The UK Government's Road Minister has waged war on Oxford's dangerous junctions by promising to make them "better and safer". 

Richard Holden, the government’s roads and local transport minister, visited Rose Hill to meet county councillors after he announced Oxfordshire will receive over £1.6 million in funding to improve the safety of two major roads.

This new funding for Oxfordshire’s roads comes as part of a £47.5 million national investment to enhance the safety of 27 of the most high-risk roads in the country.

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The Oxford roads which will benefit from the funding are Iffley Road/Rose Hill, A4158 (between the A420 in and the A4142) and Banbury Road, A4165 (between the A40 and the A4144).


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Mr Holden said the funding was given to Oxfordshire County Council to ensure that dangerous junctions were made “better and safer”.

He outlined three core aims behind the funding and these included making junctions and pedestrian crossings safer and improving road conditions.

Mr Holden explained: “There are a few core things.

“One of these is to make the junctions better and safer.

“One of the biggest problems we have, whether its motorcycles, bicycles or pedestrians is junctions.

“People don’t see them properly and you get really serious deaths and injuries.”

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Mr Holden said he was “looking forward to working with the council”, as the “bids put forward” were “really important for the local area”.

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The Safer Roads Fund will see safety improvements take place including the re-designing of junctions and improving road markings to reduce the risk of collisions.

Mr Holden said Iffley Road and Banbury Road were specifically awarded funding, as they have “very high benefit cost ratios” and this would likely lead to reducing a “significant number of deaths and injuries” over the next twenty years.

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The council will receive £800k for the A4158 and £875k for the A4165.

When pressed on whether junctions in Oxford will be re-designed, Mr Holden said the plans were “pretty outline” currently but he looked forward to making them “fully operational”.

Mr Holden said improving road conditions would be vital, as traditionally there was a tendency for people to get involved in a “blame” game but instead he argued that “drivers and individuals share responsibility”.

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When asked if he was supportive of Oxfordshire County Council’s three-year scheme to introduce 20mph speeds as the new 30mph for communities, Mr Holden would not be drawn on the issue and said setting speed limits was “very much down to local councils to decide”.

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On March 23, cabinet member for highway management Andrew Gant approved 20mph limits in nine new places across Oxfordshire.

However, Mr Holden did warn that councils “should try and take their communities with them wherever possible.”

The allocation of money was based on data independently surveyed and provided by the Road Safety Foundation.

The data analysed is based on a road safety risk, looking at data on those killed and seriously injured alongside traffic levels.

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According to Road Safety Foundation analysis, early estimates suggest that the £47.5m investment should prevent around 760 fatal and serious injuries over the next 20 years.

Mr Holden said he hoped there would be “further rounds of funding down the line” for Oxfordshire and highlighted that the county had already received funding before this latest announcement.

He promised he would continue “trying to drag more cash out of the Treasury for the Safer Roads Fund” and said he understood that a death on the road “doesn’t just affect one individual”.

He said: “A death affects entire families and the local community so the impact is huge.

“That is why investing in road safety is so important because the benefits are multiplied over the years.”