Oxfordshire County Council refused to release a traffic study which showed congestion is set to increase as a result of the traffic filters.

The council was accused of “ramming” through the consultation after they failed to release the detailed impact of the six new traffic filters until after the consultation had closed.

The detailed traffic study was eventually released after the consultation had taken place on October 21 but by this point it was too late for residents to respond as the consultation finished on October 13.

The council only published a summary of the traffic impact instead of the survey’s detailed results.

The traffic filters will be installed on six roads, and this will prevent people from crossing the city at peak times in the morning and evening.

These roads include St Cross Road, Thames Street, St Clements, Hythe Bridge Street, Marston Ferry Road and Hollow Way.

The data which the council refused to release in the consultation period showed traffic is set to increase on A4144 Woodstock Road by 62.4 per cent at peak times in the morning and the proposed bus gate on Marston Ferry Road will not improve bus journey times.

An FOI request sent off by Richard Parnham also found traffic on Botley Road, west of the junction with Seacourt Park, is set to increase by an average of 10 per cent during the week.

This summary said: “Filters would reduce total traffic flows by around 20 per cent within the city inside the ring road, and around 35 per cent in the city centre.”

However, the council acknowledged the filters will cause total traffic flows to “increase” by around 3 per cent on “ the ring road and approaches to the ring road from within the city.”

Mr Parnham, a Marston resident, accused the council of not being “honest” with people about the traffic filters and said they “rammed through the consultation in record time”.

He said the consequence was “many residents still don’t know what impact the traffic filters are likely to have on their own neighbourhoods”.

Mr Parnham explained the council had chosen to keep the more in-depth impact of these traffic filters secret because of their potentially devastating impact on roads such as Woodstock Road and Botley Road.

He said: “The only way we've found anything out at all is by making freedom of information requests.

"We shouldn't have to do this.

“The council should be honest and upfront with residents about the likely impact of its traffic filter scheme.

"They were quite happy to point out the three per cent increased traffic on the ring road but weren't prepared to put detailed analysis of what the impact is on Marsh Lane, Botley Road and Headley Way.

“They put out stuff showing minimal impact and refused to publish stuff about the localised impact."

The Oxford Mail has seen emails in which council employees admitted the public should have seen the full breakdown of the impact of these traffic filters on neighbourhoods.

In an email chain on October 6, 2022, a council employee – whose name was redacted – admitted they should not publish the results of the modelling to avoid changing their initial decision, despite the information being in the public interest.

The council employee wrote: "There are lots of questions about this data from residents, and would have definitely been useful to upload this during the start of the consultation."

Another council employee- whose name was also redacted- said: “We started the consultation process on the basis we didn't need to publish it and we should stick to our guns."

Oxfordshire County Council refused to release the data during the consultation as they said there was no "legal requirement to publish the full results of the modelling work we have been carrying out."

Writing to the council on October 3, MP Anneliese Dodds said: “On the face of it, I remain concerned if the full details of the basis on which a decision is made are not published prior to that decision.

“Scrutiny both by elected members and by the public is an integral part of good democratic decision-making, whether or not the law compels the council to release the information.

“I hope the council will take this strongly into consideration.”

When approached by the Oxford Mail, Ms Dodds said: “The implementation of traffic filters in Oxford is an issue that I receive a large amount of correspondence about from constituents, some in favour and some against.

“Whilst decisions around traffic filters are a matter for the county council, I have repeatedly raised matters with council officers and councillors on behalf of my constituents.

“In this instance I raised my own concerns, and those of my constituent, over the decision not to release the modelling information with the council.

"Ultimately, the decision on whether to release that information was one that rested with the county council.”

Mr Parnham said the council’s lack of transparency meant residents were still in the dark about how the traffic filters will affect them.

He said: “We still don't know what the impact on Marsh Lane and Headley Way will be, and that's the run up to the John Radcliffe Hospital.

“There is a clear public interest in finding out what is going to be the impact on the ring road."

A spokesperson for Oxfordshire County Council said: "The county council is committed to transparency and integrity.

"Supported by our internal legal team, a summary of the transport modelling was published alongside the traffic filters consultation when it opened on 5 September 2022.

"After the consultation, a more detailed transport modelling report was published alongside other information to support the council's decision making. The report provided further detail, but it did not alter the overall conclusions set out in the summary provided alongside the survey."