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Oxford to Cambridge Expressway Update - July 2019

Oxford to Cambridge Expressway/Motorway Update
July 2019
This autumn, Highways England will announce the specific routes they will be considering for their Motorway/Expressway.  In this update, we report on recent relevant news events and also on action you can be taking in advance of the autumn announcement.

  1. Expressway Routes both West and South of Oxford to be announced
    We have now confirmed via the Department for Transport that Highways England’s route announcement for consultation this autumn will include several routes in each of the proposed corridors - B1 West of Oxford and B3 South of Oxford. Obviously, these multiple routes will threaten many villages across the whole of Oxfordshire.  It also has the potential to divide our communities who may be impacted differentially by these alternative routes.  Maintaining our united front is very important.

There are a wide variety of groups opposed to the motorway/Expressway.  To avoid dilution of effort and uncoordinated activity, EAG are in discussion with key groups to identify where we can best work together and coordinate our action.
On this last point, it is important to note that most of the groups (EAG Expressway Action Group, No Expressway Alliance, No Expressway Group, BBOWT and so forth) have broadly similar agendas in so far as they are against the Expressway.  EAG has always adopted a consistently pragmatic position and has focused on the impacts of any new expressway in Oxfordshire specifically:

  • There is no case for a new Motorway/Expressway in or around Oxford as we already have existing routes that would link to the wider project. However, we do think that solutions to the problems of congestion on the A34 and A420 are neededthat is where any proposed Government investment should go.
  • These problems should be solved by improving these existing roads and their access points, rather than any new Motorway/Expressway around Oxford or through Green Belt land.
  • We are totally against new roads through Green Belt land, which we believe will encourage urban sprawl as well as have detrimental environmental and health effects.
  • We are concerned that new roads will be a Trojan horse for plans to double the number of houses in Oxfordshire, destroying the rural nature of the county.


  1. Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust / BBOWT. A High Court decision against BBOWT means the government can press ahead with its plans for a new Expressway between Oxford and Cambridge without doing an environmental assessment in advance. 

    BBOWT is taking advice on appealing the decision and making a reference on a key point of environmental law to the Court of Justice of the European Union. EAG has offered BBOWT any help it can provide.
  2. Oxford County Council Leader’s A34 comments.    Ian Hudspeth, the leader of Oxford County Council, called on Highways England to accelerate plans to solve congestion and traffic problems on the A34 this month, following citywide gridlock after an accident on the A34. EAG agree with him that solutions need to be found to congestion on the A34 and A420, but don't think building a new Expressway motorway through Green Belt land is the answer.


  1. Elected officials:  Local MPs have differing views on the Expressway:
  • MPsJohn Howell MP (Con, Henley) states that "the route should utilise existing roads wherever possible rather than carve a new path through Green Belt land or damage other areas of environmental interest and ... it needs to be routed to the west of Oxford."
  • Layla Moran MP (LibDem, Oxford West and Abingdon) is against the Expressway as is Anneliese Dodds MP (Lab, Oxford East). 
  • District Councils.   South Oxfordshire District Council held a full council meeting on 18 July. The council resolved to oppose the building of the proposed Oxford to Cambridge Expressway and to support rail and other public transport connections instead. This decision came a day after Vale of White Horse District Council agreed to do the same.  

You can see the full SODC announcement HERE
You can see the full VOWH announcement HERE

  1. Radley meeting.  Over 170 people attended a town hall meeting in Radley on the 8th July about the proposed Expressway/Motorway.  Key points arising were:
  • Layla Moran MP for Oxford West and Abingdon:  Stated she was opposed to the Expressway, However, if it were imposed on Oxfordshire she would rather “have a seat at the table” to raise concerns over the impact of such a project on her constituents and the environment. 
  • Oxford Growth Board Director, Bev Hindle, outlined the economic context for the expressway project as a whole. 
  • Hazel Dawes Chairman of the NEA gave a presentation with evidence against the case for the expressway. You can download this here: The case against the Expressway – presentation by Hazel Dawe.

Action for EAG Members – that’s you!
Get ready for the consultation and make your voice heard
Highways England are preparing their routes announcement this autumn. As mentioned, this will include several specific route options both West and South of Oxford.  There is therefore a risk of creating divisions between local communities, instead of us presenting a united front. We would urge all member Parish Councils and Individuals to make preparations for this consultation by mobilising their communities, offering their time, raising money and petitioning parliament.  
Help mobilise your community

  • Contact us at contact@expesswayactiongroup.com telling us where you live, and we will provide you with a briefing plus templates for letters you should write now.
  • Could you be a campaign champion for your Parish/Village and make sure everyone takes part in activities?
  • Put up posters (download from our website) again to raise the visibility of your campaign, place them on roadsides, Junctions etc.

Offer your time to help the Campaign                                                                                                                                     
If Highways England recommends an Expressway route across our rural landscape and Green Belt, we will need to challenge that recommendation both locally and at Westminster, and potentially with a legal challenge if the Inspector supports the recommendation at the Planning Inspector’s hearing – this will increase EAG workload significantly.           
We need help with campaigning, raising our profile, influencing and lobbying. If you or anyone you know feels they could help and can commit some time over the next 6 months, then please do get in touch with us. There will be events to organise and increased communications to all the relevant audiences. We urgently need someone who has the expertise to help manage and expand our website.
Raise Money for the legal challenge
We now need to increase our marketing and lobbying efforts as we approach Highways England's autumn route announcement, and especially once the Highways England report is published. Our increased activities will require funding, and so we have created an EAG Ltd Company and a bank account in the name of “Expressway Action Group”.  We need donations and contributions from local fund raising or other to primarily to help fund marketing materials and events in the first instance, and especially for a potential legal challenge in the future. (A big Thankyou to those who have already contributed!)
If the households in your Parish/Village could donate just £5 per household this alone would give us the £100,000 we need as a minimum for the legal challenge.  We will be sending out a go fund me link shortly where you can contribute directly.
Cancel the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway. If this gets 10,000 signatures, it will force a response from the government…. Petition Parliament
Thank you for your support.
Contact for offers of help: Please send an email to contact@expresswayactiongroup.com  detailing the areas you can help or advise.
Website:  www.expresswayactiongroup.com         
Contact: contact@expresswayactiongroup.com
Social Media: Follow expresswayactiongroup on Facebook.
Twitter:  #actioneag #noexpresswayalliance, #noexpressway