District Councils Oppose Expressway

There is growing opposition to plans for an Oxford to Cambridge expressway, one possible route of which could go south of Oxford and close to Clifton Hampden.  Both South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse District Councils have voted to oppose the proposed new road and a local MP has joined in the chorus of complaints.

Highways England opened the public debate last year when the government body revealed details of several possible routes the new road could take eastwards from the A34 in Oxfordshire.  There will be more public consultation in September for people to give their views about the £4.5bn road.

The leader of South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) Sue Cooper said that the new expressway would have significant adverse impacts on Oxfordshire.  She said it would create a major source of air and noise pollution, destroy farmland and habitat and increase CO2 emissions.  She added: “All of which are incompatible with the recent Climate Emergency declared by this council in April.”

Opponents of the scheme have called for the money to be directed towards public transport including the electrification of the East-West rail project which starts in Oxford and goes via Bicester, Milton Keynes, Bedford and Cambridge.

Writing in The Herald newspaper Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran said if the government was genuine about cutting carbon emissions, why did it continue with a policy of increasing road capacity when all the evidence showed that it leads to more car and lorry traffic in the long run.

She said: “The business case for the rail link shows that it is significantly better value for money.  The line was to be electrified and now that’s been dropped.  Similarly electrification between Didcot and Oxford has been delayed and the branch to Cowley has remained unopened.  Alongside this bus services have disappeared and very slow progress on investment in cycling.”

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