Oxford-Cambridge Expressway: Articles available on our website

The following aricles about the proposed Oxford-Cambridge Expressway are available on this website or elsewhere.

Available on this Horton cum Studley website:


Available on the Beckley & Stowood website:

 


 

 

Press release: BBOWT response to oral hearing at High Court - Oxford-Cambridge Exprressway

The High Court has accepted Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust’s (BBOWT) claim against the government regarding the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway at an oral hearing at the High Court today.

 

After having been refused permission in January to bring a claim against the government, the charity applied to the court to revisit their decision at today’s hearing, and they are delighted that the original decision has been overturned.

 

In November 2018, BBOWT issued a claim in the High Court, challenging the government’s failure to commission a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) or a Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA) as part of the process of selecting a ‘Growth Corridor’ (within which the Expressway and associated housing will be built).

 

BBOWT is therefore arguing that the government has failed to assess the environmental impact of its plans, before choosing the corridor of land within which the Expressway and related housing will be built.

 

In response to the High Court decision, Matthew Stanton, Head of Planning, Policy and Advocacy, at Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust, said:

 

We are so pleased with today’s decision surrounding the government’s proposed corridor for the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway. We were forced to bring legal proceedings because the government has completely ignored European law, which requires a Strategic Environmental Assessment for schemes that impact on the environment such as this.

 

Today shows us that the government has a case to answer and we look forward to fighting for wildlife at the full hearing.

 

We will continue to scrutinise the government’s future consultations, defend wildlife in the planning process, and make sure that the potential impact of this concrete corridor is fully assessed and made public.

 

The Oxford to Cambridge Expressway could be a disaster for wildlife, and future generations may not forgive us.

 

Tom Short, solicitor for BBOWT, said:

 

The court has agreed with our client that there is an arguable case to be heard and we look forward to a substantive hearing of the important issues raised. BBOWT believes that the Government has failed to properly consider at an early stage the environmental consequences of a major infrastructure project.

 

Although a public consultation is due to take place, the Government has missed a key opportunity to listen to the public and environmental organisations and ensure that their concerns are taken into account early in the decision-making process. By ignoring concerns and refusing to undertake a Strategic Environmental Assessment key stakeholders and members of the public have been alienated from the process.

 

ENDS

Notes for editors:

  1. At the end of October 2018, the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave his support for the National Infrastructure Commission’s recommendation to build up to one million new homes in the vicinity of the Expressway. This could see the number of homes across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes nearly double.
  2. We have the support of The Wildlife Trusts nationally, and witness statements backing our case have been supplied by RSPB, Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), Plantlife and Horton cum Studley Expressway Group. We also have the support of the River Thame Conservation Trust and The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, and some parish councils located within the areas that are in danger of being affected by the development.
  3. BBOWT is calling for a legal commitment in the forthcoming Environment Act to the production of Nature Recovery Network maps that require decision makers to work within environmental limits and ensures we pay back the damage of the past by restoring our ecosystems.

 

For interviews, spokespeople or more information, please contact:

Telsha Arora

Media and Campaigns Manager

Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust

telshaarora@bbowt.org.uk

07845 014 524

 

www.bbowt.org.uk/expressway

Oxford-Cambridge Expressway: Reply from John Howell MP to Sarah Foxcroft, Chair PC

Dear Sarah

 

Thank you for your email and for sharing your concerns.

 

Highways England are not currently looking at the A420 but I have been advised that it is not entirely off the radar. I think it would be in a future phase but none the less that possibility is being considered so that provision could be made for it.

 

As I understand it the recent stakeholders exhibition set out things for and against each potential route. There is no one route that stands out above others as ‘the’ best. The meetings that have just been carried out were to start a conversation with local councils so that Highways England can gather local intelligence to assist their research. The work that Highways England are doing is independent of funding issues at this stage and not directly linked to housing. Their task is to narrow down options to a few feasible routes which will then go to formal consultation.

 

The issue of housing numbers in South Oxfordshire and the City remains contentions in my view. Through work in central Government I personally worked to give the opportunity for SODC to reduce its housing need figures. The council chose not to take that opportunity but have linked with the County Council on growth bids. However, I do know that SODC responded to the Housing Minister’s call for additional housing to be planned for specifically in relation to the Expressway in the negative.

 

Both SODC and OCC have committed to a few separate but linked growth projects. I am shortly to meet the Leaders of both Councils for a full briefing on the various projects that they are bringing together. Until then I do not have the overview and cannot really say more.

 

At least for the time being I do continue to support the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway. It is part of a much bigger strategic plan for central England and too often Governments have taken a short-term view of investment in strategic infrastructure. That said, the feasibility work will go ahead with or without my support.

 

Let’s keep in touch on this going forward.

 

John   

John Howell OBE MP FSA

Member of Parliament for the Henley Constituency

Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Nigeria | Member of the Council of Europe | Deputy Chairman Industry and Parliament Trust | Government Neighbourhood Planning Champion | Chairman Communities and Local Government Conservative Backbench Committee

House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, Tel. 020 7219 6676 

Oxford-Cambridge Expressway: Corridor map

Following map shows the WHOLE of the OxCam Expressway corridor - the new Expressway routes which Highways England are developing and studying will run through the southern (grey) area and up through either B1 or B3, and on to Milton Keynes etc.

The overall map is shown below, but please look at the ‘zoomable’ version on the link here:  https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?usp=sharing&mid=17uH8uf93WtT1hs49DYcgRXJIyrj8xXkH  . This will help you to look in detail at the areas at risk around our communities and inform your friends and neighbours. 

