A SERIES of public debates is being held to mark the Oxford Civic Society's 50th anniversary.

Three of the most controversial issues facing the city are being addressed by opposition speakers, in front of audiences at the town hall.

A debate about whether to prioritise the green belt or new homes was held earlier this month, while pollution and the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway will be the themes of two more sessions this summer.

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The society says it is aim has always been to give local people a voice on issues relating to the city’s future.

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President Sir Clive Booth explained: "Urban pollution is now killing more people than smoking. An expressway threatens the countryside and environment. Here are two issues that people have strong views on.

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"The civic society debates are giving the Oxford public a unique platform to air their views and influence the thinking of decision makers."

The second debate asks 'when should central Oxford become a Zero Emission Zone - and what about pollution in the rest of the city?' Councillor Paul Harris and Friends of the Earth's Chris Church debate on Thursday, May 16.

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Then, on Monday, June 17, Oxfordshire County Council leader Ian Hudspeth and Professor Danny Dorling argue over the highly controversial Expressway.

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Further details are available at oxcivicsoc.org.uk.