Councillors urged to back a cleaner, greener and safer Oxford

With the local elections behind us, newly elected councillors are urged to use their mandate to get behind measures that will make our city cleaner, greener and safer for everyone.

Children cycling along a road behind an instructor at a Bikeability cycle skills session
Image: Cyclox

Chris Boardman, head of Active Travel England, the inspectorate for walking and cycling infrastructure launched in early 2022, has called on councils across the country to get behind schemes that “give people back what they’ve had taken away”.

“We want people to feel OK letting their kids walk to school. If you ask people if they’d like their kids to be able to walk to school, a huge percentage say yes,” he said in an article in today’s Guardian.

Active Travel England has been set up to ensure new walking and cycling infrastructure meets current standards as well as offer expertise and support to local authorities to help them achieve this.

Tough decisions, positive outcomes

The debate on low traffic neighbourhoods featured heavily in the recent local elections around the country, including in Oxford. But experience has shown that, despite attracting vocal opposition initially, where new schemes have been given time to bed in very few residents subsequently want the measures reversed.

Here in Headington, we’ll have an opportunity to consider the impact of these measures on local travel habits when trials for three new low traffic neighbourhoods begin down the hill in East Oxford next week.

If not this, then what?

Echoing Boris Johnson before him, Chris Boardman continues: “If you want to address climate change, and you’ve got eight years to do it, then buses, bikes and walking are the only tools you’ve practically got to make that happen. That’s it. And buses don’t work unless you make space for them.” Read the full article.

Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council are planning a public consultation on measures to prioritise buses and active transport in Oxford in summer 2022.

At the local level, Chris Boardman’s comments align with those of Cyclox, which campaigns for safer conditions for cycling on Oxford’s streets:

Cycling is at the heart of Oxford’s future » cyclox
An open letter from the Chair of Cyclox to the newly elected city councillors about creating a zero-carbon, cycling friendly city

If you support measures to create safer streets in Headington and Oxford, be sure to let your local councillors know!