LEGEND: CORRIDOR B1 IN YELLOW,  B3 IN LIGHT BLUE AND THE ‘COMMON’ CORRIDOR IN GREY. (You can see that B1 and B3 overlap in the northern section above A41, that’s shown in Green)

 

 

 

 

Oxford-Cambridge Expressway: Exchange of letters between the Environmental Law Foundation and Chris Grayling/Highways England

To see the exchange of letters between the Environmental Law Foundation and Chris Grayling or the General Counsel, Highways England, please click on the images below or on the links to the attached documents. (If further correspondence follows, it will be added to the thread below.)

 

Initial letter from the Environmental Law Foundation to Chris Grayling

 

Response from General Counsel, Highways England

 

Reply from Environmental Law Foundation to General Counsel, Highways England

URGENT: Expressway Action Group request for letters to be sent to Councillors

From Peter Rutt, EAG

 

Hello everyone

 

Following our last general email to you all, lots of members have written emails and letters to MPs and Councillors following the publication of the extraordinary letter sent to Local Councils from the Housing Minister - thanks to everyone who did.

 

However, a few of the emails we have seen have been rather harsh in tone, and some also strayed off purely Expressway matters and turned to more general criticisms.  While I understand that there are issues out there which upset people, there is a danger that we will antagonise the very people we are trying to persuade, or even people who are already supporting us wholeheartedly - for example our very helpful MPs.  

 

The people we need to urgently contact and influence re Mr Malthouse’s letter are local Council leaders, Officers and the Councillors - they are the people who have been asked to respond to the Minister’s request for suggestions for ‘new settlements’ (i.e. new towns).  

 

There is a risk that some of these Councillors or Council officers may actually want large and very large new settlements South and East of Oxford (and the Expressway to go with them) and will say so when they reply to the Government’s request, without asking their residents and constituents. Others may oppose - but with so many people away on holiday and so little time to respond, there’s no chance of a full debate on the issue before the deadline.

 

We therefore need to lobby as many of them as possible by emails, letters and in meetings if the opportunity arises: 

 

1.  They should NOT suggest large new settlements in their areas to Government until proper plans have been drawn up and published, and the electorate and residents have been consulted.  Anything less would be wholly undemocratic and beyond their current mandate, and outside proper planning process. 

 

Our letters should also point out that 

 

2. We support Government aspirations for better E-W transport, better links between Road & Rail including the East-West Rail project, new affordable homes and more new jobs and new businesses: but  

 

3. We are very concerned at the risks of placing an Expressway and its New Towns in the London commuter belt south and east of Oxford - homes there would generate extra congestion on M40 and M25 and a loss of local job creation in the  ‘dormitory towns’  springing up along any Southern Expressway route.

 

4. We oppose any separation of the Expressway from the route of East West Rail, thus losing the chance to shift passenger and freight traffic from road to railway.

 

5. We strongly oppose any route for the Expressway through the Green Belt, through rare and endangered habitats, wildlife reserves and across flood plains. There should be no new roads or housing on these vulnerable and threatened lands, and instead the road should follow improved / existing major roads. 

 

We would recommend that as many letters as possible be sent to Council leaders, Councillors and senior Council officers and Chief Executives of Councils as soon as possible, because the deadline for local government submissions to central Government is in less than 6 weeks, and they will have begun working on this already… so every day counts.  

 

With thanks from everyone...

 

All best regards

 

Peter  Rutt / EAG

 

District Council: 

Oxford City

Chief Executive, Gordon Mitchell
gmitchell@oxford.gov.uk

Senior PA to Leader & CE, Emma Mace
Tel: 01865 252354
emace@oxford.gov.uk

South and Vale

Chief Executive, Mark Stone
Tel: 01491 823103
Fax: 01491 823104
mark.stone@southandvale.gov.uk

Personal Assistant, Sharon Lee
sharon.lee@southandvale.gov.uk
01235 422099

West Oxon

Chief Executive, David Neudegg
david.neudegg@westoxon.gov.uk

Guest, Mrs Joanna Neudegg

Personal Assistant, Mandy Smith
Tel: 01993 861613
mandy.smith@westoxon.gov.uk

Details about the chairmen of Oxfordshire's district councils and town mayors. Some selected below … https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/council/about-your-council/government-oxfordshire/mayors-and-chairmen

Chairman of Oxfordshire County Council

Councillor Gill Sanders
Email: chairman@oxfordshire.gov.uk

Personal Assistant, Sara Lenihan
Tel: 07917 092949
Email: sara.lenihan@oxfordshire.gov.uk

Chairman of Cherwell District Council

Councillor Maurice Billington
Email: chairman@cherwell-dc.gov.uk

Personal Assistant to Chairman, Liz Matthews
Tel: 01295 227967
Email: liz.matthews@cherwell-dc.gov.uk

Chairman of South Oxfordshire District Council

Assistant to the Leaders and Chairmen, Karen Dodd
Tel: 01235 422082
Email: karen.dodd@southandvale.gov.uk

Chairman of Vale of White Horse District Council

Councillor Monica Lovatt

Assistant to the Leaders and Chairmen, Karen Dodd
Tel: 01235 422082
Email: karen.dodd@southandvale.gov.uk

Chairman of West Oxfordshire District Council

Councillor Maxine Crossland

Personal Assistant Mandy Smith
Tel: 01993 861613

Email: mandy.smith@westoxon.gov.uk

Lord Mayor of Oxford

Councillor Colin Cook

Executive Assistant to the Lord Mayor, Deputy Lord Mayor and Sheriff, Lizzie Spokes
Tel: 01865 252414
Email: civicoffice@oxford.gov.uk

Mayor of Abingdon on Thames

Councillor Margaret Crick

Town Clerk, Mr Nigel Warner
Tel: 01235 468349
Email: nigel.warner@abingdon.gov.uk

Mayor’s Secretary, Louise Brown
Tel: 01235 468341
Email: mayor@abingdon.gov.uk

District:  Vale of White Horse

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