A new £106,000 walking and cycling project has been given the green light which will provide a network of routes across the city and beyond to "encourage people out of their cars".

Oxford City Council officers have this week approved the decision to introduce the scheme to link surrounding towns and villages with the city centre and other key sites.

The overall budget for the project is £106,000, funded by the city council, Oxfordshire County Council, Oxford University and the Oxford Health Trust.

It was signed off by the city council on the basis that it "promotes active travel and contributes to the council’s corporate objectives to pursue a zero carbon Oxford".

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Green Party city councillor Emily Kerr, who represents the St Mary's ward, said: "I think it's really exciting.

"Britain used to have a network of cycle routes and many of those have been concreted over.

"But there is still some of that infrastructure left.

Oxford Mail: Councillor Emily Kerr.Councillor Emily Kerr. (Image: Oxford City Council.)

"If you can provide safe cycle routes, people use them."

The new Oxford project comes off the back of one that has been introduced in Cambridge.

Areas as far as Eynsham and Berinsfield may be incorporated into the scheme.

The city council's cabinet member for zero carbon Oxford and climate justice, Anna Railton, said: "We're following Cambridge's lead on this.

"It's a very good idea to have a portfolio of 'shovel-ready' schemes.

"Everyone will win when this comes off."

Oxford Mail: Councillor Anna Railton.Councillor Anna Railton. (Image: Oxford City Council.)

Ms Railton added: "Funding of this kind of infrastructure is always difficult.

"This is not just spending money on cyclists. It's spending money on people."

"A driving commute is kind of rubbish."

Approval of the new scheme comes following "significant delays" to the project due to Covid.

Council officers said further delays would cause "consequences to the delivery of the project in terms of cost, programme and council reputation".

Oxford Mail: A map indicating areas that may fall under the 'Greenways' project.A map indicating areas that may fall under the 'Greenways' project. (Image: Contribution.)

The decision to give the green light to the "Oxford Greenways" will usher in the design of a "masterplan" set to include "long-term vision for the development of the whole network, identification of the different routes and suggested alignments" and "prioritisation of the routes with the highest benefit".

City council cabinet member for housing, Linda Smith, said: "Positive measures like this will encourage people out of their cars.

"There are many beautiful green spaces around Oxford and a lot of potential to create these scenic and safe routes for pedestrians and cyclists.

Oxford Mail: Councillor Linda Smith.Councillor Linda Smith. (Image: Contribution.)

"The work is much needed and is a positive step towards helping alleviate Oxford's current traffic nightmare."

Introduction of the scheme comes amid contentious transport measures in Oxford with some blaming the introduction of low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) and associated limits on motor vehicles as a cause of traffic chaos.