AMBITIOUS plans have been made to cut car journeys in Oxfordshire by a quarter over the next eight years.

Oxfordshire County Council is currently urging the public to have their say on a blueprint aiming to deliver a zero-carbon transport network by 2040.

The main goals of the Local Transport and Connectivity Plan, which was approved last October, include cutting car trips by a third by 2040.

It also plans to increase the number of cycling trips around the county from 600,000 to one million by 2031.

Environmental campaigning groups, including Planning Oxfordshire's Environment and Transport Sustainably (POETS) and Oxford Friends of the Earth, have praised the council for its plan.

Chris Church of Oxford Friends of the Earth said: “We are pleased to see that the overall aim for the Plan is now 'for a zero-carbon Oxfordshire transport system that enables all parts of the county to thrive.

“Change is in everyone’s interest. Traffic levels across have increased by 29 per cent over the last 25 years and average speeds have fallen by 2 per cent since 2015.

“More traffic means more traffic jams and more wasted time, as well as more pollution and more road accidents. It’s time to take a long hard look at travel in Oxfordshire.

“Making these changes is going to be a real challenge so we welcome the ambition that the County Council is showing.”

Oxford Friends of the Earth said achieving this goal of removing one in four of the current car trips in Oxfordshire over the next eight years would rely on a ‘serious political commitment’ from the council.

Noel Newson, a member of POETS, echoed the approval: “The targets are very challenging, but I think the county council deserves great credit for showing such ambition.”

The group has, however, noted that for the goals to be achieved, great improvements need to be made to the county’s cycle network and public transport.

Mr Newson continued: “The targets are very challenging, but I think the county council deserves great credit for showing such ambition.

“The main thing they will have to do to get anywhere near the target will be by making huge improvements to public transport and cycling facilities in the county.

“The cycling, one of the things lacking is if you are travelling between towns, there are virtually no facilities.

“You are travelling along ordinary roads, with a lot of traffic, so there needs to be real step-change in provisions along a lot of those corridors where there is the potential for a lot of movement because people at the moment do not feel they can cycle safely.

“On the public transport side, they have really got to establish a much more comprehensive network of services, running fairly frequently that are attractive to people as an alternative to getting around.”

The public consultation comes days after bus services across Oxfordshire were axed, with providers blaming the decision on low passenger numbers, reduction in the number of drivers available, and financial strains, caused by the pandemic.

The bus cuts resulted in outrage from some members of the public, as well as both Oxford City Councillors and county councillors, who said the cuts will mean ‘lifeline’ bus routes will be lost for some residents.

The council is also steaming ahead with several other ambitious travel plans for the county.

In December the council decided to approve a controversial Low Traffic Neighbourhood to be installed in East Oxford, affecting side roads of St Clements, Cowley Road and Iffley Road.

The scheme has received considerable backlash from some local businesses, such as taxi services, and residents who felt they had not been consulted but heightened praise from cyclists and environmental campaigners.

It also has implemented plans for reducing speed limits to 20mph on some roads and to develop cycle quickways to make cycling around the county safer and more efficient.

The construction of the wider lanes, however, would result in almost car parking spaces being lost from main roads in East Oxford, such as Iffley Road and Cowley Road.

The Local Transport and Connectivity Plan contains more than 90 policies hoping to provide a backbone for the council’s aim to create an inclusive, integrated, and sustainable transport network for the county.

The overall intention is to reduce the need to travel and discourage ‘unnecessary’ individual private vehicle use through making walking, cycling, public and shared transport a ‘natural first choice’.

It will look to improve walking and cycling networks, parking and congestion management as well as the county’s air quality.

Duncan Enright, the council’s Cabinet Member for Travel and Development Strategy, said: “Everybody is an expert on their own travel needs so everyone has got something to contribute.

“Our priorities, which I think are shared with everyone across Oxfordshire and beyond, are tackling the climate emergency, but also making sure we do it in a way that is fair and seeks to address inequalities.

“That includes in this context unequal access to transport options – we want to make sure people have really good alternative options to use of the private car.

“This includes getting better bus services, better bike services, so we can give people real choices.”

Over the next few months, the council will be holding a series of online webinars to discuss the plan in more detail and answer questions – details on how to join the webinars can be found at

The online consultation for the plan went live yesterday afternoon and will remain open until March 16.

You can add your view by visiting