A CONSULTATION on the introduction of traffic filters in Oxford closes today.

Six new traffic filters could be introduced in the city as part of a plan to reduce pollution and promote public transport and cycling in the city.

Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, says that the measures are “designed to reduce traffic, make bus journeys faster and make walking and cycling safer.”

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When traffic filters are operating, private cars are not allowed through certain areas without a permit, while all other vehicles - including buses, coaches, taxis, vans, mopeds and HGVs – have access at all times.

Today will be the last day to take part in the consultation, so we put together all the information you might need before completing the survey.

What are traffic filters and how will they work?

The county council has the traffic filters are designed to reduce traffic levels across the city.

This in turn should make bus journeys ‘quicker and more reliable’ and walking and cycling ‘safer and more attractive’.

When the filters are in place, private cars will not be allowed through them without a permit.

All other vehicles, however, including buses, coaches, taxis, vans, mopeds, motorbikes and HGVs will be allowed at all times.

People living in Oxford and some areas just outside the city will be able to apply for a permit allowing them to drive through the traffic filters on up to 100 days per year.

The traffic filters will be monitored by automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras.

The county council expects the proposed traffic filters to:

  • Reduce traffic levels by around 20 per cent across the city within the ring road.
  • Reduce traffic levels by more than a third within the city centre.
  • Increase bus and Park and Ride use by up to 10 per cent.
  • Enable new and improved bus routes.
  • Reduce overall accidents within the city by up to 15 per cent.
  • Significantly improve air quality due to traffic reductions.
  • Increase cycle mode share by over 10 per cent.

Where exactly will they be located? 

The current proposals include six traffic filters. Three of these will be located in the city centre on:

  • St Cross Road
  • Thames Street
  • Hythe Bridge Street.

The remaining three filters will be located on:

  • St Clements
  • Marston Ferry Road
  • Hollow Way

How can you complete the survey? 

Complete the survey here: letstalk.oxfordshire.gov.uk/traffic-filters-2022

Printed copies of survey will be available from 5 September in the following locations:

  • Abingdon Library, The Charter, Abingdon, OX14 3LY
  • Blackbird Leys Library, Blackbird Leys Road, Oxford, OX4 6HT
  • Botley Library, Elms Court, Botley, OX2 9LP
  • Cowley Library, Temple Rd, Oxford, OX4 2EZ
  • Eynsham Library, 30 Mill Street, Eynsham, OX29 4JS
  • Headington Library, North Place, Headington, OX3 9HY
  • Kennington Library, The Village Centre, Kennington, OX1 5PG
  • Kidlington Library, 23 Oxford Road, Kidlington, OX5 2BP
  • Littlemore, The Oxford Academy Campus, Sandy Lane West, Littlemore, OX4 6JZ
  • Old Marston Library Mortimer Hall, Oxford Road, Old Marston, OX3 0PH
  • Summertown Library, South Parade, Summertown, OX2 7JN
  • Wheatley Library, The Merry Bells, High Street Wheatley, OX33 1XP
  • Oxford County Library, Westgate, Oxford, OX1 1DJ

How will the scheme be funded? 

The cost of implementing the scheme is estimated to be £3m and will be largely funded by a bus service improvement plan grant.

What is the council saying about it? 

Andrew Gant, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for highways management, said the plans are part of a “vision for a vastly improved Oxford.”
He said: “We want to improve lives, transport and health for the people that live and work here. We have done a lot of modelling to reach these locations and we want to encourage people to choose to use their cars less.

“This is not about being anti-car, it’s about managing the way we use our roads so that they are safe for everyone.

“It’s about designing Oxford for the next decades and we want to hear from everyone. I would encourage people to comment and take part in the consultation  especially people who would not normally think about going online and commenting on it.”

What do opponents say? 

Critics say the plans will negatively affect businesses and the city centre’s economy. 

Traders group ROX spokesman Graham Jones said: “The main thrust is to greatly restrict vehicle movements within the city, encouraging people to use the already overloaded ‘bypasses’ for necessary journeys.

“Most of the restrictions planned will even apply to those, whether businesses or individuals who have forked out for electric driven vehicles.

“This will add time to journeys, keep vehicles on the road longer and increase fuel consumption, seriously affecting supplies and service provision.

“This at a time when the country is still recovering from Covid after more than two years, the tragic war in Ukraine and the global cost of living crisis.”
Opponent Matt Bullock said: “It's another nail in Oxford commercial centre's coffin.”


Read more from this author

This story was written by Anna Colivicchi, she joined the team this year and covers health stories for the Oxfordshire papers. 

Get in touch with her by emailing: Anna.colivicchi@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @AnnaColivicchi