AN IMAGINED future where a metro rail system runs through Oxford and eating meat is considered strange is set out in a report detailing how to tackle the climate crisis in 20 years.

The Fast Forward Oxfordshire report, produced by Oxford Friends of the Earth, was published on Thursday, October 24.

It sets out a series of measures the campaign group wants councils and the national government to adopt by 2040 to avoid climate disaster.

Here's what the reaction to the report has been like so far

The report is split into six areas of policy: housing and settlements, transport, work, energy, food, and nature.

Oxford Mail:

Better public transport is advocated by the Fast Forward Oxfordshire report.

For each of the policy suggestions, the report includes an imagined story about life in 2040 if the changes Oxford FoE suggests have been made.

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Chris Church, who led the work for the group, said: “Tackling the climate crisis is partly about avoiding disaster.

“But finding the right solutions to deal with this challenge can also deliver a very positive future – clean energy and clean air, better transport systems, better food and health, more space for nature to thrive, and an end to fuel poverty. The actions that we need to take now offer the opportunity to deliver a fairer and healthier society.

He added: “Some of these policies will be challenging to deliver, but if we are serious about moving to a ‘zero carbon’ economy and society, these are the changes that will be needed. We invite anyone interested to join us in turning these ideas into actions.”

Oxford Mail:

People should be encouraged to cycle and walk more, says the report. Picture: Richard Cave.

To make houses more energy efficient, the report says Oxfordshire’s councils should hold all new homes to zero carbon standards in local plans, make sure everyone has access to open spaces and gardens, and retrofit old homes to make them more energy efficient.

It also says the government should fund a Green New Deal, with money available to retrofit old homes to make them more energy efficient.

The report’s imagined 2040 tells the story of a gardener called Suzanne who drives an electric van, instead of a car, to carry her tools to work, and pays a £15 vehicle charge to enter the city centre.

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In this future, a ‘MetroRail’ service is used by commuters from Kennington, Littlemore and other areas around the outskirts of the city.

To improve transport, the report says councils should invest in cycling and walking routes, as well as public transport, with the suggestion there should be a county-wide rapid transit network like the proposed MetroRail.

It adds that the government must work with councils to reduce the use of cars through congestion charges, and should electrify the railway between Oxford and Didcot.

The report says the jobs of the future should be ‘high-quality green jobs for unskilled, semi-skilled and knowledge workers’.

It advocates for councils to buy their supplies and contract workers locally.

Oxford FoE says that fossil fuel power generation should be phased out by 2030.

It suggests councils should create a strategy to reduce energy demand, and promote green energy measures like fitting solar panels to roofs.

The report also says the government should phase out oil-fired boilers and replace them with heat pumps or biomass boilers, as well as providing new sites for onshore windfarms.

In the imagined 2040 of the report, two people at dinner in a restaurant glance at the back pages of a menu where there is a ‘meat page’.

Meat is considered a rare luxury and everyone is used to eating fruits, nuts and grains.

Oxford Mail:

Eco homes are currently being built in north west Bicester.

To work towards this, the report suggests councils should provide plant-based options on menus in schools, hospitals and care homes, as well as ‘better’ meat options.

It also says the government should apply VAT to meat, fatty foods and high sugar foods, similar to a current levy on luxury foods like alcohol and sweets.

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The report says woodlands and other natural areas of Oxfordshire need to be protected and restored, with councils including an ‘ecosystem restoration plan’ in local plans in the future.

It also advocates doubling tree cover on all council owned land, and says the government should pass new environment and agriculture acts to protect wildlife.

The report is the result of six months of work by Oxford FoE, with help from a panel of experts in each of the policy areas it covers.

One thousands copies of the 20-page report have been printed and will be handed out to local councillors, headteachers, business leaders and other people in positions of influence around Oxfordshire.

Oxford FoE plans to hold public meetings to discuss the policies it sets out in the report.