NEWS: The Herald July 25th, 2019
Imagine the things we could do with Expressway cash
Layla Moran MP has written an article for the Herald, “Expressway cash could be spent on cycling.“
“LAST week Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire Councils voted to oppose the building of the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway.
A week earlier, I chaired a meeting in Radley which saw hundreds of local residents express their concerns about the scheme.
Opposition to the Government’s proposal is growing.
I have asked repeatedly for there to be a proper public consultation on whether this scheme should go ahead at all.
The scheme will be hugely damaging to the local environment along the route, but it will also lead to a further large increase in traffic levels. Even the business case for the scheme itself says that.
Increasingly, and rightly, people are asking whether public investment should go into major road schemes like this at all.
If the Government is genuine about cutting carbon emissions, why continue with a policy of increasing road capacity when all the evidence, including their own, shows that it simply leads to more car and lorry traffic in the long run?
Contrast that with their attitude to rail.
The East-West rail link, which has been on the table for decades, would take traffic off the roads AND reduce journey times by more than the Expressway. 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, the Cowley Branch line remains unopened, residents in Wantage and Grove have been waiting decades for their station to be reopened and proposals for a rapid transit link between Witney and Oxford keeps being argued down by the Conservatives.
Alongside this, we have seen local bus services disappear and very slow progress on investment in cycling.
Last year’s ‘Running Out Of Road’ report by Andrew Gilligan into the potential for cycling around the Oxford area demonstrated how a tiny fraction of the cost of the Expressway could transform cycling in and around Oxford.
Yet we see the Conservative county council dropping schemes like the Eynsham Botley Community Path scheme because, apparently, cycle infrastructure doesn’t enable housing to go ahead but road building does.
Rather than continuing to spend millions working up the detail of the Expressway that may never happen, the Government should ask the public whether they support it at all, and look seriously at diverting that money into better railways, other public transport and cycle infrastructure.”
See the article on the Herald website here.
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No Expressway Group believes there is no need for an Oxford-Cambridge Expressway, nor the over-inflated housing targets associated with it, and we will actively campaign against it and support other organisations with the same objectives.
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