MAKING her defiant ruling yesterday against her own officers' recommendation, councillor Yvonne Constance said: "There is a growing recognition that people want less traffic in the area."

This is either a somewhat redundant statement of the obvious, or massively oversimplifies public feeling.

To say that people want less traffic is a statement of the obvious – no one likes traffic, but that does not mean that everyone therefore wants vehicles to be selectively banned from parts of their city.

With the rapidly rise in electric cars (led by Oxford's own Mini plant), non-polluting private modes of transport are fast becoming the norm, meaning traffic does not have to equal air pollution.

And, if councils want to encourage people to use public transport, then a key necessity is to actually make using public transport attractive, not making the alternative unviable.

Everyone would like less traffic, but a huge number of people still want cars and vans to be able to use the city centre.

We have yet to see a survey from the county council showing what percentage of Oxford residents actually back the Walton Street barrier.