A GROUP opposed to the Oxford - Cambridge Expressway are drawing up their next moves ahead of a key County Council vote this week.

More than 30 local groups, who are part of the No Expressway Alliance, gathered in Bicester yesterday to call on councillors to 'take action to ensure local people have a say on this major new development'.

Councillors will debate whether to support a motion calling for local communities to be properly consulted on the Expressway development before the route is considered. They will also vote on a motion calling on them to declare a Climate Emergency and set new targets for cutting county emissions.

Chris Church of Oxford Friends of the Earth, one of the founding members of the No Expressway Alliance said: “Oxford County Councillors need to stand up to the bureaucrats in central government who are trying to push this major development through without consulting local people. The Expressway will be a disaster for this area. It will devastate our countryside, increase air pollution, fuel climate change, and generate more traffic and congestion.”

“Fast tracking the new Oxford – Cambridge rail link will solve many of the regions transport problems at less cost to our health, countryside, climate and pockets."

The Alliance wants to see improved transport links through the rapid construction of the ‘East – West’ (Oxford – Cambridge) rail link and are calling for the road programme to be put on hold until the impact of the new rail link can be assessed.

Oxfordshire County Council's Infrastructure Strategy & Policy Manager John Disley said: "We strongly support East West Rail, and continue to work with our partners to get the Western section to Bedford open and the complete route to Cambridge agreed and to follow on as soon as possible.

"The Expressway is a Highways England project and we recognise the opportunities the Expressway could bring to support growth and development and enhance innovation and smart technology along the Oxford to Cambridge Arc.  

"We will wait for the government’s announcement on the route options for consultation and will assess its impact, but our priority has been the need to provide relief for the chronic congestion and safety issues on the A34 around Oxford."