A GROUP which worries the Oxford to Cambridge expressway could cut across Green Belt land south of Oxford have launched a major campaign.

The Expressway Action Group, which is based in the county and is backed by 34 Oxfordshire parish councils, has operated for some months but launched a poster campaign yesterday.

Signs opposed to the EAG running south of Oxford and revealed yesterday included: ‘red kites not red lights’, ‘Green Belt not commuter belt’ and ‘Trees not tarmac!’

They have been placed along roads in villages where Highways England has said the road could go.

Peter Rutt, EAG coordinator, said the group had worked hard to be acknowledged as a ‘stakeholder’ by Highways England and included in discussions about which broad corridor of three currently mooted will be chosen.

The road could be built by 2030 and the preferred corridor will be selected by Highways England by July.

Mr Rutt said his group had worked to give information ‘about the environmental impact [Highways England] might not know about’ at green sites, such as Otmoor, which would inevitably be transformed by an expressway ploughing through it.

Lorna Campbell, a member of the EAG, said: “This is about making people aware. This could blight the whole of Oxfordshire.

“It is about the wildlife too. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”

She added that the group had initially been opposed to the expressway project entirely. Now, she said, many of its members had now come to the view that the road will be built and that the EAG should influence which one would cause the least impact.

She added: “We are not just doing this from a NIMBY point of view. We want the best road, the one that will be the least harmful, the least worst.”

According to the group, the road should cut through land north of Oxford and use the existing A34. It has said that project could be extended to include Swindon and cut out all negative environmental impact of a road running south of Oxford.

Unsurprisingly, that has been supported by business groups in Wiltshire which could benefit from the improved road links.

The EAG campaigners gathered for the press at Ripon College Cuddesdon, which oversees a valley which stretches back to Garsington, to show the type of scenic beauty that might be ruined by a potential southern road.

Last month, the leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, Matthew Barber, wrote to transport secretary Chris Grayling, urging increased consultation before the corridor decision is made in the summer.

While Green MEP Keith Taylor has claimed that the lack of consultation before the corridor decision on the road could be ‘illegal’.

He said: “The Expressway is being driven by a Conservative government with an infrastructure agenda routed in the last century.

“That is no excuse for Highways England’s disgraceful and potentially illegal decision to try to push ahead with the environment-destructive project without first consulting the public.”