Preparation work for a new bridge which will improve pedestrian and cycling routes has begun as Oxford City Council aims to foster greener travel.

Oxpens River Bridge, linking Osney Mead to Oxpens and on to the city centre, presents a stride towards reducing vehicle congestion by offering locals safe and fast alternatives.

The bridge is a requirement of the Oxford Local Plan to support wider regeneration of the West End of the city.

Oxford Mail: Oxpens River BridgeOxpens River Bridge (Image: Oxford City Council)

Funds for the project are coming from the Oxfordshire Growth Deal, and all construction work must be completed by March 31, 2025.

Construction will therefore start in the summer, after planning permission for the bridge was granted.

Some trees will have to be removed or pollarded to make way for building work.

This work is to take place in the next few weeks, in advance of bird-nesting season which starts in March.

No trees earmarked for treatment are subject to Tree Preservation Orders.

Councillor Ed Turner, deputy leader and cabinet member for finance and asset management said: "I am really pleased that plans for the Oxpens River Bridge are progressing.

"The new bridge will be a fantastic addition to the area, supporting ambitious regeneration projects nearby.

"It will become a key off-road route for people walking and cycling in and out of the city centre to the west and south.

"It will be a great way to access the tow path along the river Thames, and as it should encourage more people to walk or to get out their cycles, it will help reduce congestion on the roads."

Oxford Mail: Construction work on the bridge will start this summerConstruction work on the bridge will start this summer (Image: Oxford City Council)

He added: "I understand people may have concerns about the removal of trees.

"I can assure everyone that this has been reduced to the minimum number necessary and our plans commit to replacing the removed trees and enhancing biodiversity by the completion of the project."

The Council's tree officer and ecologist have formulated a strategy to replace every affected tree, and will also plant additional trees to maintain the level of tree canopy and biodiversity in the area.

If planning permission is delayed or denied, the Council is still committed to replacing the trees removed and ensuring that the project will lead to an increase in city tree coverage.

The Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and recommitted to confronting the ecological emergency in September 2022.

The Council has planted more than 10,000 trees in its green spaces in recent years, and during the current tree planting season, they have already planted more than 70 trees throughout the city.