A PETITION calling for a wildlife haven to be saved from any possible Oxford to Cambridge expressway has got the support of more than 1,400 people in less than a week.

Campaigners worry that Otmoor, half way between Oxford and Bicester, could be paved over to make way for the £3.5bn road scheme. It could be completed by 2030.

The petition was logged on the official UK Government and Parliament website and notes that Government ‘threats to build a motorway’ there would ‘engulf’ the sanctuary.

It is the latest public action taken by opponents of the expressway. Currently there are three broad routes which are being considered by Highways England.

The Government agency will decide which is the best to continue in July but opponents have called for a public inquiry so they can influence any decision on the corridors for months.

Adrian Pennick, who started the petition on Tuesday, lives close to Otmoor in Beckley.

He said it was in his ‘personal interest’ to keep the reserve as ‘it is a beautiful place’.

Mr Pennick praised the efforts of the Expressway Action Group (EAG), which has recruited 33 parish councils from South Oxfordshire. It has been recognised as a stakeholder by Highways England and can give evidence which will be considered as part of the corridor decision.

Mr Pennick said: “[Keeping Otmoor] is not just for the benefit of the people who live near it but the people of Oxfordshire – and it’s of national interest.”

The road is part of a Government plan to harness growth potential between the country’s premier university cities. That could also see one million new homes built by 2050 – but opponents have said the growth is unnecessary and unsustainable.

On April 12, the EAG launched a major campaign which has seen poster adorn roadsides in South Oxfordshire.

Some of the messages included: ‘red kites not red lights’, ‘Green Belt not commuter belt’ and ‘Trees not tarmac!’

Other worries have been voiced by Vale of White Horse District Council leader Matthew Barber and Henley MP John Henley. They have both called for more public involvement in the picking of the final corridor.

To see pictures of the intended routes, visit the Oxford Mail’s website.