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Stop the Oxfordshire ‘Road to Ruin’!

Oxford Friends of the Earth is a thriving and effective local group that has been active for over 40 years. Our purpose is to work together to promote a healthy and sustainable environment

Stop the Oxfordshire ‘Road to Ruin’!

New Roads in Oxfordshire? – time to say NO!

Oxfordshire County Council are proposing to build a new 9 mile road from the A34 at Milton through to the A415 near Clifton Hampden and then through to the B4015 to take traffic to the A4074 (the Oxford – Reading road).

This will impact on all villages along its route. Five local parish councils are paying for expert advice to help them oppose the plan. Other objectors include BBOWT, our county Wildlife Trust. 

Oxford Friends of the Earth oppose this plan and urge you to join us in objecting (see below) and sign our petition here: Stop the Oxfordshire Road to Ruin

We have a few weeks to mobilise public opposition to this road scheme (formally the ‘HIF1’ plan). This is being promoted by Oxfordshire County Council (OCC). Their own Planning Committee will make a decision on it in April and their Cabinet is discussing it before that in March.   We have written to every councillor setting out the reasons to withdraw this plan – the letter is here.

This road will generate more traffic and merely shift congestion from one site to another. It will increase carbon emissions at a time when we must be cutting them rapidly. It will slice through our countryside and involve a major new bridge over the Thames.

But there’s a bit more to it than that. This road is important not just because of the damage it will do.
It is symptomatic of the poorly planned approaches to growth and new housing across the county over recent years. New houses are proposed so new roads follow. We need a much better system.

The road comes at a time when the County Council is consulting on its ‘zero carbon’ transport plan (see here) with a strong target to cut car journeys. If they approve this road that plan will lose all credibility.  The urgent action required on climate change will be set right back.  The plans show that the construction of the new road will generate 154,000 tonnes of CO2 (that’s before any car journeys are made). To put that into perspective all of the County Council’s own activities generate just 13,000 tonnes annually.

It also seems likely that the County Council will need to borrow £40M or more to pay towards the costs of this road. Costs have already soared from £218 million to £294 million.  Oxfordshire taxpayers will be footing the bill for years to come.

We can find no evidence (we have asked for it) that this proposal has followed the 2018 government guidance on Transport Appraisal for new roads.

This is the time when Oxfordshire County Council has to work out just how committed to its climate plans it really is.  We need councillors to show that commitment and do the right thing.

Please sign our petition and share this with your friends:

Please join us in objecting and make your voice heard!

Our main grounds for objection are:

  • We must invest in clean transport rather than new roads. We need to decarbonise our transport system. Transport is the single biggest contributor to the UK’s emissions and is the only sector that has not yet achieved significant reductions from the 1990 baseline. The transport sector needs to reduce emissions by two-thirds over the next ten years if we are to meet national targets.
  • New roads designed to ‘relieve’ traffic have repeatedly led to increased traffic in the area. There is ample clear evidence on this.
  • This road is likely to take traffic off the A34 that is heading for the M40 and may be part of an ‘Expressway by stealth’. If this road is built there will be pressure for a further new road linking this one to the M40.
  • The road proposal is linked to the ‘Oxfordshire Growth Deal’ and to major new housing developments on greenfield sites. The Growth Deal figures for housing need have been widely challenged.
  • The proposal has not followed government guidance on ‘Transport Appraisal’. There is no evidence that there has been a full evaluation of all options including not building the road and public transport based solutions.
  • This road will cost £294 Million – money that should be invested in clean transport.

The new County ‘LTCP’ transport plan proposes to ‘replace or remove 1 out of every 4 current car trips in Oxfordshire by 2030’. Building this new road will instead increase car trips and undermine the Council’s own plans and commitments to a zero carbon future.

You can object easily. 

Go to: https://myeplanning.oxfordshire.gov.uk/Planning/Display/R3.0138/21 to fill in an online response.

Click first on ‘Accept’ to go to the main page and then on ‘Comment’, enter your details, register as ‘Objection’ under ‘Response Type’ and make your statement, using some of the points above. For more info see the end of this newsletter.  PLEASE NOTE:  The county website shows that the consultation is over, but they have stated that all comments will be taken for at least another month.