GROUPS have welcomed a package of measures the city and county councils hope will cut congestion in some of Oxford’s worst traffic hotspots.

The authorities said they want to introduce a workplace parking levy – that could cost employers up to £600 for each parking space they own every year – and over five bus gates, like one in High Street.

The plan, Connecting Oxford, could be rolled out as early as 2021 and could cost between £60m and £100m.

Money from the levy would be spent on running a new bus service that would ferry workers across Oxford.

The councils hope the buses would cut the need for people to drive to work themselves.

Oxford Friends of the Earth’s campaigns officer Chris Church said: “These changes will also cut pollution and congestion, and make life better for all those who walk, cycle and use public transport within the city.

“Better buses, safer cycling, less pollution – what’s not to like in that?”

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Major employers, including Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and Oxford Brookes University, would be affected if the councils implement the parking levy in what the councils call the city’s ‘eastern arc’.

Both said they are keen to help cut congestion throughout the city – but wanted to see what the impacts would be on them before supporting them.

A spokeswoman for the NHS Trust said: “We welcome any proposals to reduce congestion, but we will want to examine the councils’ consultation document carefully and thoroughly to consider the implications for our patients and staff and whether the proposed levy on NHS funds is justified by the benefits the NHS receives in return.”

A consultation opened on Wednesday and will close on October 20.

Oxford Mail:

An Oxford Brookes University spokesman said: “Oxford Brookes remains committed to reducing dependence on cars amongst all users of its campuses and supports a range of sustainable travel options to help tackle congestion and reduce air pollution.

“The university will consider the proposals set out in the Connecting Oxford plan and respond to the consultation in due course.”

A workplace parking levy has already been rolled out in Nottingham, where employers pay £415 a year for every space.

The charge would only be payable by employers with 11 or more parking spaces, the councils said.

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Bus gates would be introduced on congested routes if the plans are fully adopted.

They would mean traffic would be restricted in South Parks Road and St Cross Road in the city centre.

Others would also be installed in Marston Ferry Road, between Summertown and Marston, and in Hollow Way in Cowley.

Peter Headicar, Oxford Civic Society’s transport advisor, said: “We hope that the councils will now commission the technical work necessary to provide detailed information on the impact of the proposals so that their optimum form can be identified.”

Oxford Mail:

More than 60 per cent of all journeys in Oxford are done in a car – and the councils warned that will increase if more is not done to tackle congestion and improve public transport.

They said bus companies often run more buses than necessary because of the heavy traffic on roads.

Phil Southall, Oxford Bus Company’s managing director, said: “Congestion has a huge impact for us, delaying journeys and leading to reduced frequency. Our costs also increase because we need more buses to deliver the timetable.

“Reliable and flexible buses are crucial to cutting down on the number of individual cars and to help drivers with links to park and rides. We need a radical way of unclogging the roads and welcome potential changes.”

To take part in the consultation, visit