The county council is failing to “do enough” to inform the public about the positives which arise from traffic measures it has introduced, a cabinet member has said.

Tim Bearder, councillor for Wheatley and cabinet member for adult social care, said that after speaking to over a thousand people in April he had realised that not enough was being done to speak about "the positives" which could result from low traffic neighbourhoods, the zero-emission zone and traffic filters.

Oxford Mail: Tim BearderTim Bearder (Image: Oxfordshire County Council)

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Mr Bearder admitted it was “important to concede when you are not getting things 100 per cent right” and said the council needed to do more to get its message out more clearly.

He said: “The feedback I was getting from a significant minority was that they did not understand what was happening or why we were doing it.

“The council hasn’t done enough to fill the void which has been left to communicate the positive outcomes which can come from the council’s traffic measures.”

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Mr Bearder said more needed to be done particularly in the villages, “as pamphlets were sent out to householders in the city but not at all in the surrounding villages”.

The councillor has created an online video in which he talks about the “transformative” impact the council’s traffic measures could have.

He said: “We have talked far too much about the mechanisms in terms of achieving a reduction in traffic and not enough about the benefits”.

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Mr Bearder suggested that issues surrounding LTNs were “not the most prominent for residents”, as he said he stood on a pro-LTN platform at the last election and received a strong democratic mandate from the electorate.

When speaking to householders about LTNs, Mr Bearder said he found that “some people do not understand the measures, some people have legitimate concerns about how they are impacting their lives and some object on ideological grounds”.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, the secretary of state for transport Mark Harper recently urged councils to review LTNs where they were “unpopular”.

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Mr Harper decided to scrap funding for LTNs earlier this year as he argued that funding for projects should not be about “making it difficult for motorists”.

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Mr Bearder accused Conservative councillors of “never having any solutions” and said they had “done absolutely nothing to tackle congestion in Oxford”.

Liam Walker, Conservative county councillor and shadow cabinet member for highways, said: "I think residents would have expected the previous Conservative administration at the county council to secure government funding for traffic measures.

"The difference between us and the coalition is that we would have actually listened and respected the views of local residents over controversial matters like LTNs and bus gates.

"What we have now is an administration determined to hammer anyone who drives a car pretending this is all about climate change."

Oxfordshire County Council has been approached for comment.

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Ed specialises in writing political stories for the Oxford Mail and The Oxford Times. 

He joined in the team in February 2023, after completing a History undergraduate degree at the University of York and studying for his NCTJ diploma in London.

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