Oxford Civic Society Sees Botley Road Closure as a Useful Opportunity

Network Rail’s schedule of works at the Botley Road bridge has not only closed the road to all motor traffic from Tuesday 11 April for 6 months, it has also delayed the controversial introduction of six proposed experimental traffic filters across the city. 

Oxford Civic Society believes the County Council can take advantage of this hiatus not only to assess whether the second planned Botley Road closure can be managed differently, but also to promote constructive discussion about the impact of their own traffic reduction plans and achieve a more consensual approach to traffic reduction.

OCS Chair Ian Green said “The closure of Botley Road to all but pedestrians and cyclists is likely to cause immense disruption not just locally but also by displacing traffic to other routes into the city.  It has also raised legitimate concerns about access for emergency vehicles.  We hope that all this will be carefully monitored to see whether the second closure planned for 2024 might be managed differently.

“But we also believe that the closure presents the County Council with an unexpected opportunity to revisit and improve its own traffic plans as well as to explain them better to the public.

“Oxford Civic Society supports the intention to reduce traffic in the city centre, but is concerned that the County Council’s proposals have not yet been presented in a way that makes them acceptable to residents.  In particular, we feel that there needs to be more public discussion about how the experimental traffic filters will be monitored and evaluated.

“It is essential that the impact of the proposed measures is comprehensively assessed relative to their projected benefits. Modelling can only go so far – solid evidence during a trial period provides a better foundation.  As yet the County Council has said little about how this evidence will be gathered and processed, which some have taken to mean that it will be an experiment in name only.  

“With that in mind, OCS has written to County Councillors Leffman, Enright and Gant offering the help of our Transport Group in designing the monitoring and evaluation arrangements.

“We have also offered to provide a forum for non-partisan public discussion – something which, as an independent, non-political organisation, we feel well-placed to do.”

Notes for editors

  • Oxford Civic Society is a charity dedicated to the continuous improvement of Oxford as a wonderful city in which to live, work, study and relax. Appreciating our past, enjoying the present and pursuing a vision for the future are at the heart of what we do. Read more at oxcivicsoc.org.uk
  • OCS pursues its aims through the work of a number of specialist working groups. Its Transport Group comprises members with an interest in all forms of transport, as well as a number with notable professional experience and expertise.
  • For more information contact Ian Green (OCS chair) on 07710 713197; or Penelope Lenon (OCS Press Officer) on 07940 592034