A bus company has welcomed the decision to reconsider Oxford’s Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) at a meeting tomorrow (Tuesday, November 7).

Oxfordshire County Council will discuss a motion by Tory councillor Liam Walker to remove the LTNs in East Oxford and Cowley.

The shadow highways chief said it was the “last opportunity for those elected across Oxfordshire to make their positions clear” on the controversial traffic calming measures.

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LTNs were made permanent in East Oxford last month and approved in Cowley in January 2021.

The Oxford Bus Company has claimed the East Oxford LTNs cause “chronic” gridlock and said it “welcomed this decision being looked at again". 

The company previously submitted a joint report to the council alongside Thames Travel and Stagecoach West which said the measures severely “jeopardised” public transport and made journeys “exasperatingly slow”.

Its comments were part of a consultation run earlier this year on the East Oxford LTNs which had an overwhelmingly negative response.

Oxford Mail: Luke Marion, managing director of the Oxford Bus CompanyLuke Marion, managing director of the Oxford Bus Company (Image: Photo: Fortitude Communications)

Oxford Bus Company’s managing director Luke Marion said: “Based on the overall response to Oxfordshire County Council’s consultation, and the observed impacts on bus speeds, we were disappointed by the council's decision to make the East Oxford LTNs permanent, without any significant accompanying measures to improve the situation for bus passengers.

“We would therefore welcome this decision being looked at again.”

The council has claimed that that bus journey times would improve when its traffic filters scheme is rolled out next year.

Highways chief Andrew Gant argues that LTN areas have seen an increase in cycling and a decrease in private car use and air pollution.

Oxford Mail: East Oxford LTN

He said that Mr Walker, who was part of the Tory administration which approved the Cowley LTNs, was “asking council to spend money undoing a decision which he himself took”.

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"He put the LTNs in, now he wants to take them out again. He would remove the huge benefits they have brought to residents in those areas,” he said.

"He either doesn't understand or ignores the synergies with other policies.

"Does he want to open other residential areas to through traffic, including elsewhere in Oxford and in his own division?

"Above all, he offers no alternative vision for transport in Oxfordshire. This is a party out of ideas and out of time."

Robin Tucker, co-chairman of the Coalition for Healthy Streets and Active Travel, a pro-LTN group, claimed the consultation responses could not be trusted.

He said: “We are concerned that this motion is aiming to foster political and social division, where we would prefer to be addressing legitimate concerns with the LTNs, improving bus services, and solving the long-standing transport problems in our city.”