction Rebellion climate change campaign group on Saturday who are due to block a number of roads, as well as preventing access to the Grand Arcade car park.

Which roads will be closed to traffic?

  • Trumpington St
  • Pembroke St
  • Downing St
  • Tennis Court Rd (all from 8am)
  • Regent St (from 12pm)
The Big Weekend Festival is expected to attract 20,000 people across the three days. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The city council is urging people heading to the festival to use public transport and leave their cars at home in order to avoid adding to the congestion.

With the city centre streets set to be even busier than normal this weekend, some people have questioned the timing of Saturday's protest, but a member of the Extinction Rebellion group told ITV News Anglia that disruption was unavoidable.

"With this kind of action, there is going to be disruption. It's a necessary part of the action," Jane Goodland from Extinction Rebellion said.

"If we don't have the disruption, then it's too easy for the council or other authorities to ignore what's going on.

"We've tried to work out how we can cause the least amount of disruption possible by notifying the bus companies.

"We've tried petitions and they are just not working. So now it's time to go to that next level with the civil disobedience, causing disruption, stopping business as usual, so they have to listen and they (the council) have to act."

Extinction Rebellion have staged similar protests in the city before, holding up traffic outside the Grand Arcade shopping centre in one of their more recent demonstrations in March.

Jane Goodland from Extinction Rebellion said the group will be trying to keep disruption to a minimum. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Cllr Rosy Moore from Cambridge City Council said tackling climate change remains a big priority for the council and she understood why the group had organised the protest.

"We absolutely understand and support the message behind this protest and that is why the city council declared a climate emergency in February," she said.

"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."